Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start to summer — for New Hampshire’s Division of Travel and Tourism Development, at least. The DTTD just launched a television marketing campaign in Boston and New York featuring happy kids running in the woods and playing on the beach. This year, the tourism office predicts that visitors will spend $86 million in New Hampshire this weekend — an increase of five percent from last year.
Of course, the Director of the Institute for New Hampshire Studies at Plymouth state, Mark Okrant, made sure I understood that, really, Memorial Day is a spring holiday. So while the tourism industry’s performance this weekend will be a good indicator of how people are feeling about gas prices and the economy in general, it doesn’t really predict tourists’ behavior in the upcoming months.
Photographer Rick Libbey, who goes by “the moose man,” will be setting up shop in Meredith, NH this weekend at the 21st annual Memorial Day Weekend Craft Festival, where he has spent Memorial Day weekend for the last 5 years. Rick is banking on the same customers that the DTTD is targeting with their television ads in Boston and NYC. “I’m seeing that they’re spending,” Rick told me. After the recession hit, Rick restructured his business to keep prices down. He says that helped his business thrive despite the downturn. “When people see a nice piece of art at an aggressive bargain price, they’re gonna get it.”
His mantra is “think smart, play smart, and by all means have a smile on your face.”