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Tourism is New Hampshire’s second-largest industry–if you combine the state’s smart manufacturing and high technology sectors (SMHT). It’s also a clear point of intersection between government and industry, with the state maintaining a number of parks, campgrounds, and historical sites, and nearby businesses in turn catering to visitors’ needs. Given this close relationship, the state provides funding to market New Hampshire to potential tourists. Some of the heaviest marketing efforts are concentrated in Boston, Philadelphia and New York City. Canadian tourists, especially Quebeçois, also make up a sizable number of New Hampshire’s visitors. From the business perspective, “tourism” is a broad term. It encompasses hotels, resorts, restaurants, retail, and arts and entertainment, among other things. So while statewide reports may indicate overall restaurant or retail sales are up or down, the story might be very different in New Hampshire’s main tourism communities. For these places, weather, gas prices, currency exchange rates, and whether they draw visitors for outdoor activities, site-seeing, or shopping could all be factors.Summary provided by StateImpact NH

New Hampshire Expecting More Tourists, Greater Spending Over Summer

File Photo, NHPR

New Hampshire’s tourism industry is preparing for a busy Memorial Day weekend.

The three-day holiday is typically the fourth-busiest weekend for tourism in the state, and it's the unofficial start to the summer tourist season. The state Division of Travel and Tourism Development says 40 percent of New Hampshire’s annual visitors come during the summer months.

The official forecast from the Institute for New Hampshire Studies estimates 575,000 visitors over the holiday weekend, spending some $91 million. Those figures would make for a 3 percent increase over last year, which is in line with state projections for the summer travel season as a whole.

Those in the industry point to a rebound in consumer confidence and the drop in gas prices as factors driving increased holiday tourism. "We’ve got low gas prices this year, about a dollar less than last year," says Victoria Cimino, director of the New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism Development. And, Cimino adds, "we have a great weather forecast." 

The drop in gas prices is expected to play a role in how travelers get to their destinations this year. Dan Goodman of AAA Northern New England says while travel as a whole is likely to increase, car travel is expected to rise, while travel by other methods may decrease. "“In New England, we’re going to exceed the national average and see an increase of almost 5 percent of auto travel," Goodman says. AAA's Memorial Day Travel Forecast predicts a 3.6 percent fall in travel by other methods, such as train, bus and cruise ship. 

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