Maine tourism industry sees hope for this tourism season

 Wednesday, March 29, 2023 


The officials in Maine’s tourism industry are optimistic about building on the success of 2022, a year in which the number of visitors to the state decreased slightly, but tourist spending increased significantly.

At the Maine Governors Conference on Tourism in Bangor, state officials announced that direct spending by tourists totaled $8.64 billion last year, up from $7.85 billion in 2021. Despite a slight decline in the number of visitors to Maine, those who did visit tended to stay longer and spend more, resulting in a 10% increase in direct spending by tourists and an 18% increase in the number of nights spent in hotels or motels.

According to Joseph St. Germain of Downs and St. Germain Research, a Westbrook firm hired by the state, all of this spending helped support 151,000 jobs in Maine. Additionally, the average Maine household saved more than $2,000 in state taxes that were covered by visitors. St. Germain noted that tourists were more inclined to immerse themselves in Maine last year, whether that meant camping, going to the beach, or visiting restaurants over several days, instead of making shorter visits.

St. Germain’s research also found that foodie culture is now a leading draw for Maine, with 74% of visitors citing food as one of the leading reasons to visit. This percentage eclipsed the more general reasons of tourism and sightseeing, which were cited by 53% of those surveyed. The tendency to stay longer will also have an impact on the state’s tourism marketing, according to Jordan Kuglitsch of Miles Partnership, a tourism marketing firm.

Kuglitsch noted that the Northeast and mid-Atlantic states, along with eastern Canada, are still seen as prime territory for marketing the state to potential tourists, and several metro areas in Florida, Atlanta, and Chicago are emerging markets.

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