A new study from the University of Maine shows that the Maine hospitality industry employed about 59,000 full and part-time workers last year and generated $4 billion in taxable retail sales, with a total contribution to Maine's economy of almost $7 billion.

Flickr Creative Commons

International travel publication Lonely Planet has named Maine one of the world's top regions to travel to in 2020.

Tourism attracts millions of visitors to Maine each summer, but for those of us who live here, there are still abundant opportunities to travel and explore in and around the state throughout the season. We’ll learn about places to visit, from popular attractions to hidden gems, as well as lodging options, festivals, events, quirky spots and more.

Jamie Sanford / Flickr Creative Commons

The wedding industry is a multi-million dollar economic driver in Maine, according to a new economic analysis conducted by the University of Southern Maine.

Winter recreation is big business in Maine. The state has seen increases in winter visitation over the past five years, including an increase of more than 10 percent during the winter of 2016-17 compared to the previous year. We’ll learn about its role in the Maine economy and why there’s no need to cocoon all winter in Maine as our panel shares suggestions for winter travel, outdoor sports and adventure, activities, events, festivals and more.

This show was recorded before a live audience in Iceland; no calls will be taken.

In many ways, Iceland is like Maine – beautiful, sparsely populated, and a tourist destination.  We’ll discuss the similarities and differences between Maine and Iceland. Jennifer Rooks hosts this special program from Iceland's RÚV Studios.

PORTLAND, Maine - State officials say the number of tourists visiting Maine reached a five-year high last year, but tourist spending flatlined.

The Maine Office of Tourism released statistics Wednesday at the annual Governor's Conference on Tourism in Portland that showed the trend. The Portland Press Herald reports roughly 36.7 million tourists visited the state in 2017, about 8.8 million more tourists than in 2012.

However, spending by tourists only increased about 0.4 percent - a virtually flat change from 2016.

Courtesy Kelly McDonald

Maine's tourist-related business people will gather in Augusta Wednesday for the state's annual tourism conference.  They'll hear from advertising and marketing specialist Kelly McDonald.  In an interview earlier this week from Denver, Colorado, McDonald told Maine Public Radio's Morning Edition host Irwin Gratz that the factors that attract tourists these days go far beyond a comfortable bed and a good meal.  McDonald's talk is titled, "Crafting the Customer Experience for People Not Like You."

Summer Vacation in Maine

May 26, 2017

Americans take fewer and fewer vacation days, and there are efforts to change that trend. Here in Maine, those efforts mean promoting our state’s abundant opportunities for vacationers. We’ll hear from experts on must-see and overlooked places, events and activities to check out in Maine this summer.

Guests: Tony Cameron, director of marketing and communications, Maine Tourism Association

MaryEllen Lessard, travel agent, Northern New England AAA

Brian Kevin, managing editor, Down East magazine

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

Businesses in Maine that rely on summer help are hoping that Congress will come to the rescue.

Because of new limits on the seasonal worker visa program, restaurants, hotels and other tourist-centered operations are scrambling to find seasonal employees. Until Congress opens the door to more H-2B foreign workers, those businesses are finding ways to attract locals onto the payroll.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine officials say revenue from the state's tourism industry has increased for the fourth straight year in 2016.
A report from the Maine Office of Tourism shows that revenue grew to just under $6 billion last year, an increase of about 6 percent from the previous year. Officials said Wednesday the total economic impact of tourism reached $9 billion.

Winter Travel

Dec 8, 2015

The travel industry is changing wildly - we'll turn to experts for advice on finding unusual travel destinations, how to get the best deals, how to ensure your safety while traveling, and more... both in Maine and around the world.

Guests: Brian Kevin, Associate Editor with DownEast and author, "The Footloose American: Following the Hunter S. Thompson Trail Across South America."

Mary Ellen Lessard, AAA of Northern New England. 

Beth Skypeck, Vacation Travel Advisor with Direct Travel Vacations.

With a busy tourism season looming, some Maine businesses are breathing a sigh of relief as the federal government resumes processing applications to hire summer workers from outside the country — at least for now.

The H2B visa program which allows businesses to use foreign seasonal workers where there's a shortage of local labor had been in limbo after a March 4 court ruling in Florida found that the U.S. Labor Department lacked the authority to regulate the program.

Patty Wight / MPBN

OGUNQUIT, Maine — It might seem hard to imagine, but Maine's tourist season is just around the corner — and some hotels, motels and inns are confronting a seasonal worker snag.

The so-called federal H2B visa program that allows businesses to hire foreign workers is on hold following a court ruling in Florida. Members of the hospitality industry say if they can't hire foreign seasonal workers, they won't be able to meet customer demand, and Maine's tourism economy will suffer.

Maine Department of Transportation

PORTLAND, Maine — Congestion on Maine's most heavily traveled highways has been in remission for most of the last decade. Blame the biggest declines in driving on the Great Recession. But now, it is beginning to make a comeback on Maine highways. And the ways officials are planning to deal with it are different than in the past.