The economic development of Massachusetts has centered primarily on agriculture and marine industries generating over 81,808 jobs and nearly $1.9 billion in earnings yearly. This industry has high-paying jobs – mostly in marine technology and education – and low-paying jobs in food services and tourism. Seafood industries employed about one-half of the people working in the marine economy (about 40,000 jobs.)
Marine tourism and recreation have always been important social and economic activities is Massachusetts. In a recent study of whale watching, it was concluded that almost 1 million people paid $21 in 1996 to firms offering this service, mostly in Plymouth and Provincetown. According to the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism (MOTT), Massachusetts attracted 26.7 million domestic (over one-half from New England) and 1.9 million foreign travelers (about one-fourth from Canada in 1997. Domestic tourist paid $9.1 billion in direct expenditures, generating 110,640 jobs that paid a total of nearly $2.4 billion in wages and salaries.