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The Temperamental Economics Of Tourism

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Tourism is New Hampshire’s second-largest industry–if you combine the state’s smart manufacturing and high technology sectors (SMHT).  It’s also a clear point of intersection between government and industry, with the state maintaining a number of parks, campgrounds, and historical sites, and nearby businesses in turn catering to visitors’ needs.  Given this close relationship, the state provides funding to market New Hampshire to potential tourists.  Some of the heaviest marketing efforts are concentrated in Boston, Philadelphia and New York City.  Canadian tourists, especially Quebeçois, also make up a sizable number of New Hampshire’s visitors.

Darren McCollester / Getty Images

From the business perspective, “tourism” is a broad term.  It encompasses hotels, resorts, restaurants, retail, and arts and entertainment, among other things.  So while statewide reports may indicate overall restaurant or retail sales are up or down, the story might be very different in New Hampshire’s main tourism communities.  For these places, weather, gas prices, currency exchange rates, and whether they draw visitors for outdoor activities, site-seeing, or shopping could all be factors.

Despite the temperamental nature of the tourism industry, the Institute for New Hampshire Studies found that in FY 2010, for every marketing dollar spent by the state’s Division of Travel and Tourism Development, local governments saw a return of $7.99.

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