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April's solar eclipse greatly boosted tourism and visitor spending in Maine

Tanmoy Sarkar sets up his camera to capture the eclipse on the shore of Moosehead Lake on Monday April 8, 2024. He drove from Maryland to see the eclipse in Greenville, Maine.
Esta Pratt-Kielley
/
Maine Public
Tanmoy Sarkar sets up his camera to capture the eclipse on the shore of Moosehead Lake on Monday April 8, 2024. He drove from Maryland to see the eclipse in Greenville, Maine.

Spending by tourists in Maine increased by 23.4% during the solar eclipse in April, according to findings released by the Maine Office of Tourism on Tuesday evening.

Compared to 2023, hotel occupancy throughout the state went up by 47% while short-term rentals increased by 27%. Visitor spending at bars and other nightlife businesses increased by 79%, while gas stations and recreational businesses across the state saw a 45% increase.

Over five days this spring, visitors flocked throughout the state to get stationed for the solar eclipse. Aroostook County saw its visitor numbers rise by 40 percent, while western Maine saw a 25% increase. The largest share of out-of-state visitors came from Boston and New York. The Office of Tourism also noted a significant increase in visitors from Hartford, Connecticut; Providence, Rhode Island; and Burlington, Vermont.

Carolann Ouelette, the director of the Maine Office of Outdoor Recreation, said the eclipse provided a unique opportunity to attract visitors into the state during a traditionally slow time of the year.

“The welcome that visitors received and their introduction to more of Maine’s rich natural beauty supported Maine’s growing reputation as a travel destination," said Ouellette in the release. "Their appreciation is evident in the positive feedback we heard from communities about how respectful eclipse travelers were during their visit.”

The results were compiled by data firm Zartico by analyzing anonymized spending and geolocation data.

Nick Song is Maine Public's inaugural Emerging Voices Fellowship Reporter.


Originally from Southern California, Nick got his start in radio when he served as the programming director for his high school's radio station. He graduated with a degree in Journalism and History from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University -- where he was Co-News Director for WNUR 89.3 FM, the campus station.
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