Memorial Day weekend travel rebounded considerably in Maine in 2021, but it remained brief of pre-pandemic levels with rural gains offset by dips in coastal tourism facilities amid worldwide travel restrictions and lingering virus worries.
Just around 330,000 autos crossed the Piscataqua River Bridge among Friday and Monday, according to information from the Maine Section of Transportation. That was a 68 percent improve compared with 2020, when Maine even now experienced coronavirus-related journey restrictions for all states but New Hampshire and Vermont. But it was nonetheless 14 p.c lessen than in 2019, when far more than 380,000 automobiles crossed the bridge from New Hampshire to Maine in a weekend.
The amount of automobiles touring through Maine DOT rely stations throughout the point out was up 42 p.c when compared with last 12 months but continue to 8 % decrease than in 2019. These changes had been not uniform, even so, as targeted traffic lagged in southern Maine but rebounded a lot more in northern and rural pieces of the point out that observed levels exceeding 2019.
The southern coast was especially difficult-strike by decreases, with web-sites from Kittery to Saco seeing dips in targeted visitors that ranged amongst 8 percent and 14 % relative to two yrs in the past. Kim Howard, government director of the Old Orchard Seaside Chamber of Commerce, claimed through a website conversation hosted by the Maine State Chamber of Commerce that Memorial Working day website traffic produced her “cautiously optimistic” for the rest of the year provided the enhancement from 2020.
But she cited the ongoing closure of the border with Canada as a important challenge, particularly for Old Orchard Beach front, exactly where French-Canadian travelers have historic ties. The border has been shut for most of the pandemic but could reopen in July. Canadian tourists accounted for 17 p.c of overnight stays in Maine in 2019, in accordance to facts from the Maine Business of Tourism.
Even though journey in southern Maine did not return to pre-pandemic stages, several destinations further north observed amplified traffic when compared with equally 2019 and 2020. The selection of cars and trucks traversing the Thompson Island Bridge, which crosses from Trenton to Mount Desert Island and the vacationer places of Acadia Nationwide Park and Bar Harbor, was up 3.2 percent compared with 2019, in accordance to state information. The rise arrives on the heels of the nationwide park’s busiest winter season ever.
But the place that noticed the biggest proportional boost amongst any of the spots where Maine DOT actions was alongside Route 6 in the Penobscot County town of Springfield, the place the amount of automobiles crossing was up 12 percent when compared with 2019. Rely web-sites on state highways in Dexter, New Portland and Ashland also saw a lot more autos this yr.
The increases suit with a pattern of developing tourism in the highlands of Penobscot and Piscataquis counties, explained Kerrie Tripp, government director of the Greater Bangor Conference and People Bureau.
She pointed out that some remote destinations had found an boost in website visitors amongst 2019 and 2020 — even as all round tourist visits declined substantially in Maine — as more Mainers vacationed within just the state. A lot of of those people vacationers had been returning for one more take a look at this summertime, she reported, alongside with site visitors from other states who could sense safer vacationing in rural regions.
The higher travel figures in excess of Memorial Day weekend nevertheless portend a busy summer season. Getting a reservation in the highlands is extra hard than 2019 or 2020, Tripp said, with some houses now sold out entirely. When the deficiency of Canadian website visitors also took a toll in rural places, Tripp stated destinations have been also seeing improved tourism from domestic vacationers who opted to go to Maine rather than travel internationally.
“Although we haven’t thoroughly built up for the reduction of the Canadian website visitors, we’re absolutely executing very perfectly with a large amount of all those first-time readers that are coming to the point out of Maine,” she stated. “So, there is a tiny little bit of stability.”