The City of Chelsea has launched its very first travel and tourism campaign entitled ‘Discover Chelsea’ to draw in visitors to the city’s 900-plus high-quality hotel rooms, to amplify Chelsea’s phenomenal access to the region’s best destinations, and to highlight the authentic multi-cultural vibe that is inherent to Chelsea.
With a Mariachi band playing in the background, and foods from Chelsea restaurants Tambo 22 and Mi Salvador, the team behind the Discover Chelsea campaign, a project of the City of Chelsea’s Chelsea Prospers initiative, publicly announced the effort in Chelsea Square on June 23. Adding some special flavor to the day, attendees were treated to Michelada kits, a spicy beer and tomato juice cocktail that is a specialty of restaurants up and down Chelsea’s business district. Colorful ‘Discover Chelsea’ street pole banners with striking artwork created for the artist Anna Dugan highlighting the city hung throughout the downtown.
Discover Chelsea was enabled by a competitive grant from the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism (MOTT). The Chelsea team received great support from the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau (GBCVB). The partnership with the Chelsea Chamber of Commerce was helmed by Maureen Foley, a Chamber member from XSS Hotels.
Unveiled at the event was a new ‘Discover Chelsea’ website with a wealth of information on travel itineraries, transportation, Chelsea restaurants and businesses, as well as interesting background about the city for curious newcomers. The campaign also includes a new video, premiered at the event, highlighting many of the city’s attributes with a number of well known residents and businesses people involved in the production. The lively three minutes was produced by ActiveVista Productions, the duo behind several recent documentaries centered on the city.
Chelsea’s hospitality sector was on a growth trajectory prior to COVID-19 with the opening of six state-of-the-art hotels in recent years, but this was significantly impacted during the pandemic. Now, as travelers are returning to the Boston area, Discover Chelsea is trumpeting the often-unheralded attributes of this small gateway community and seeks to bolster the local businesses.
Chelsea is a great base for travel and just a bridge away from downtown Boston. In fact, Chelsea is just one train stop from the TD Garden and a 20-minute train ride to Salem and the North Shore. With four stops across the city, the Silver Line SL3 carries visitors to the airport in minutes, and into the Seaport and convention spaces in 20 minutes.
“Chelsea is a wonderful city and a perfect location for visitors who come to the Boston area. This small city has seven stylish contemporary hotels which offer over 900 available guest rooms and suites,” said Maureen Foley of XSS Hotels, a hotel operator in Chelsea, and a Chelsea Chamber of Commerce Board Director. “Tourism and hospitality is the third largest industry in Massachusetts, and it makes a significant economic impact in a community. By boosting awareness of Chelsea as a visitor destination ‘just a bridge away’ from downtown Boston and Logan International Airport, we can promote local restaurants, hotels, shops, historical places and other attractions to travelers coming here from a nearby town or from another country. We want to welcome them to discover Chelsea and experience its unique authenticity.”
Added Martha Sheridan, CEO of the GBCVB, “The City of Chelsea has emerged as a true destination draw for our region. Always rich in culture, Chelsea partners have now produced the assets, itineraries, and digital content to reach visitors in new and innovative ways. With a spectacular culinary scene, fun recreation, a beautiful waterfront, impressive hotel inventory, and a diverse community eager to welcome all people, we are so excited for travelers from near and far to discover Chelsea!”
Director of the Discover Chelsea campaign and the City’s Chelsea Prospers initiative overall, Mimi Graney said the city has much to offer visitors. In many ways the Discover Chelsea campaign is the culmination of her efforts over the past five years. Cumulative projects to improve public spaces, install community-centered public art, and special events have animated the downtown for residents and new visitors alike. Walking tours and communication efforts to showcase Chelsea are given a bigger platform through the campaign.
“Chelsea’s got so much to offer but unfortunately the traditional venues travelers would seek out when planning their visit to the Boston area had nothing to say about the community,” said Graney. “There’s awesome parks, great places to eat, and interesting areas to explore. We’re making sure that this information is easy to find for those coming to the area.”
The project might even have locals thinking about their community in a new way.
“We’re all ambassadors for our community,” Graney explained. “Whether you’re working in a local business or making plans for a night out with friends. All of us developing the resource materials for the project have been amazed at how exceptional Chelsea truly is in all it has to benefit travelers. And in documenting so many of the neighborhood businesses we’re marveling at how truly special this place is.”
The groundwork for the development of Chelsea’s hospitality sector came in two phases. First, several hotels came online in only a few short years. With all those potential visitors, City Manager Tom Ambrosino and the Chelsea City Council invested in a vibrant city core where people could enjoy themselves during their stay.
“Since arriving as city manager in Chelsea, I have had the highest of hopes for our downtown and for the idea that visitors to our city, staying in our hotels, could enjoy the local businesses and the authenticity of the Chelsea experience,” said Ambrosino. “We have invested millions of dollars in the infrastructure of the downtown, and countless hours, and hope to invest even more in the coming years. Chelsea has a lot to offer visitors who choose to stay here.”
State Sen. Sal DiDomenico said the state grant was a perfect fit for Chelsea, to help entrepreneurs like Joseph-Seale bring in new business from outside the area, and to fortify the existing hotel investments made in Chelsea several years ago.
“Chelsea’s hospitality industry is not as well-known as it should be and this grant was something I was happy to support at the State House,” he said. “Chelsea residents will benefit from great jobs in the hospitality industry and local businesses will benefit from the added revenues from visitors to the city looking for an authentic, affordable place to stay with great accessibility to Boston and the North Shore. With our recent investments from the state in public transportation on the Silver Line and commuter rail station, Chelsea is a quick stop from any destination in the region. It’s critical that we let tourists coming here know that.”
One person ready to show tourists some of Chelsea’s hidden, and not so hidden, treasures is Ellen Rovner. Having started a walking tour business in Boston, but living in Chelsea, she expanded recently to include several new walking tours here – which is where she was born. The tours touch on the past, with the history of Chelsea’s once-large Jewish community, to the colorful, with a tour of the city’s amazing public art program.
“I set out to show those interested in Chelsea just how phenomenal the city is by foot, and I ended up being the one who learned the most,” she said. “Having been born in Chelsea, I have learned so much about the city where I started out, and the walking tours here of so many of the various fun, interesting and authentic experiences have taken on their own life. I invite anyone visiting Chelsea to take one of the six tours and learn about everything from public art to famous movies filmed in Chelsea.”
Discover Chelsea will continue throughout the summer with a social media campaign and other events as well. The campaign’s website can be accessed at www.discoverchelseama.com.
For further inquiries, please contact Mimi Graney at firstname.lastname@example.org or (617) 466-4186.