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Sunday, June 22, 2014

With summer here, tourism dollars flow into the state – and, surprisingly – Nashua

With the long, sunny days of summer arriving faster than the motorcycles cruising to Laconia’s bike week, New Hampshire is gearing up for its hottest tourist season of the year.

June through August is the state’s most popular tourist season, accounting for more than 40 percent of annual visitation to the Granite State. ...

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With the long, sunny days of summer arriving faster than the motorcycles cruising to Laconia’s bike week, New Hampshire is gearing up for its hottest tourist season of the year.

June through August is the state’s most popular tourist season, accounting for more than 40 percent of annual visitation to the Granite State.

This summer, the New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism Development anticipates one of the busiest summers in the last few years, with an expected 14.9 million visitors predicted to spend around $1.96 billion.

How much of that comes to Greater Nashua?

That’s hard to say, but the rooms and meals tax, paid for hotel rooms and at restaurants and for other prepared foods, is often used as a proxy for tourist spending.

A study conducted by the Institute for New Hampshire Studies in 2013 found that Hillsborough County received 17 percent of all room and meals taxes last summer – about $111 million.

By contrast, Coos County in the iconic North Country saw only 4 percent of summer 2013’s room and meals sales.

But the big winner for summer tourism is the Seacoast, which took in $187 million in room and meals taxes last summer, amounting to 29 percent of the state’s total.

While the 2013 study shows a good slice of revenue from visitors going to the Nashua area and a predicted rise in travelers to New Hampshire for summer 2014, it’s possible that Hillsborough County will collect an even larger portion of revenue from tourists this year.

And even though Nashua isn’t known to have a lot of tourist destinations, one thing it has a lot of is hotel rooms.

In all, Nashua has about 1,500 hotel rooms.

All communities want to capture their share of visitors, since tourists and
travelers spend about $81 million in the state each day.

What’s more, summer is New Hampshire’s busiest travel season, with June, July and August accounting for more than 40 percent of visitation and spending on an annual basis, according to state officials.

Most of the visitors for the summer season will be from New England, the Middle Atlantic states and eastern Canada. But the number of visitors from Europe is likely to increase by 3 percent compared with 2013, with UK, French and German travel to New Hampshire expected to improve, according to state officials

Some factors that influence summer tourism are the value of the Canadian dollar, gasoline prices, and of course, the weather, state officials say.