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New Hampshire Asks Travelers To Be Respectful As Projected Tourism Returns To Pre-Pandemic Levels

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Mara Hoplamazian
/
NHPR
New Hampshire Department of Business and Economic Affairs Commissioner Taylor Caswell speaks at a press conference on Wednesday, September 22.

More than three million visitors are expected to arrive in New Hampshire this fall, state officials said in a press conference Wednesday in Concord.

And leaf peepers are in luck — officials say they’re expecting one of the best foliage years in recent history.

Even as projected demand for travel returns to pre-pandemic levels, state officials say that supply chain issues and a shortage of workers continue to impact the tourism industry.

Mike Somers, CEO and President of the New Hampshire Lodging and Restaurant Association, said that visitors should plan ahead and have patience with the challenges that hospitality organizations may face this fall.

“We don’t have enough staff to operate our businesses fully. Many times you’ll see a table open at a restaurant. What that means is we don’t have anybody to wait on you for that table. And we’re sorry about that, but unfortunately, that’s the nature of the situation we find ourselves in,” he said.

The state’s new program “Don’t Take New Hampshire For Granite” encourages visitors to enjoy their stay in ways that protect the environment, said Commissioner Taylor Caswell from the New Hampshire Department of Business and Economic Affairs.

“These are going to be an important part of our fall tourism season, to demonstrate to people that you need to protect the natural resource that you’re using for future generations, but also because it is literally the lifeblood for our tourism industry,” he said.

Caswell said climate change is already having an impact on the state’s outdoor recreation, and that the industry is adapting. Scientists say that climate change will make New Hampshire warmer and wetter in the coming years, with less snow and more rain.

Tourism is the Granite State’s second-largest industry, providing jobs to 49,000 Granite Staters and generating $330 million in revenue, according to the state’s new Economic Recovery and Expansion Strategy. The hospitality industry is projected to grow by almost a quarter in the next two years, the strategy says.

Foliage-seekers can follow the season’s updates on the state’s tracker.

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