Concord, N.H. – (Jan 25, 2022) – As the ongoing pandemic continues to impact tourism destinations worldwide, New Hampshire experienced a record-breaking summer and strong year overall according to New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism Development (DTTD)’s research.
“New Hampshire is the best place to live, work, raise a family – and also take a vacation,” said Governor Chris Sununu. “With this record-breaking summer tourist season, it’s clear that the Granite State is the number one destination for families looking to have fun, experience our beautiful state, and shop tax-free. Thanks to all the businesses who helped make it happen – next year’s going to be even better!”
In Summer 2021, the state welcomed 4.4 million visitors who spent more than $2.1 billion, breaking previous records set pre-pandemic in Summer 2019 and representing a 21% increase in visitors and a 5% increase in spending for the season. With winter and fall, Fiscal Year (FY) 2021, New Hampshire had a record number of visitors at 12.8 million spending over $5.5 billion, which equals $322.6 million in state tax revenue.
"My hats off to this state’s incredible tourism industry, going from recovery to record breaking in one season like this” said Taylor Caswell, commissioner of NH Department of Business and Economic Affairs. “Our Tourism team here at BEA kept a marketing presence in key states throughout the pandemic, so while other states retreated, we were poised to come out of the gate fast … and that worked. We have every reason to believe that people are coming back and loving what they can see and do here in New Hampshire for an experience of a lifetime.”
As a result of DTTD’s strategic marketing efforts across paid, owned and earned channels, FY2021 yielded one of the strongest returns on investment (ROI) measured. The total fiscal year ROI generated $197 in visitor spending for each $1 invested – and $12.08 in tax revenue for each $1 invested. Based on the average visitor spending on taxable categories in the state, FY21 marketing efforts generated more than $35.7 million in state and local taxes (+7% from 2019’s $33 million).
"While we still have a long road to recovery, these numbers are evidence that New Hampshire’s dining, lodging, and attractions are delivering popular options and memorable experiences at the very time consumers need it most,” said Mike Somers, CEO and President of the NH Lodging and Restaurant Association. “Were it not for workforce shortages and supply chain issues, New Hampshire's hospitality businesses would have prospered even more during this summer's record-breaking season.”
Here are more details and results by seasons:
Knowing that competition would be fierce for Summer 2021 tourists, New Hampshire made the largest marketing investment in the past four years at $2.4 million. The campaign resulted in a ROI for each $1 invested, $12.08 was returned in taxes. All seven regions of the state reported an increase in both visitor spending and overnight visits in Spring/Summer 2021, when compared to 2019.
Winter 2020/21 total visitor spending achieved $1 billion, nearly reaching the pre-pandemic Winter 2019/20 total of $1.2 billion, and total trips of 2.7 million was just shy of 2020’s 2.9 million.
Total spending in Fall 2020 returned $286 in visitor spending and $16 in tax revenue for each $1 invested, garnering the fiscal year’s strongest ROI.
Tourism leaders from around the state reflect on the last year:
Dartmouth Lake Sunapee Region
Tracy Hutchins, President, Upper Valley Business Alliance
“The data on increased visitation from the New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism clearly shows what we in the Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee Region know: this area is a terrific place to visit for a day or spend a vacation. This region may be one of New Hampshire's "quieter" regions, but if you are looking for great outdoor experiences, terrific food, and a huge variety of cultural experiences (such as home to the only professional opera company north of New York, live performances and theater, arts & crafts), then the DLSR is the place to be! From enjoying sunsets on Sunapee or Mascoma Lakes, to shopping in Hanover, and riding the 56-mile rail trail from Lebanon to Boscawen or watching the exciting mountain bike races at Arrowhead in Claremont, there is something for everyone.”
Great North Woods
Paula Kinney, Executive Director, Androscoggin Valley Chamber of Commerce
“The Androscoggin Valley reports a very busy summer tourism season in 2021. Many of the hospitality businesses reported a record-breaking season, with August especially busy. Despite all the changes and special accommodations these businesses had to face due to the pandemic, getting outside in the warmer months and enjoying all that our region has to offer was incredibly popular. The money that tourism brings into our area is extremely vital to our economy and small businesses. Businesses look forward to the busier times to help bring them through the “off season” when they rely solely on the locals supporting them.”
Amy Landers, Executive Director, Lakes Region Tourism Association
“The Lakes Region had a record-breaking summer and fall season this year. So far winter has been extremely strong as well. During Christmas vacation week activities such as tubing and skiing were sold out and occupancy was at a record high throughout the region. There is large demand for our New Hampshire product. Visitors are looking for outdoor recreation; scenic drives; natural beauty and the urban setting we offer. We’re already seeing strong bookings for 2022 and many properties are above last year’s figures for prebooking’s. Our advice is to plan and book early so you are not disappointed.”
Merrimack Valley Region
Tim Sink, President, Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce
“The record-breaking numbers for visitor spending throughout the State this spring and summer were very encouraging. Business and leisure traffic in the Merrimack Valley region was up substantially, and that is most welcome good news during these challenging times.”
Luca Paris, President & CEO, Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce
“As a business owner before taking over the Greater Keene and Peterborough Chamber in September of 2021, I noticed a real increase of people coming to our region. We did as much as we could to make our guests comfortable and folks from surrounding areas like Vermont and Massachusetts felt that was the case in the summer of 2020. AS the summer and fall of 2021 rolled in we received so many return guests to the area. The City of Keene felt the increase as did other border towns of the Monadnock Region. I have a saying I share with all new visitors to our region; you may find the Monadnock Region by accident, but I guarantee you will come back on purpose. I believe that was a large part of what happened to our region and the growth in visits!”
Ben VanCamp, Chief Collaborator & President, Chamber Collaborative of Greater Portsmouth
“It is encouraging to see the numbers reflect what we experienced in Portsmouth this past spring and summer. Everyone was ready to travel and smaller, walkable destinations like Portsmouth were desirable.”
White Mountains Region
Charyl Reardon, President, White Mountains Attractions Association
“After so much uncertainty in 2020 and even some still today, it is wonderful to see how strong Tourism has rebounded in the White Mountains welcoming several million visitors, millions in travel related spending, and support for so many households and nearly 15,000 tourism related careers. It goes without saying that Tourism brings people, and people bring Investment. Tourism is vital to the economic growth of not only the White Mountains region, but throughout New Hampshire. Just ask any of the restaurants, retail shops, campgrounds, and lodges. Or the banks, hospitals, and schools that serve the residents who depend on tourism.”
For the full report, visit www.visitnh.gov.
ABOUT THE NH DIVISION OF TRAVEL AND TOURISM DEVELOPMENT
The Division of Travel and Tourism Development, as part of the New Hampshire Department of Business and Economic Affairs, works with the state’s seven travel regions to increase visitation, travel and visitor expenditures in order to expand business activity and employment throughout the state. The division is responsible for domestic and international advertising and public relations, literature publication and distribution, www.visitnh.gov administration, grant administration and research to monitor and measure the impact of travel and tourism to the state. For more information about New Hampshire tourism, call 603-271-2665 or visit www.visitnh.gov.
Stay connected with New Hampshire tourism on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube, and be sure to follow the #LiveFreeNH tag to see what other people are saying about New Hampshire.
Communications Manager, Division of Travel and Tourism Development