Maine has launched a new ad campaign, designed to convince those who have been here before that there's more to do than eat lobster rolls and look at lighthouses.
Themed "There's More to Maine," online, print and TV ads target New York, Boston, and Canada -- long the state's key markets. And the effort is aimed at letting potential visitors know the state has plenty of additional recreation opportunities. "Typically, Maine's competition is the other New England states," says a spokesperson.
And while the $900,000 campaign is studded with blueberries, lighthouses, lobsters, puffins and the odd moose -- coastal sights Maine tourists already love -- they also feature plenty of views of interior Maine, including Mt. Katahdin in Baxter State Park, fly-fishing, whitewater rafting, and mountain golf courses, as well as plenty of close-ups of the state's best restaurants and the occasional flash of urban street scenes.
So far, the region's tourism outlook is good. Last summer, when people were generally panicking about high gas prices, Maine welcomed 30 million day trips in the May-through-September season -- up about 1% -- and 10 million overnight visits. Gas prices are lower this year, and many experts are forecasting small gains in U.S. travel. "And there's no indication, at this point, to think that Canadian visits won't be at least as strong as they were last year," she says.
While tourism employs some 140,000 of the state's 1.2 million permanent residents, it generates $10 billion in direct and indirect economic impact for the state each year, according to state officials.
Ads created by Portland's Swardlick Marketing Group kicked off this month, including a freestanding insert in Maine newspapers, hoping to promote "staycations" for Mainers. Some ads are also running internationally, aimed especially at France, Germany and the U.K.