AP reported Friday that leaf peeping bus tours in New Hampshire’s popular White Mountain region and other parts of New England are down this fall.
New Hampshire’s foliage season is the second most popular and lucrative time for tourism in the state, according to the New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism Development.
The state expects to take in $1 billion in tourist revenue this fall–a three percent increase from last year.
Tai Freleigh, a spokesman for the state’s tourism office, said he hadn’t heard from his sources that business is down. In fact he said some attractions in the White Mountains report having a “record breaking” fall season.
But Jayne O’Connor of White Mountain Attractions Association told StateImpact that domestic bus tours are down this year by 15 percent, and many tours have been cancelled.
She said the cancelled tours were booked last summer–when Congress was battling over the debt ceiling.
“Consumer confidence was down. People were worried about their discretionary income,” she said. “What they do in Washington has an impact on tourism up here and everywhere.”
We asked O’Connor why the state tourism folks said they’ve heard that some leaf peeping locations were reporting a booming season.
“They’ve made up the difference with international tours,” she said. “We also had time to fill those hotel rooms and spots left vacant by the cancelled tours. It’s a very popular time of year.”
The state is predicting 7.8 million visitors will come to check out New Hampshire’s fall foliage by the time the season ends in November.