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May 23, 2018

Maine tourism businesses gear up for busy summer season

Photo / CruiseMapper.com
Photo / CruiseMapper.com
An aerial view of Rockland's port, which can dock ships sized up to 215 feet in length. The Maine Office of Tourism anticipates another good year for the tourism industry in Maine, citing national reports of optimism for domestic leisure travel in the United States.

With Memorial Day and the summer travel season just around the corner, the Maine Office of Tourism anticipates another good year for the tourism industry in Maine, amid national reports of optimism for domestic leisure travel in the United States.

According to the U.S. Travel Association's April Travel Outlook, domestic interest in travel within the U.S. is up significantly this year from the 76% of domestic searches seen in March of last year. In March 2018, 84% of U.S. residents searching for lodging searched within the U.S.

Over 36 million travelers from the U.S. and Canada visited Maine on tourism-related trips in 2017, an increase in annual visitation of 2.5% over 2016.

"Maine tourism visitation increased for the fifth consecutive year in 2017, averaging more than five% growth each year since 2012," said Steve Lyons, director of the Maine Office of Tourism. "While we don't do projections, we are hearing from our industry partners that bookings are strong and we anticipate another good year in 2018."

Maine has received national accolades in recent years for amenities ranging from Portland's award-winning food and beverage scene to the unique escapes offered by Maine's coastal islands to Greenville's lakeside inns, according to the tourism office. Diverse lodging statewide, from "glamping" huts, tents, and tree houses to themed boutique hotels to Maine's traditional family sporting camps, is attracting new and repeat visitors.

All-season tourism is growing

While summer (May - August) is the strongest season for tourism in Maine, with approximately two in three visitors coming during the summer months, Maine is seeing visitation grow in all seasons. An estimated 26.2 million visitors came to Maine during summer 2017, an increase of 4.5% over 2016. Tourism visitation grew by nearly 11% during the 2017 winter season (December-April), and increased by 3.5% in the 2017 fall season (September-November) over the previous year, following double digit increases in 2015 and 2016.

"It used to be that Labor Day was considered the end of the summer tourism season in Maine, but that no longer holds true," said Lyons. "Maine's seasonal tourism businesses are staying open through October due to demand, as visitors enjoy our gorgeous fall foliage and autumn outdoor activities. In Maine, Columbus Day has become the new Labor Day in terms of tourism visitation."

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