MAINE, USA — Memorial Day weekend, considered by many to be the “unofficial start to summer,” kicked off Maine’s tourism season. Businesses across the state were hopeful for a rebound from last year’s coronavirus-induced slump. Well, the numbers are in.
Maine Department of Transportation (DOT) spokesperson Paul Merrill told NEWS CENTER Maine between Friday and Monday, 330,231 vehicles crossed the Piscataqua River Bridge on Interstate 95 between New Hampshire and Kittery—a 68-percent increase from Memorial Day weekend last year.
The numbers are 14 percent lower than 2019’s holiday weekend, however.
The Maine Tourism Association said businesses experienced a 30-percent decrease in tourism revenue last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We're getting back on track," Tony Cameron, CEO of the Maine Tourism Association, said.
The travel increase was evident Monday on I-95, as heavy traffic was backed up for more than 25 miles between Kennebunk and the New Hampshire state line.
Cameron added that it's impossible to make up for last summer, but many businesses are hoping to at least be on par with the summer of 2019, and to provide visitors with a fun and safe vacation.
"I'm looking forward to a great summer and if people haven't planned their vacation yet now's the time to do it because things are booking up fast," he said.