Augusta - The Maine Office of Tourism (MOT) has launched an initiative to develop a state-wide Destination Management Plan in 2022.
Tourism is an important which attracted an estimated 15.6 million visitors in 2021 who spent over $7.8 billion on accommodations, transportation, groceries, restaurants, shopping, entertainment, and other expenses. The tourism industry is key to creating jobs and opportunities for Maine residents, and supporting amenities that residents and visitors alike can enjoy.
To ensure the sustainability of tourism in Maine, the Office of Tourism will develop a destination management plan that balances the tourism economy with natural resource and cultural stewardship to protect the core assets of our state now and for the future. The state recognizes that supporting quality of life for Maine residents is key to supporting a quality experience for our visitors.
“As visitation to Maine continues to grow, the Maine Office of Tourism recognizes destination management as critical to the long-term health of our tourism industry and our communities,” said Steve Lyons, Director of the Maine Office of Tourism. “Ultimately, we’d like a plan that celebrates the qualities that make Maine special.”
MOT has contracted with the Coraggio Group of consultants to facilitate the planning process with input from Maine tourism industry stakeholders and residents. The Coraggio Group project team members have worked with nine state tourism offices on destination management initiatives including Travel Oregon, the Colorado Tourism Office, and Visit California, and bring a depth of experience in strategic planning, sustainable tourism planning and stakeholder engagement to this project.
The Maine project will include development of a visitor management strategy that 1) provides a framework for measuring and monitoring the impacts of tourism (economic, social and environmental); 2) recommends ways to enhance visitor management at the most visited sites; 3) addresses locations that don’t want or need promotion due to current traffic; 4) recommends strategies to gradually decrease seasonality and expand shoulder season visitation; and 5) identifies strategies to adapt to visitor and resident environmental and social impacts, and encourage responsible travel.
Phase 1 of the plan development process will begin in March 2022 with an online survey to engage stakeholders throughout Maine, including county and local DMOs, travel industry partners, government partners, elected representatives, residents, visitors, and others. During April and May, a series of eight Regional Town Hall Visioning Summits will ensure that information is shared in a comprehensive and inclusive manner. The regional approach will enable the potential for the statewide plan to provide flexibility for local solutions, as appropriate.
Phase 2 will assess insights, priorities and resources provided by the Office of Tourism team to ensure alignment with industry and community goals in delivering an actionable Destination Management Plan.
Outcomes of the process will include the establishment of benchmarks that support destination stewardship and promote the growth of the Maine tourism industry without adversely impacting residential quality of life and the natural resources that have always drawn people to Maine for vacationing and active, outdoor recreation pursuits. The final plan will be completed by November of 2022.
For project updates and timeline visit www.MOTPartners.com