Tourism

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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
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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
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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.

The line extends beyond the frame of the picture at Maine Brewing Company in Freeport.
John Bradford, MPBN

Maine Beer Company expanded its brewing and retail operations to Freeport, a bit more than one year ago from a small industrial space in Portland. The craft brewer is fitting right in as a tourism destination with its more notable neighbors L.L. Bean, Nike, Patagonia, Brooks Bros. and Calvin Klein with today's release of "Dinner," a Double IPA bursting with hops.

Maine's Tourism Economy

Jul 13, 2014
Maine Office of Tourism

Anyone who knows Maine knows tourism is a huge part of state's economy.  Join host Irwin Gratz for a discussion about how the tourist industry is faring so far this summer season.

Guests: Vaughn Stinson, CEO of the Maine Tourism Association

Amanda Rector, state economist at the Governor’s Office of Policy and Management

Matthew Arrants, director with Pinnacle Advisory Group, a national hotel consulting firm that works with hotel owners, developers, and investors around the country

Canadian Consul General Edit | Remove

  What's ahead for Maine - Canada relations in 2014? From lumber to tar sands, tourism to security... how what happens in Canada affects Maine, and vice versa.

Host Jennifer Rooks was joined by 

Consul General Patrick Binns

The Business of Art

Aug 8, 2013

  The business of fine art in Maine. How difficult is it for gallery owners and artists in today's challenging economy? And how do the arts tie in with tourism and other economic activity.

Host Jennifer Rooks was joined by: 

Barbara Ernst Prey/Artist, Gallery Owner, Serves on the National Endowment for the Arts 

Caren-Marie Michel/Artist, Officer of Union of Maine Visual Artists and Sacarappa Arts Collective 

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