BAR HARBOR, Maine (AP) — It could be the anthem for Maine tourism officials this summer: Let the sun shine.
This spring — unlike last year’s — has been unusually warm and dry. Temperatures also have been higher than normal. Tourism-related businesses hope the trend continues so that more visitors will come to the state than in 2009.
Many seasonal businesses already have opened for the year, with weekend visitors and others who want to avoid the summer crowds to Maine’s beaches, parks, lakes and villages.
Greg Dugal of the Maine Innkeepers Association says members are hoping for a better year. He tells the Bangor Daily News that overall bookings were down about 7 percent last year. That’s the first year in decades that there was a decrease in the state.
“There was a fair amount of pain to go around,” Dugal said.
Vaughn Stinson of the Maine Tourism Association blamed last year’s numbers on “12 weeks of rotten weather” starting in midsummer.
Some campgrounds have taken advantage of the good weather this year — and the 75th anniversary of Maine’s state park system — and opened early, said Jeanne Curran, spokeswoman for the Maine Department of Conservation. They include Bradbury Mountain, Camden Hills, Cobscook Bay, Lake St. George and Sebago Lake, she said.
Eben Salvatore, director of local operations for Ocean Properties on Mount Desert Island, said the lodging company has opened up its outdoor pools and eating areas earlier than usual. All of its Bar Harbor hotels were booked for Saturday.
“The heat in the cities is always what gets us a lot of business,” Salvatore said. “The way I see it, Mother Nature owes us one for last year. Last year was a train wreck.”