Summer tourism expected to surpass record

·2 min read

May 26—State officials expect summer tourism to surpass last summer's record numbers.

For the first time in two years, the border to Canada will be reopened.

"We are excited to be welcoming our neighbors to the north," said Lori Harnois, the state's travel and tourism director, during a press conference Thursday morning.

The state has seen visitation and spending records in every season since 2019, according to a news release.

The summer season is expected to bring in 4.6 million visitors with more than $2.2 billion in spending.

Last summer, the state saw a 21% increase in tourism visitation and spending over 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. The reasons: pent-up travel demand, drivable outdoor leisure activities and marketing efforts, according to a news release.

"Our tourism industry went from recovery to record breaking in one year and is on track to beat that once again this year," said Taylor Caswell, commissioner of the Department of Business and Economic Affairs, in a statement.

Research shows that many who visited New Hampshire for the first time last summer plan to return again.

"We're confident the range of opportunities from outdoor adventures to arts and culture available across the state will continue to attract new and returning visitors to New Hampshire," Harnois said in a statment

Summer is traditionally the busiest tourism season in New Hampshire, according to the department.

Some challenges this year include higher gas prices and inflation.

"Travelers are also looking to plan the longer — and long haul — trips that they may have postponed for the past two years," Harnois said.

Phil Bryce, director of the state Division of Parks and Recreation, said the state parks have always been popular destinations for outdoor activity.

"Since the pandemic and now that people recognize how great it is to spend time outdoors, we are continuing to see significant demand, especially earlier in the season, and campers are at all-time record levels," he said in a statement.

The state is also promoting "Granite State Promise," a campaign which encourages people to plan ahead, be patient and be respectful.