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Mt. Washington Valley Hospitality Hopeful for Fall
Published Monday, September 11, 2017

While summer doesn’t end until later in September, the tourism calendar dictates that peak summer vacation period generally comes to an end with Labor Day. In fact, as students return to school earlier and earlier, for some towns summer tourism ended in August with the first day of school. But the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce is reporting that, despite a rainy beginning, most area lodging and attractions posted a strong summer. With weather and other tourism indicators pointing to a robust fall foliage season, the Mt Washington Valley Chamber is now forecasting summer tourism levels to continue through fall.

Conrad Klefos, general manager of the Royalty Inn in Gorham, says he's had an excellent summer. “Last year we had a terrible first six months including the month of June,” Klefos says. “This June was up in revenue by 24 percent. July and August of 2016 were the biggest in Royalty Inn's history and we will beat both this summer.” He also noted an increase of Canadian visitors over the summer, and credits the growing popularity of ATV recreation in the area as a draw.
Similarly, Mary Ann Meyer of the Mt. Washington B&B in Shelburne, reported more summer reservations than in 2016. She says both single-night bookings and four-to-five day stays were up for the summer and bookings are continuing right into mid-September.
Thomas Prindle, marketing director of Purity Spring Resort, says they had a very busy summer, posting about an 11 percent increase in sales over last summer. While repeat business is the norm, Prindle says increased marketing and advertising in Southern NH, resulted in an increase in first-time visitors. Purity Spring Resort also reports strong wedding and group business with current numbers pacing ahead of last year.
While it’s difficult to exceed sold-out summers, Prindle says Danforth Bay Camping & RV Resort and The Bluffs RV Resort also had strong summer numbers. “With many seasonal rentals and a set capacity of general sites available often sold out well in advance of summer ,or booked the prior summer as guests check-out, this campground and RV Park operates at 100 percent capacity for much of the summer and continued to do so this year.”

Yet, some of the smaller B&Bs and lodging properties, which asked to remain unnamed, did not report in with such optimism, lamenting that summer business was down due entirely to the proliferation of Airbnb and short-term vacation rental opportunities in the Valley. These new players to the lodging field have increased competition in an already crowded lodging field, say some innkeepers.
Greg Fisher, VP of marketing for Peak Resorts, says summer sales at both Attitash Mountain Resort and Wildcat Mountain were up over last year. “After a slow start, August has been exceptional,” he says, adding many families are enjoying the water parks at Attitash and Attitash’s ZipTour. “Wildcat has seen an even bigger increase in visits year over year,” Fisher adds, attributing this increase to the new Wildcat Gondola ride.  
Liz York at Black Mountain also told the chamber that sales were ahead of 2016 and attributes that to an increase in Canadian visitors.
Prindle adds that Camp Tohkomeupog, the resort’s summer boy’s camp, also experienced a strong summer with many of the age groups full for the weeks available and a full Family Camp week in the late summer. In a trend that bodes well for 2018, Prindle says, “Parents are reserving camp space earlier than in years past and next year's Family Camp is already 100 percent booked.”
According to Yankee Magazine, a mild summer and long-term weather forecasts indicate NH should be in for a colorful fall. Per a press release from White Mountain Attractions, bookings in the White Mountains are up. Fall foliage season is among the busiest for Mt Washington Valley businesses, especially from mid-September to mid-October. The Chamber  advises visitors hoping to catch a glimpse of this year’s brilliant foliage to book now. Leaf peeping draws visitors from throughout the world to the Mt. Washington Valley, which is surrounded by 880,000 acres of White Mountain National Forest. 

Visit www.MtWashingtonValley.org to plan your fall foliage getaway or call 1-800-DO-SEE-NH (800-367-3364) for up-to-date availability at lodging along with scenic drives and foliage outlooks and additional area information.  To learn more about a fall getaway to New Hampshire, go to www.VisitNH.gov.

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