Just a short list of the great world destinations that have been hit by devastating terrorist attacks in the last decade-and-a-half. All are thriving today, and all remain among the top places in the world for tourism.
But that “happy ending” didn’t come all at once in some cases. Both Bali and New York City, in particular, saw serious drops in their tourist numbers after events that made them synonymous with terror in some would-be visitor’s minds.
It’s too soon to know whether Boston will suffer the same fate. I'm recommending we all work together to make sure a drop off doesn't occur. There are, after all, so many wonderful reasons to vacation in Boston:
1) Do hugs appeal to you? Visitors will be embraced, both literally and figuratively, by thankful locals. They understand that choosing to spend your vacation dollars in Boston today is an act of solidarity, and they’ll be grateful for the gesture.
2) Public celebrations of numerous milestones. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the acclaimed Boston Ballet, meaning inventive programming, a higher level of excitement at performances and special galas. The Old State House, arguably the most historic building in this highly historic town (the Declaration of Independence was read from its balcony), will be turning 300 with a splashy array of special museum exhibits, lectures and programs. And for the little ones, the Boston Children’s Museum is celebrating its 100th year with all-new exhibits, lots of kid-friendly parties and special events.
3) For the Art of the Place: Not only are the colonial structures of central Boston a happy eye-full, the city boasts two of the finest art museums in this hemisphere. The Isabelle Stewart Gardner Museum, an exquisite collection housed in the former home of its patroness, was significantly (and gorgeously) expanded in 2012, with a new addition by Renzo Piano. Its famed Titians, Rembrandts, Botticellis and John Singer Sargent works still take pride of place (most particularly Europa by Titian, considered by some to be the finest Renaissance work in North America). And the Museum of Fine Arts continues to dazzle with visitors flocking to its fairly recent (2010) new Americas wing as well as its magnificent collection of Impressionist works.
4) It’s right next to Cambridge: Which means two really unique destinations in one. Head to Cambridge for strolls in fabled Harvard Yard; free tours, led by students, explore the history of the campus, though you can ask these young geniuses anything you like about student life. A warning: they bristle when you ask if Harvard was accurately portrayed in “The Social Network”. The Mount Auburn Cemetary is also worth a look-see (it’s one of the prettiest and most notables-filled in the Americas), as is the Peabody Museum and Harvard Natural History Museum. And heck, pretending you’re still a student in Harvard Square is a hoot.
These are just a handful of reasons to go. But probably the most important is: to do a good deed. Boston needs your support. And it could be a heckuva lot of fun to give it!