Everybody is sick of staying home and N.H. tourism has boomed as a result

  • Foliage scenes at Noone Falls in Peterborough last fall. Ben Conant / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript file

  • Cars drive into the White Mountain National Forest as autumn leaves begin to change colors in Gorham, N.H. Sunday Oct. 6, 2013. Some privately run campgrounds in New Hampshire’s White Mountains National Forest will be forced to close ahead of the lucrative Columbus Day weekend because of the federal government shutdown, according to the U.S. Forest Service. (AP Photo/Jim Cole) Jim Cole

Monitor staff
Published: 5/18/2022 2:30:36 PM

Pent-up demand for travel after pandemic lockdowns continues to bring visitors to New Hampshire, with the state reporting that the fall 2021 tourism season set new records for visits and spending, following an equally vigorous summer.

According to the New Hampshire Department of Travel and Tourism, 4.3 million visitors came to the state last fall, an increase of 38% over the fall of 2019, the previous record year. They spent nearly $2 billion in the state, an increase of 65% from 2019.

Combining summer, fall and winter of 2021, New Hampshire saw a 43% increase in visitation and a 35% increase in spending above pre-pandemic levels.

Travel has increased in virtually all of the U.S. over the past year, a trend that looks likely to continue despite high gasoline prices.

The American Automobile Association says 2022 travel bookings are off to a much stronger start than at this time last year, while the CEO of Expedia Group predicts this summer will be “the busiest travel season ever.”

All parts of New Hampshire reported strong increases in visitors last year including the Merrimack Valley Region running up the center of the state. That region reported a 49% increase in spending and a 32.2% increase in overnight visitors from 2020, creating the equivalent of $577.2 million in spending and 990,000 visitors, numbers that were said to be “significantly higher than any previous year in over a decade.”

Travel and Tourism officials said New Hampshire has expanded its advertising beyond the traditional markets of New England and New York to include destinations within a 600-mile radius.

“The top activities by visitors during fall of 2021 include scenic drives, dining, shopping, visiting State Parks, hiking, wildlife watching and visiting breweries,” the department said in a release.


David Brooks bio photo

David Brooks is a reporter and the writer of the sci/tech column Granite Geek and blog granitegeek.org, as well as moderator of Science Cafe Concord events. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in mathematics he became a newspaperman, working in Virginia and Tennessee before spending 28 years at the Nashua Telegraph . He joined the Monitor in 2015.



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