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Maine's Hospitality Industry: 2016 a Banner Year

BANGOR, Maine - Maine restaurants and inns are reporting a banner year for 2016, with more than $3.6 billion in total sales.

Steve Hewins, president and CEO of the Maine Restaurant Association and the Maine Innkeepers Association, said lodging and restaurant sales rose 7 percent over 2015, with total sales generating $300 million in state tax revenue.

Hewins says the industry hopes that the two past highly successful tourist seasons are the beginning of a trend.

"I think that we have a great opportunity with hospitality in this state and I don't think that we are - the public - is aware of how important it is to the state's economy," Hewins says, "and these kind of numbers help to promote and advertise that fact to the regular public as well."

Last year's outstanding weather played a role in the record sales, encouraging more tourist visits. Hewins says the 100th anniversary celebration at Acadia National Park was also a factor. 

He says the boost in activity at restaurants and inns and hotels also helps other Maine businesses.