Forecast sees strong summer tourism season

State officials say a new forecast for this year’s summer tourism season has plenty of good news for those in the industry.

According to the forecast prepared for the Division of Travel and Tourism Development by the Institute for New Hampshire Studies, 13 million visitors will travel to New Hampshire this summer. Total spending by travelers and tourists is expected to be about 3 percent above last summer’s levels, reaching more than $1.6 billion.

“June, July, and August have the largest number of visitors to New Hampshire of any three-month travel season,” said Alice DeSouza, director of the division.

DeSouza said that expanded marketing efforts outside of the state’s usual “drive markets” will be the key to the greater number of visitors. Visitors from those areas stay for longer periods of time, she said, and “consequently spend more money on things like rooms, meals, and tax-free shopping.”

Most visitors will still be coming from New England and the Mid-Atlantic states – regions where the state traditionally spends its marketing dollars. In particular, she said, expanded marketing efforts in New York and Philadelphia should mean more visitors from those cities.

She also said she expects favorable exchange rates to spark a 3 percent increase in Canadian visitors from last summer.

According to DeSouza, the predicted growth in this year’s summer travel is most likely to be due to more overnight trips and extended weekends visits. The forecast predicts that resorts, hotels, motels and inns should have a 1 to 2 percent increase in occupancy rates. Campgrounds should see a 2 percent increase as well. – JEFF FEINGOLD

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