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State office predicts successful summer tourism season

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AUGUSTA – With the summer travel season just around the corner, the Maine Office of Tourism anticipates another good year for the tourism industry in Maine.

“Maine’s tourism businesses are front-line ambassadors for our state, and they are critical to the growth of our economy,” said Gov. Paul R. LePage. “Attracting new visitors not only strengthens our tourism industry, but it also helps showcase the benefits of living and working in Maine to potential new residents and business owners.”

“Maine has enjoyed consistent growth in visitation in recent years, with an average increase of 6 percent annually since 2012,” said Steve Lyons, Acting Director of the Maine Office of Tourism. “Domestic leisure travel in the U.S. is expected to increase in 2017, and as a world-class destination Maine should benefit from this trend.”

According to an April 2017 report by Destination Analysts on leisure travel, approximately 40 percent of Americans in Maine’s core travel markets (New England and the Mid-Atlantic) say they expect to travel more for leisure during the next year compared to 2016. The U.S. Travel Barometer for March 2017 showed that 76 percent of lodging searches by U.S. residents were to locations within the United States.

“Campground reservations are filling up quickly, with the big holiday weeks already mostly booked. In some places the visitor season has already begun, like Bar Harbor where it is expected to be on a par with 2016, which had a 17 percent increase in visitors at Acadia National Park for the Centennial. For the past few years, Maine has seen our largest growth in visitation during the fall, so this should extend well beyond the summer months,” said Lyons.

Overall, Maine had almost 36 million visitors in 2016, including 5 million first-time visitors. Growth in first-time visitation came primarily from the Mid-Atlantic states, continuing a trend that began when that region was added to the Maine Office of Tourism marketing program in 2014.

“Maine has increased our marketing allocation in the mid-Atlantic region for 2017,” said Lyons. “The numbers demonstrate that the Maine ‘brand’ resonates with today’s travelers, who want to escape the everyday, and are inspired by that sense of place and perspective that is distinctively Maine. The pervasive natural beauty of Maine and the connection with the natural environment in our daily lives is not something you can easily find elsewhere.”

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