Labor Day traffic increases 4%

More travelers visited New Hampshire this Labor Day weekend than did in 2010, even though gas prices were up more than a dollar per gallon over last year.That’s according to the state tourism department, which said toll traffic was up 4 percent this year over last year for the entire four-day weekend. Friday fared exceptionally well, with a 12 percent increase over the same day last year.The increased traffic came even though gas prices were much higher this past holiday weekend than they were last year at the same time.Gas prices averaged about $3.64 in the state over this past Labor Day weekend. Last year, they averaged under $2.60, according to the gas price aggregator newhampshiregasprices.comMark LaClair, executive director of the Lincoln-Woodstock Chamber of Commerce, attributed the strong weekend showing to the warm weather on Saturday and Sunday. He said that, despite a rainy Labor Day, business seemed to be on par with last year.The closed roads and bridges and other fallout from Tropical Storm Irene also didn’t seem to keep visitors away. In fact, the damage to surrounding states may even have boosted business for some in the Granite State.”We had good business over the weekend,” said Pecco Beaufays, innkeeper at the Highland Lake Inn. “We had some bookings from people who had been displaced from Vermont and we were glad to be able to accommodate them in New Hampshire.”Jayne O’Connor, president of White Mountain Attractions Association, said the weekend went “surprisingly well.” “It gave us a warm feeling to see so many people enjoying the White Mountains so soon after the storm. We were very fortunate that we were not hit as badly as our neighboring states.” — KATHLEEN CALLAHAN/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

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