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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

As Summer Season Starts, N.H. Tourism Urges: Leave No Trace, Be Respectful, Plan Ahead

Crawford Path hiking trail
Dan Tuohy / NHPR
Crawford Path hiking trail in the White Mountain National Forest

Memorial Day weekend marked the start of what New Hampshire officials hope will be a busy summer tourism season. As part of it, they're rolling out a gentle reminder for visitors: Don't Take New Hampshire for Granite.

The new motto from the state Division of Travel and Tourism comes after last year's busy pandemic summer saw over-crowded trails, tensions with workers and problems with litter.

The state wants to remind people to leave no trace out there: stay away from wildlife, don’t pickup plants or rocks, and pack out your waste. They say visitors should show respect for each other, local residents and park staff. And they should get up to speed on the latest rules for reservations and parking before they arrive.

The White Mountain National Forest issued similar reminders. They say visitors should know what they're getting into with any hikes and prepare for sudden changes in weather.

If people arrive at a trailhead that's visibly crowded – as many were in 2020 – they're encouraged to go somewhere else. And please, the National Forest says, don't feed the bears.

The state hopes to see 2019 levels of visitation this summer and is advertising itself across a 600-mile radius, emphasizing road trips from the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic. The year before the pandemic was one of New Hampshire’s best ever for tourism, the state’s top-earning industry.

Annie has covered the environment, energy, climate change and the Seacoast region for NHPR since 2017. She leads the newsroom's climate reporting project, By Degrees.
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