Pent-up travel demand after the pandemic shutdowns continues to draw visitors to New Hampshire, with the state reporting that the 2021 fall tourist season set new records for visits and spending, following an equally strong summer.
According to the New Hampshire Department of Travel and Tourism, 4.3 million visitors came to the state last fall, a 38% increase from fall 2019, the previous peak year. They spent nearly $2 billion in the state, a 65% increase from 2019.
Combining summer, fall and winter 2021, New Hampshire saw a 43% increase in visitation and a 35% increase in spending over pre-pandemic levels.
Travel has increased in virtually all of the United States over the past year, a trend that is expected to continue despite high gasoline prices.
The American Automobile Association says travel bookings for 2022 are off to a much stronger start than this time last year, while the CEO of Expedia Group predicts this summer will be “the hottest travel season busiest ever”.
All areas of New Hampshire reported big increases in visitors last year, including the Merrimack Valley region that runs along the center of the state. This region saw a 49% increase in spending and a 32.2% increase in overnight visitors compared to 2020, creating the equivalent of $577.2 million in spending and 990,000 visitors, figures which would be “significantly higher than any previous year in over a decade. ”
Travel and tourism officials said New Hampshire has expanded its advertising beyond traditional New England and New York markets to include destinations within 600 miles.
“Top visitor activities in fall 2021 include scenic drives, dining, shopping, visiting state parks, hiking, viewing wildlife and visiting breweries,” the department said. in a press release.