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December 20, 2012

Rockport hires PR firm to spur tourism

ROCKPORT — The Gloucester-based public relations firm Matter Communication has been picked to help revitalize Rockport’s off-season tourism as well as promoting younger generations to flock to town.

Town officials have hired the firm on a one-year, $25,000 contract, with the Board of Selectmen signing off on the agreement and allocating the money from the town’s free cash carried over from fiscal 2012 budget and last spring’s Town Meeting.

The addition of Rockport also expands the outreach of Matter Communication, which has contracts with Gloucester and Essex. Those contracts are funded privately, according Peter Webber, senior vice president for the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce.

Webber said this is one of the first instances of a public relation firm being funded by taxpayers.

The Essex chapter is funded by the Essex Merchants Group, while the Gloucester involvement is backed by Gloucester Public Relations.

Bob Coviello, chairman of the Essex Merchants Group, said he was thrilled Rockport is joining the public relations team.

He said Matter Communication has been thoroughly involved by increasing tourism and highlighting the aspects of Essex after being hired earlier this year.

“Matter’s public relations work is part of our overall promotional campaign which includes public relations, print advertising, internet marketing and promotion of local events,” Coviello said in an email to the Times.

The results have been excellent, he said, adding that if one town or city benefits, all of Cape Ann can see the benefits through more tourism and public access.

Lana Razdan, who chairs the Rockport Economic Development Committee, said the goal is to increase tourism during fall and spring.

“When the townspeople entrusted us with their money at the Spring Town Meeting, we wanted to make sure they got good return on their investment,” she said.

She hopes Rockport will benefit from long term investments as well, such as younger generations moving to Rockport and starting a family.

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