Department of Economic and Community Development
AUGUSTA – Maine will welcome over 400 travel and tourism businesses, destination marketing organizations, and tour operators from eight different countries during the Discover New England Tourism Summit to be held this month in Portland, April 27 – 29.
The six New England states take turns hosting the conference, and this year it is Maine’s turn to showcase the state as a premiere New England destination.
“The Discover New England Summit is an opportunity for the Maine tourism industry to do business in one-on-one meetings with tour operators who serve key overseas markets,” said Maine Office of Tourism Director Carolann Ouellette. “International travel is big business, bringing $180.7 billion in direct spending to the US economy in 2013, and we want to bring more of those dollars here to Maine.”
Maine saw a significant increase in the number of overseas visitors and their length of stay between 2011 and 2012, which brought approximately $124 million in direct spending to the state’s economy in 2012 compared to $68 million in 2011, according to a report by Travel Market Insights.
Discover New England (DNE) is the official destination marketing organization for the New England region in targeted overseas markets, and the annual Discover New England Tourism Summit and International Marketplace is the only New England travel trade event where New England hospitality businesses are able to meet directly with international tour operators and receptive operators who arrange trips for tens of thousands of travelers annually.
The Maine Office of Tourism is collaborating with DNE, the Greater Portland CVB, and numerous Maine businesses to give attending tour operators and suppliers a taste of Maine food, culture, sightseeing and outdoor adventure in the Portland area and beyond during the three-day conference.
Individual appointments are pre-scheduled between the tour operators and Maine and other New England suppliers to help establish relationships and initiate contracts with product managers focused on developing itineraries and planning trips for both group tours and foreign independent travelers (FIT).
Post-conference familiarization tours to Maine destinations will take place during the following week. Tour groups from Italy, France, the UK, Germany, Japan, China and The Netherlands will explore Maine attractions along the coast from Kittery to Bar Harbor, and inland to Bethel and the Maine Lakes and Mountains region, along with other destinations in New England.
DNE is a nonprofit cooperative marketing entity funded by the participating states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. DNE’s primary mission is to increase tourism to the New England region from overseas markets with a particular focus on the core markets of the United Kingdom/Ireland, Germany and Japan.