More than half of Maine’s total lodging sales have consistently come in June, July and August, while the “shoulder season” months of May, September and October have consistently generated only 25-28% of Maine’s annual lodging sales.
That’s according to a new report, “The High Seasonality of Tourism in Maine,” released Wednesday by the Maine Development Foundation and University of Maine’s School of Economics. It uses data on taxable lodging sales to examine the seasonal role of Maine’s tourism, which is a large contributor to the state’s economy It assumes that lodging sales are a reasonable proxy for the number of tourists visiting Maine.
The report noted that bolstering the shoulder season could increase tourism without overtaxing the already-congested summer months.
The key trends noted in the report are expected. Summer accounts for the lion’s share of lodging sales in the state. The shoulder season contributes about one-quarter of annual lodging sales, but this share has remained consistent over time. Additionally, Maine has a few regions — notably those with large ski resorts — that have a sizable share of their overnight visitors during the winter, but most of the largest tourism destinations experience their peak seasons during the summer.
Maine’s largest cities — Bangor and Portland — have a little more even distribution of overnight visitors throughout the year, mainly because they house vacationers as well as business and other travelers.