According to a new survey by the Maine Tourism Association, Maine tourism experts anticipate that the spring and summer seasons will be better than in pre-pandemic years though hiring struggles and rising gas prices could pose challenges.
As per a report, of the group members responding to the survey, 52% stated that they believe spring business running from April through June will be better than a normal year like 2019. That was up from a similar survey released in January when only 23% thought the spring would be better than 2019.
According to the latest survey, 29% of respondents said that business would normalize, while only 18% believe the business would be worse.
The trade group said around 60% believe this summer’s season is better than a pre-pandemic one, while 26% say it will be the same. Only 12% believe summer business will be worse than in 2019.
The Maine Tourism Association represents about 1,500 members. The survey was based on the views of nearly 150 respondents all over the state, including the majority from the beaches, the midcoast and islands, Down East, and Acadia, the trade group said.
“I am very pleased to see that tourism businesses are predicting such a strong spring and summer season. I think all our members believe the demand is there from visitors. The challenge is in meeting that demand,” said Maine Tourism Association CEO, Tony Cameron.
“There will be visitor money left on the table if our businesses can’t meet the demand due to staff and supply shortfalls. The optimism from our members that these shortfalls will have less of an impact than they were predicting just a few months ago is very encouraging.”
Only 26% of respondents stated that they planned to cut the number of hours or days they operate from the regular hours they offer during spring. This is a decrease from more than 50% of those who had planned cuts in January when they were surveyed.
Of those who plan to reduce operation, the reasons included staff shortage, predictions of less business due to high gas prices, less business predicted due to COVID, and supply chain issues.
Members were also asked about their thoughts on hiring staff, 43% thought it would be the same as last year, while 37% thought it would be more difficult. Only 9% thought it would be easier than last year.
The tourism association, founded in 1922, represents members from sectors including lodging, restaurants, camps, campgrounds, retail, outdoor recreation, guides, tour operators, amusements, transportation, and cultural and historical attractions.
This story originally appeared on Maine Biz.