Maine tourism officials and business owners say the state’s had a successful summer season.
The Portland Press Herald reports that streets in resort cities and towns have been teeming with visitors. Tourism officials credit lower gas prices, overall good weather and an improving economy.
The Maine Turnpike Authority and the Portland International Jetport both are reporting record-breaking summer traffic this year.
Christopher Fogg, head of the Maine Tourism Association, said decreased visits and spending by Canadian visitors due to the drop in the exchange rate will likely keep this tourism season from seeing a record high. The Canadian dollar fell to an 11-year low this year.
“The Canadians still came, but not in the numbers that we saw in previous years,” Fogg said.
Turnpike officials say the number of Canadian cars this summer dropped by about 20 percent.
“But even with the drop-off with Canadians, the rest of the New England states have made up for it,” said Doug Davidson said, chief financial officer at the turnpike authority.
Mary Breen, who has owned Bread & Roses Bakery in Ogunquit for 26 years, told the newspaper she’s never seen the streets more crowded than they were this summer.
“July 4th was the busiest day we’ve (ever) had,” she said. “May and June were on par, but July was way up, August was phenomenal and there’s no reason that September won’t be as well.”
Statewide restaurant and lodging sales were up nearly 5.6 percent through June, according to the Maine Office of Tourism. Sales receipts from restaurants and lodging for July and August won’t be released until late fall.
“What we’ve seen to date, just from those pieces themselves, is that it’s turning out to be a really strong summer season for Maine,” said Carolann Ouellette, director of the tourism office.