HALLOWELL – The Maine Tourism Association recently polled its members about business over the holidays and what they are predicting for winter and spring business.

According to Tony Cameron, chief executive officer, 32 percent of members responding to the survey stated that business through December’s holiday season was better than a normal year like 2019, while 19 percent said business was normal. Some 26 percent said business was worse than that of past holiday periods. The number of respondents who said that COVID variants affected their holiday business was split almost evenly with 49 percent saying yes and 51 percent saying no.

Only 11 percent of respondents predicted that business for the remainder of the winter would be better than a pre-pandemic year like 2019 while most (38 percent) predicted it would be the same; and 30 percent think business will be worse than 2019.

Just over one-half of respondents said they are planning on reducing hours or days of operations over the next three months that they normally wouldn’t during this time period. Those doing so could choose more than one answer as to why they plan to make such reductions: staff shortages – 32 percent , less business due to COVID – 34 percent, and supply chain problems – 15 percent. 

Nearly half of respondents, 49 percent, are predicting that the spring season (April through June) will be the same as pre-pandemic year, while 23 percent say it will better; and 26 percent believe spring business will be worse.

“It’s great to see that tourism businesses had a good holiday season and are largely optimistic about the next few months. A strong winter and spring will provide a good foundation heading into the summer. As our businesses work hard to recover from 2020’s losses, the pandemic and workforce challenges are still hampering their path to full recovery, Cameron stated. “A successful and sustainable tourism industry benefits not just tourism businesses themselves but everyone in Maine due to the industry’s strong impact on Maine’s economy.”

The Maine Tourism Association, which celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2022, is the state’s largest advocate for all tourism-related businesses. Incorporated in 1922, MTA members include lodging, restaurants, camps, campgrounds, retail, outdoor recreation, guides, tour operators, amusements, and cultural and historical attractions. MTA also operates seven State Visitor Information Centers from Kittery to Calais, and annually produces the state’s official travel planner, Maine Invites You.