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Columbus Day weekend could set tourism records

CONCORD — Columbus Day weekend, which is also Canada&#';s Thanksgiving, could set records for visitors and visitor spending, state officials said Wednesday.

A report by the Institute for NH Studies, prepared on behalf of the state, predicts 615,000 visitors will visit and spend $88 million. That would be an increase of 4 percent from last year.

&#';Canadians will be visiting in higher numbers, continuing the trend we saw this summer due to lower gas prices, tax-free shopping and new higher duty free limits,&#'; said Lori Harnois, director of the New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism.

Since 1957, Canada has celebrated its Thanksgiving Day on the second Monday in October. It coincides with Columbus Day and also, peak foliage in most of New Hampshire.

&#';The Columbus Day weekend is our third-busiest holiday weekend of the year after the Fourth of July and Labor Day,&#'; Harnois said.

Visitors to New Hampshire for the holiday weekend can track the fall colors with weekly foliage reports sent to the website and iPhone and Android apps. Go to