Maine Office of Tourism Unveils New Campaign Direction,
Initiatives, at 2022 Governor's Conference on Tourism
Portland, MAINE – Maine’s tourism industry convened this week for the annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism, held Wednesday and Thursday at the Westin Portland Harborview. The two-day conference featured an awards presentation by Governor Janet Mills as well as the release of new data showing that Maine’s tourism and hospitality industry continues to benefit from Maine’s strong economic recovery.
New research from the Maine Office of Tourism shows that Maine experienced a 29 percent increase in tourism-related visitation in 2021 over 2020, with an estimated 15.6 million visitors to Maine destinations in 2021. Direct tourism expenditures in 2021 totaled over $7.8 billion, with an overall economic impact of over $14 billion and 143,100 jobs supported by tourism.
“Thanks to the hard work of the tourism and hospitality industry, visitors returned in large numbers to Maine last year, contributing to our economy, supporting our small businesses, and maintaining Maine’s reputation as a world-class destination,” said Governor Janet Mills. “As businesses navigate the lingering challenges of the pandemic and Maine’s longstanding workforce shortage, my Administration is committed to doing all we can to support the continued recovery and future prosperity of this vital industry.”
“The partnership of so many industry stakeholders is a big part of why the tourism and hospitality industry, and our entire state, are having such a strong economic recovery. That spirit of collaboration will be critical as we work to address workforce shortages and strengthen this industry for the years to come,” said Heather Johnson, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development.
Although Maine's tourism and hospitality industry continues to benefit from positive economic trends, surveys show that staffing shortages continue to be an obstacle for many businesses. Many are hopeful that the release of additional H-2B visas by the federal government, following repeated pushes from Governor Mills and Maine’s Congressional Delegation, will provide short-term relief for seasonal businesses. Recognizing that a long-term, systemic fix to address workforce shortages is necessary, Governor Mills’ Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan is making critical investments to attract and keep people in the workforce. The Plan includes more than $300 million in planned workforce investments – a larger share of federal relief funds on workforce development than all but two states.
In addition to providing remarks recognizing the work of industry stakeholders, Governor Mills presented 2022 Maine Tourism Awards to four recipients for their exemplary contributions to the industry: the Maine Tourism Association (Governor’s Award for Tourism Excellence), Maine Performing Arts Leadership (Innovation & Creativity Award), the Maine Oyster Trail (Leadership & Growth Award) and MXH Marketing (Marketing & Promotion Award).
“This year’s award recipients exemplify the resilience of our industry,” said Steve Lyons, Director of the Maine Office of Tourism. “This year’s awards included recognition of group efforts and collaborations, as well as honoring individual excellence in different categories.”
MOT also showcased its work with a new agency, Miles Partnership to develop creative materials for print, digital and television advertising. The 2022 campaign will make a shift in marketing direction to focus on Maine places and iconic experiences. As MOT’s plan to develop a Destination Management Plan with Maine stakeholders and communities proceeds in 2022, the campaign will incorporate efforts to promote sustainable tourism in Maine.
Research unveiled today by MOT is available at www.mainetourismconference.com. In addition to the figures shared above, other key findings include:
- Visitor spending was up 63.7 percent from 2020 and 20.3 percent from 2019.
- Length of stay increased in 2021, with an average stay for overnight visitors of 5+ nights.
- Tourism supported jobs contributed nearly $5.1 billion in wages to Maine households. The tourism industry generated over $1 billion in tax revenue.