Attracting talented young people to Maine and making this state their home is a top priority of my Administration. As you may have seen, a new sign now greets all people arriving at our state at the Kittery line.
It says simply: “Welcome Home.”
I am not the only one rolling out the welcome mat for Maine’s future innovators, business people, employers and working people.
Maine’s tourism industry is also showing the world that there is no place like home and no place like Maine.
Good morning, I am Governor Janet Mills. Thank you for listening.
You know Maine welcomed more than 37 million visitors in 2018, including over 6 million first-time visitors who discovered our state for the very first time.
From the swift currents of Allagash Falls and Moxie Stream to the peaks of Cadillac Mountain and Tumbletown Mountain, from the bedrock and sea spray of Nubble Lighthouse and Portland Head Light, to the sandy pier of Old Orchard Beach and the sweeping sails of Boothbay Harbor ships, families fell in love.
How many of us, both native and “from away,” can still remember the slow summer days of childhood, the peace of sunrises and sunsets without a destination or deadline and just living in a world onto itself in Maine?
It’s not just the outdoor recreation that draws visitors from around the world to our state.
You know from the Portland Museum of Art to the Maine State Museum, the Bangor Discovery Museum and the Colby College Museum, visitors flock to view the creations of world-class Maine artists young, and old.
Our food is quite an attraction too. You know Maine’s fisheries and farms help our restaurants win accolades all over the country and build Maine’s reputation as a culinary destination.
Last year, Portland was designated 2018’s “Restaurant City of the Year” by Bon Appetit Magazine and this year, Maine’s Allagash Brewery is a James Beard Award winner.
Well from beer to the Beehive Loop trail in Acadia, tourism impacts every part of our state.
It breathes life into our small businesses, keeping them thriving even during the long stretch of winter. It supports year-round amenities and it supports our choices for shopping, dining and entertainment that we all benefit from long after the tourists have gone.
And while the summer stream of out-of-state license plates headed up 295 - and the corresponding traffic - can be tiresome at times, tourism does build awareness about the wonders of our state for Maine residents themselves.
In a survey conducted by the Maine Office of Tourism a few years ago, ninety-five percent of residents said they had taken a vacation in Maine - you know a “staycation” - more than 50 miles from their own home and seventy-one percent had done so in the past year.
So, whether you travel near or far from home this summer, please enjoy the many wonders of our state and help show our visitors why Maine “is the way life should be” and encourage young people to move here and enjoy our state all year round.
For more information on places to see, things to do, or outdoor adventures accessible to your family in Maine this summer, please go towww.VisitMaine.com
I look forward to seeing you at our state parks, on the beach, and at the corner store this summer in Maine.
I am Governor Janet Mills. Thank you for listening.