Mt Washington Valley businesses report a strong fall in 2017
Great News from Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce – October 26, 2017
Contact: Marti Mayne, PR Manager, 207-846-6331or PR@mtwashingtonvalley.org
MT WASHINGTON VALLEY BUSINESSES CREDIT WEATHER & INTERNATIONAL VISITORS FOR A STRONG FALL SEASON
North Conway, NH – Responding to a survey distributed to members by the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce, tourism businesses throughout the Valley reported a strong fall season, mainly crediting good weather resulting in an extended leaf peeping season, and an increase in international visitors. While rainy weather was a negative contributor to outdoor-oriented businesses over Columbus Day, 75-percent of survey respondents told the chamber that business was either “up substantially” (25% of respondents) or “up somewhat” (50% of respondents) for fall (September 15-October 24) 2017 compared to 2016.
Unlike the full fall season, those responding to the survey were not as positive about Columbus Day weekend, plagued by rainy weather and poor weather predictions for the weekend – both impacting tourism in the Valley, especially for outdoor attractions. While 41-percent of respondents said that business was either “up substantially” (16% of respondents) or “up somewhat” (25% of respondents), the largest majority of chamber members answered that business was “down somewhat (33% of respondents) this year over last year for the Columbus Day Weekend. However, even with a poor holiday weekend thrown in, Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce members were exceedingly positive about the fall season, with three out of four responding to the survey saying overall fall revenues were up this year over last year.
“We had the best September in 19 years,” Mary Ann Meyer, owner of the Mt Washington B&B in Shelburne, told the chamber. “I’m always full for Columbus Day, the increases in bookings came in September and after Columbus Day for my B&B,” she finished. Meyer credits the glorious weather and the new ATV Park in Jericho as contributors to the increases at her B&B this year.
Similarly, Steve Lambert, Innkeeper and Partner at the Inn at Thorn Hill and Spa in Jackson, told the chamber that he hadn’t seen so many visitors from Great Britain in years. Lambert credits the inn’s UK visitors’ four-day stays as a booster to his bookings which were “up substantially” over last year. In addition, he maintains that there’s plenty of pent-up demand for eco-vacations and Mt Washington Valley is a destination that travelers know they can count on for fabulous foliage.
Christopher Bellis, co-owner and innkeeper at Cranmore Inn in North Conway, similarly credits his increase in bookings this fall to welcoming more international visitors, plus a strong economy fueling traveler confidence.
Donna Pearce, owner of the Admiral Peary Inn B&B in Fryeburg, ME also experienced increases in bookings and revenues over last year for the fall season. A dog-friendly B&B, Pearce attributes the increases this year to welcoming both two and four-legged travelers, and like other respondents, says good weather and an increase in international visitors contributed to increases in bookings too.
Terry MacGillivray, owner of Northeast Snowmobile and ATV Rentals in both Fryeburg and Gorham, told the chamber that “the strong economy and great weather created an ideal business atmosphere in the Valley. We doubled the number of rentals over last season.” MacGillivray also attributes his revenues being “up substantially” to the addition of new side-by-sides including the RZR 900 S.
Lauren Hawkins, Story Land’s Director of Marketing, reported that the park’s revenues were up over last year in large part due to a mild and dry fall adding to attendance at the outdoor park. While rain had an impact on Columbus Day weekend, the park still finished ahead of last year for the full fall season.
Becca Deschenes, Director of Marketing for Cranmore Mountain Resort, told the chamber that last summer (2016) was the best summer the resort had since beginning summer operations, so they were happy to finish fall season approximately on par with that record season. A wet Columbus Day weekend caused the resort to minimize operations, which meant the resort finished about 10-percent behind the year before for that weekend, but they were still pleased with the rest of the fall season.
Susan Logan, Director of Marketing for Conway Scenic Railroad told the chamber. “Fall business is definitely up over last year. Overall, the weather – especially this month - has been spectacular, plus we extended our Notch Train schedule by a week. Last weekend, all of our trains to the “Pumpkin Patch” in Conway sold out on Saturday and Sunday with seven passenger cars on each run.” In addition, she too explained that International visitors are up significantly throughout the fall season, especially from Southeast Asia. “We’ve seen less Canadians, but visitors from elsewhere in the world have more than compensated for their reduced presence,” Logan added. In addition, motorcoach groups from throughout North America and Europe visited the Conway Scenic RR, adding to the increase, finished Logan.
Interestingly, Terry O’Brien, owner of the Red Parka Steakhouse and Pub in Glen, said that they welcomed more guests from Canada this year, along with an increase in international visitors too. She too agreed with other respondents that great weather throughout the fall season contributed to revenues being up over last year for the restaurant.
Visitors to Mt Washington Valley were also shopping. Laura Tuveson, Assistant Director of Marketing & Events at Settlers Green shared that she’s hearing from store managers that Canadians are returning to the Valley for outlet shopping this fall. “It appears that Canadians have more consumer confidence than we've seen in the past two or three years and are buying merchandise regardless of sale pricing and coupon deals,” Tuveson shared with the chamber. In addition, the new food options are attracting shoppers both during the daytime and evenings. Celebrating the Grand Opening of Settlers Green’s Streetside, shoppers flocked for events and fireworks. The week-long celebration culminated with a $15,000 donation for Mountain Top Music’s Majestic Theatre/Bolduc Block renovation project. Over Columbus Day weekend, weather drove visitors to shop both at Settlers Green and throughout the Valley’s independently owned stores.
For more information on visiting Mt Washington Valley, be sure to consult www.MtWashingtonValley.org or call 1-800-367-3364 (800-DO-SEE-NH). To learn more about planning vacations in New Hampshire, go to www.VisitNH.gov.
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Photos upon request.