Cape Cod is home to about 200,000 people, but is a strong economy nonetheless. The economy has faced some challenges over the years, but still offers many great opportunities for new and growing businesses. Chris Adams, Chief of Staff at the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, is confident that transitioning to a blue economy will be a solution.

What Are the Dominant Industries in Cape Cod?

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, retail is the dominant industry in Cape Cod. It generated nearly $4 billion in 2007. This figure is hardly surprising, since Cape Cod is a popular tourist destination. Approximately 4 million people visit Cape Cod every year, which provides a significant stream of revenue for the local economy.

Health care and social assistance is the second largest industry in Cape Cod. These organizations generate almost $1.5 billion a year for the local economy.

How Has the Industry Changed?

The Cape Cod economy has evolved considerably over the last half century. The region used to be reliant almost entirely on fishing, but was forced to transition to tourism them as fishing stocks were gradually depleted. The tourism industry has had a better long-term track record, but still creates problems with volatility caused by seasonal changes and economic cycles.

Policy makers are trying to promote a more sustainable “blue economy.” The  Baker-Polito Administration’s Seaport Economic Council recently awarded a $180,000 grant to the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce to work on blue economy initiatives.

Adams anticipates the blue economy will usher a period of rapid growth for the Cape Cod economy.

“The Blue Economy is all about expanding and diversifying the Cape region’s economy beyond its seasonal tourism base, and creating a sustainable future based on a marine centered live-work-play economy,” said Adams. “It’s taking advantage of assets that already exist here, and finding a sustainable and symbiotic course for the future that embraces both a vibrant economy and healthy environment.”

The economy is still undergoing changes, but could face unprecedented growth in the near future. Cape Cod businesses have learned the importance of maximizing the utility of limited resources. They are exploring the possibilities of geothermal energy,   hydroponic food production and other sustainable economic ideas.

The industry will need to evolve to address the new challenges the region faces, but businesses are confident that they can persevere. In fact, they believe the blue economy offers tremendous potential for everyone living in Cape Cod.