AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Maine’s tourist industry hit what may have been a new high last year.

Tourist business increased 5.8 percent from 2015, and direct revenues from tourism increased by 6.1 percent over the same period, totaling just under $6 billion for 2016.

Office of Tourism officials said the total economic impact of tourism reached $9 billion. Industry leaders told NEWS CENTER that prospects look good for another strong year in 2017.

That news was given Wednesday at the annual Maine Tourism Conference, organized by the Maine Office of Tourism, which is a state agency. They also announced the state had more than 35 million "visits," defined as overnight trips to motels and restaurants or day trips from out of state.

The tourism office also showed off a new marketing campaign that will promote Maine in eastern Canada, New England and the mid-Atlantic states. The $5 million advertising effort will promote Maine as an experience, not just a destination, and use the tag line, "This is ME" in the advertising.

Tourism leaders said it would include media advertising in print, broadcast, online and social media. And Maine will also be promoted in a new way: using large signs in train stations and on delivery trucks in such markets as Baltimore, Charlotte, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia.

Those messages, the tourism office said, should reach close to 80 percent of the "target audience" in those areas.