DECD Commissioner George Gervais has appointed Steve Lyons as Director of the Maine Office of Tourism.

Steve has served as Acting Director since February 2017.  As Director of Marketing for the MOT since 2007, Steve has played a key role in the development of the state’s tourism visitation and market research programs, and the Office of Tourism’s research-based integrated marketing plan and campaign.Since the current campaign was launched in 2012, Maine has seen average annual increases in visitation of 6%, with an accompanying average annual growth of 5% in direct tourism expenditures.


MOT’s 2017 advertising campaign is now in market, with TV ads, print and digital advertising and paid social ads appearing in primary target markets in New England, New York, the Mid-Atlantic States, and eastern Canada.

Examples of the 2017 print advertising materials are posted online at The 2017 campaign’s “This is Me” television spots can be viewed on You Tube.


2016 research results and economic impact reports for Maine’s eight designated tourism regions are now available online at

Some regional variations:

  • Canadians are more likely than American travelers to visit the Maine Highlands and Aroostook County, two regions that offer convenient border crossings.
  • American travelers are more likely than Canadians to visit the Maine Beaches and the Mid-Coast region.
  • More than half of overnight visitors to the Downeast & Acadia region are from the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States.
  • The top visited region for business travelers is the Maine Highlands region.
  • First-time overnight visitors are more likely than repeat visitors to be visiting the Maine Highlands and the Lakes and Mountains regions.
  • Repeat visitors are more likely to be visiting the Maine Beaches and the Greater Portland/Casco Bay regions. 
  • Overnight visitors to Aroostook County and Kennebec Valley are younger, on average, than visitors to Maine overall.
  • Visitors to the Maine Lakes and Mountains and the Maine Beaches are more likely to be traveling with children.
  • Travel parties to the Greater Portland/Casco Bay region are less likely to include children than are travel parties to the State overall.

- The Maine Office of Tourism attended the 2017 Travel Alliance Partners Annual Conference in June, with 29 pre-scheduled appointments with tour operators to share new events, tour ideas and brainstorm product development.  The MOT was also the “Whoopie Pie” sponsor of this event.

- MOT was a sponsor in partnership with VisitPortland of the 2017 Connect New England conference hosted in Portland last month.  35 Conference, Event and Meeting Planners attended, and 38 Suppliers.  Visit Portland and the MOT held a welcome table at registration and during breaks. The Bangor CVB held appointments with 30 Planners.    


Amtrak Downeaster ridership increased by 8.8% to over 500,000 passengers during  fiscal year 2017. According to a report in MaineBiz, NNEPRA credits the surge in part to increased frequency to Freeport and Brunswick.

Medawisla Lodge and Cabins opened in June, the newest destination in AMC’s  Maine Wilderness Lodges network in the famed 100-Mile Wilderness. The lodge is located outside of Greenville, with facilities that include a new main lodge, 5 private hilltop cabins, 4 private waterfront cabins, and two bunk houses that can sleep 16 people each.

- The most recent figures reported by the Maine Revenue Service showed continued growth in both lodging and restaurant taxable sales in the first months of 2017 -

  • YTD through April 2017 restaurant taxable sale were up 1.87%.
  • YTD through April 2017 lodging taxable sales were up 10.59%.
  • YTD through April 2017, combined restaurant and lodging taxable sales were up 3.01%.

In 2016, direct tourism expenditures on lodging were estimated at over $1.8 billion, and direct tourism expenditures on food and restaurants were estimated to be over $1.5 billion, according to MOT research.

The Maine Restaurant Association projects $2.6 billion in total restaurant sales for 2017.


Recent results from MOT’s PR program include – a story in CondeNast Traveler on how ”Portland, Maine Keeps Getting Cooler” and inclusion in a UK Telegraph destinations article on “15 US Cities”; a Lonely Planet story about Moose Watching in the Moosehead Lake region; a feature in the Huffington Post on “Five New  or Renewed Maine Coast Hotels”; Reid State Park inclusion in Outside Magazine Go List for “6 Great East Coast Beaches”; a story about biking and paddling with kids in Acadia on; and blog postings featuring “11 Awesome Things to do in Maine on La Vie en Travel, an  Ott’s World post of  “4 Fun Things to do on the Water”, and Get Away Maven features on Portland, Higgins Beach, and Migis Lodge on Sebago Lake.


Following a record-breaking year for leisure travel in 2016, vacation spending during the year ahead will be flat, according to a Travel Pulse report on  MMGY Global’s just released Portrait of American Travelers survey.

Among the study’s other findings:

  • Millennial families will travel more and spend more than all other generations.
  • A substantially greater share of American vacation travel is in domestic, rather than international, destinations compared to last year. Domestic vacations now make up 85 percent of total vacations, up seven points from last year.
  • Search engine results are the most considered source throughout the different stages of travel planning, while Google is now the top travel site.

The U.S. Travel Association’s Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations (ESTO) is the only national forum where tourism destination professionals at the state, regional and local level get critical tools, tips and information to help them better market and grow their destinations.

When: August 26-29

Where: Minneapolis, MN

Registration and Agenda

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