Maine Office of Tourism anticipates busy summer season; visitors seek outdoor experiences

Sat, 05/28/2022 - 9:15pm

    The Maine Office of Tourism visitor research conducted in 2021 reported an estimated 10.1 million travelers from the U.S. and Canada visited Maine on tourism-related trips last May through August.

    Of these visitors, 25% were visiting Maine for the first time.

    State residents also enjoyed vacationing in Maine, with residents accounting for approximately 1.6 million of summer visitors to Maine destinations in 2021.

    Visitation expectations may be on a par with pre-pandemic numbers in Maine and nationally, but the way people are experiencing Maine has shifted in recent years as travelers increasingly look for outdoor experiences and explore more rural locations, according to a May 26 news release from the Maine Office of Tourism.

    While the Greater Portland and Casco Bay and Maine beaches tourism regions received the greatest number of visitors in summer 2021, northern Maine regions saw sizable increases in summer visitation during the past two years according to mobile phone tracking data of arrivals.

    Maine Office of Tourism research reported high interest in outdoor activities in summer 2021; 53% of visitors engaged in touring and sightseeing; 40% of visitors enjoyed active outdoor opportunities; and 34% took part in water activities.

    “As more first-time visitors come to Maine and both visitors and residents explore the outdoors in new ways, our goal is to ensure that everyone has a safe and memorable experience, protecting themselves and preserving the natural beauty of our state,” said Steve Lyons, director of the Maine Office of Tourism. “One resource we encourage people to use is the “LookOutForME” website that offers tips on how to be prepared when enjoying the Maine outdoors. Another great asset is Maine’s State Parks system, which provides access to the outdoors to visitors of varied abilities. And finally, we recommend hiring a Maine Professional Guide as a great way to safely enjoy an immersive experience in the Maine wilderness.”

    According to the U.S. Travel Association’s April Travel Recovery Insights, demand for domestic leisure travel is strong with 92% of American travelers reporting plans to travel in the next six months. A recent AAA poll found that six in 10 Americans are planning at least one summer trip, with 35% expected to travel more this summer than last. These national estimates provide especially encouraging news for Maine, which saw a 2.4% visitation increase last summer over Summer 2019.