Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Impacts of COVID-19 on Coastal Tourism in Maine: Evidence from Bar Harbor

Gabe, Todd (2021): Impacts of COVID-19 on Coastal Tourism in Maine: Evidence from Bar Harbor.

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Abstract

This paper examines the effects of COVID-19 on coastal tourism in Bar Harbor, Maine, which was among the hardest hit regions statewide. The impacts of COVID-19 on Bar Harbor’s restaurant sector are separated into those related to the reduction in overnight tourists, the decrease in the recreational activities of day visitors and local residents (e.g., Acadia National Park users), the cancellation of cruise ship visits, and the nationwide decline in hospitality sales due to the COVID-19 shutdown. In July, which is during Bar Harbor’s peak tourist season, 52 percent of the area’s 2019 to 2020 year-over-year reduction in restaurant sales is due to the decrease in overnight visitors. In October, the decrease in overnight visitors explains only about 8 percent of the 2019 to 2020 year-over-year loss of restaurant sales, while the cancellation of cruise ships accounted for 47 percent of the impact on restaurant sales during this peak month for ships. Across all of 2020, Bar Harbor’s loss of overnight visitors explains 40 percent of the area’s reduction in restaurant sales, 35 percent of the decline is due to the nationwide impact of the pandemic and shutdown, 14 percent is related to the decrease in the recreational activities of day visitors and local residents, and the cancellation of cruise ships explains 11 percent of Bar Harbor’s loss of restaurant sales between 2019 and 2020. Knowing more about the channels by which COVID-19 impacted hospitality in Bar Harbor can help state and local officials with recovery efforts and support tourism along the Maine coast.

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