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Tourism chief breaks down visitor numbers, spending

New Hampshire Union Leader

May 15. 2018 9:07PM

Victoria Cimino, director of the NH Division of Travel and Tourism Development (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER FILE)

CONCORD — The state spent $3 million last year in advertising, and according to surveys, received $334 million from tourists who hadn’t initially contemplated a visit, the state vacations chief said Tuesday.

“They hadn’t considered New Hampshire until they saw our advertising, and then chose to visit New Hampshire,” Victoria Cimino, director of the state Division of Travel and Tourism Development, said in an interview.

Cimino also highlighted a new tourism report before nearly 200 people at the Governor’s Annual Conference on Tourism at the Grappone Center.

Different generations preferred different seasons to visit, according to the report.

Gen-Xers, those age 35 and 54, made up 55 percent of all winter tourists but only 36 percent of all summer tourists.

Baby-boomers, age 55 and up, were more likely to visit in the summer, when they made up 35 percent of all summer visitors compared to only 22 percent of all winter visitors.

Millennials, those age 24 to 34, liked fall the best. Spring visitors weren’t analyzed.

Overall, the state hosted 2.23 million visitor trips totaling $5.5 billion in spending in 2017. They generated $269 million in tax revenues and produced 48,000 jobs, according to the report.

“We’re able to really gain some of those insights,” Cimino said from information collected from visitors and people looking at the state’s website regarding tourism.

“First, we know what the consumer perceptions are of New Hampshire and we make that information available to the tourism industry because really that data is what it driving our marketing,” Cimino said.

The state promotes to those groups that currently visit plus reaches out to potential new ones, she said.

During last fall’s marketing campaign, Cimino’s office knew more people travel here during the fall from further away than during other seasons.

Based on visits to the state website, “we could see where people live,” Cimino said. People from California and Texas “go to our pages quite a bit,” so social media targeted folks in those areas.

Jared Maraio, a marketing consultant for the Mount Washington Cruises, said marketing is as “much a data game as it is a creative game.”

Maraio is interested in looking at state tourism demographics through an interactive online research tool.

Travel story and Facebook posts influence where people visit, according to keynote speaker Jonathan Tourtellot from the Destination Stewardship Center.

“People believe what other people say,” he said. “Word of mouth, that’s what counts.”

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