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Maine's tourism industry saw historic losses in 2020

Although significant, losses were smaller than what some expected.

BAR HARBOR, Maine — The tourism industry in Maine saw historic losses in 2020. Although significant, they remained smaller than what many people were expecting.

According to data from the Maine Office of Tourism, Maine had 12 million visitors last year. It was 27 percent fewer visitors compared to 2019, when the state had over 16 million tourists. 

The report goes on to say those visitors spent nearly $4.8 billion. This is also down 27 percent compared to 2019 when tourists spent over $6.5 billion. 

Maine restaurants and hotels felt the lack of tourism in 2020, but this summer is looking up. As COVID-19 safety restrictions relax and more people are comfortable traveling, reservations across Maine are on the rise at hotels and campgrounds. 

RELATED: Everything you need to know about COVID-19 and vaccine rollout in Maine

Alf Anderson, executive director of the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce, says some businesses in town are reporting their busiest April ever.

“There’s a lot of optimism for this coming season and this season has already kind of started," Anderson told NEWS CENTER Maine. "I’ve heard from other business owners. This year has been really terrific [for some of them] even compared to 2019 and earlier years. Bookings are really strong for lodging businesses and other activities."

Bar Harbor isn't alone. Laura Dolce with the Kennebunk-Kennebunkport-Arundel Chamber of Commerce said they’re seeing a lot of visitors from New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts.

The full 2020 report from the Maine Office of Tourism can be found here

RELATED: Visitors welcome to Maine without quarantine or proof of a negative COVID-19 test