Tourism Articles in Maine Policy Review


Reshaping Maine Woods Destinations for Twenty-First-Century Tourists

David J. Vail, Donna Moreland, Mike Wilson

Maine Policy Review 28(1): 28-37

Maine’s rim counties—here called the Maine Woods region—suffer from chronic economic and community distress, marked by declines in several resource-based industries, an ongoing youth exodus, and a rapidly aging population. Nonetheless, many encouraging new ventures are helping to revitalize the Maine Woods economy and communities, and tourism and recreation should play a central role in these efforts. This article focuses on initiatives launched through a partnership between the 16-member Maine Woods Consortium and the Maine Office of Tourism designed to reinvigorate Maine Woods’ recreation and hospitality offerings and to enrich amenities in the region’s gateway communities.


Injecting New Workforce Leaders in Tourism, Hospitality and Environmental Science: A Community-Engaged Learning and Immersion Class

Tracy S. Michaud, Robert M. Sanford

Maine Policy Review 27(1): 79-85

Tourism, especially nature-based tourism, is a major and growing industry in Maine. Therefore, it is important that colleges and universities graduate leaders into the Maine workforce with specific knowledge of the tourism and hospitality industry and with a connection to the environment in which it is flourishing. To graduate these potential leaders, schools must do a better job at retaining and graduating students from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. Community-engaged learning, including immersion classes, are a key strategy to increase student persistence in some programs at the University of Southern Maine (USM). Two academic units at USM, the Program in Tourism and Hospitality and the Department of Environmental Science and Policy, collaborate in delivering a colocated intensive immersion class for all new majors. This engagement early in their college career fosters a sense of community among the students and with the industry in which they will work.


The Proposed Park in Maine’s North Woods: Preferences of Out-of-State Visitors

Ryunosuke Matsuura, Sahan T. Dissanayake, Andrew G. Meyer

Maine Policy Review 25(1) : 54-62

The proposal to create a new national park and national recreation area in northern Maine has met with much support and also much opposition from within Maine. Over 90 percent of overnight visitors to Maine recreation sites come from out of state but currently there is no information about out-of-state visitors’ preferences for the proposed park. Our research contributes to filling this information gap by identifying preferences and willingness to pay (WTP) for the proposed park from survey respondents from seven neighboring states. A majority of the 532 respondents stated that they would be likely to visit the new park, though only 22 percent had previously visited Acadia National Park. We further found that allowing fishing and emphasizing job creation increases respondents’ WTP for the proposed park, while allowing hunting access decreases the overall respondents’ WTP. However, it is important to note that those who engage in hunting and in snowmobiling have a higher WTP/support for a park that allows hunting and snowmobiling. These results support the proposal to create both a national park and a national recreation area.


The Other Maine Guides: How the Humanities Create Sense of Place and Enrich Tourism

Authors: Ettenger, Kreg

Maine Policy Review 24(1): 73-79

When we speak of a “sense of place,” we often mean how local residents see their environment and their place within it. But for many visitors, their sense of place about the sites they visit has more to do with what they have read or seen or heard than what they have actually experienced. Cultural tourists in particular are often well versed in the literature, art, music, and other creative works produced about, in, or by people who are from the places they choose to visit. This sense of place drives their travel choices and feeds their expectations of what they will see and experience on their travels. In this article Kreg Ettenger describes some of the ways in which tourism could be better served through closer ties with the humanities, including products that could be developed to reflect the goals of the “purposeful cultural tourist.” He also describes the value of humanities-based tourism education for residents of Maine, including those in the tourism industry.


Consumer Support for a Maine Woods Tourism Quality Label

Authors:    Vail, David; Daniel, Harold

Maine Policy Review 21(2): 68-80

David Vail and Harold Daniel report findings of a survey of North American vacationers. The survey assessed the strength of interest in quality-labeled Maine vacation experiences and tested consumer willingness to pay a price premium for certified tour “products.” The survey revealed that nearly four out of ten leisure travelers are responsive to the benefits promised by quality-labeled vacation experiences. The authors also describe steps communities, businesses, and state tourism leaders can take toward developing a Maine Woods quality label.


Growing Maine’s Foodscape, Growing Maine’s Future

Authors:    Lindenfeld, Laura; Silka, Linda

Maine Policy Review 20(1): 48-52

Maine is experiencing a culinary renaissance. Creativity and entrepreneurship linked with culture and tradition are making Maine a food destination and a unique “foodscape.” Laura Lindenfeld and Linda Silka explore this convergence and its poten­tial to create jobs, protect assets, and support commu­nity values.

Welcome to Portland; Now Let’s Eat

Authors:    Nangle, Hilary

Maine Policy Review 20(1): 53-54

This case study describes how nationally-acclaimed chefs and restaurants and the farm-to-table movement have led to Portland, Maine becoming a major culinary tourism destination.


Place and Prosperity: Quality of Place as an Economic Driver

Authors: Catherine J. Reilly, Henry Renski

Maine Policy Review 17(1) : 12-25

A recent report from the Brookings Institution commissioned by GrowSmart Maine concluded that achieving long-term economic health for Maine depends on preserving and investing in the state’s “quality of place.” In this article, based on a report they did for the Governor’s Council on Maine’s Quality of Place, Catherine Reilly and Henry Renski examine whether quality of place is indeed a viable driver of community economic development. They note that Maine has a comparative advantage in quality of place, but that quality-of-place initiatives need to be regional, strategic, and multidimensional, and to involve public, private, and non-profit sectors.


Nature-based Tourism in Maine: The State’s Role in Promoting a Strong Tourism Industry

Authors:    Munding, Elizabeth; Daigle, John

Maine Policy Review 16(1): 66-77

Tourism is Maine’s largest industry and, perhaps also, one of the least well understood and appreciated by the state’s citizens. Conventional wisdom suggests that tourism yields unwanted crowds and low-paying jobs. Yet closer analysis suggests that tourism does and has a yet-to-be-realized potential to enhance the well-being and sustainability of communities, particularly through high-quality, nature-based experiences that leverage Maine’s extraordinary landscapes, wilderness, and rural culture. Elizabeth Munding and John Daigle summarize what was learned as a result of Munding’s interviews with close to 50 tourism stakeholders throughout Maine. Although this study covered four major aspects of Maine’s tourism industry, here the authors focus on the state’s role and responsibilities in strengthening, promoting, and sustaining a nature-based tourism industry in Maine.

Adding a New Leg to the Economic Stool in Maine’s North Woods

Authors:    Milliken, Roger Jr.

Maine Policy Review 16(2): 116-120

In this commentary, Roger Milliken, drawing on some of his recent experiences outside Maine and his deep knowledge of the issues facing the state’s North Woods, gives a number of excellent practical ideas for developing “world class” experiences for visitors.

Ecotourism Potential in Maine’s North Woods: A Roundtable Commentary

Authors:    Czerwonka, Ann

Maine Policy Review 16(2): 121-125

Tourism Strategy for the Maine Woods: A Big Push to World Class

Authors:    Vail, David

Maine Policy Review 16(2): 104-115

Can Maine’s North Woods be a “world-class” tourist destination? The short answer is “not yet.” David Vail notes that the Northern Forest’s current mix of natural, cultural and hospitality assets is not sufficiently unique, outstanding or networked to draw large numbers of new overnight visitors. His article gives examples of some promising new endeavors, and suggests the possible development of a “great Maine woods” recreation area or national heritage area as a possible “big push” strategy.


Maine’s State Parks: Their Value to Visitors and Contribution to the State Economy

Authors:    Roper, Robert; Morris, Charles E.; Allen, Thomas; Bastey, Cindy

Maine Policy Review 15(1): 56-66

Maine’s state parks are important to the social and economic well-being of the state, and provide public access to a variety of outdoor activities. In the study reported here, the authors find that visitors have a high level of satisfaction in Maine’s day-use parks, campgrounds and historic sites. Moreover, the overall impact of visitor-related park spending exceeds $30 million in income and 1,449 jobs annually. Nonetheless, the majority of Maine’s state parks suffer from long-deferred maintenance and are in immediate need of major capital improvements if they are to continue their vital role in supporting tourism and outdoor recreation.


An Ecotourism Quality Label for Maine? Insights from Sweden’s “Nature’s Best” Initiative

Authors:    Vail, David

Maine Policy Review 13(2): 76-87

Nature-based tourism may be one way to revitalize lagging rural economies. David Vail offers “food for thought” based on Sweden’s recent development of an accreditation and branding process for eco-tourism operations. For an eco-tourism product to be awarded the label “Nature’s Best,” the operator must undergo a voluntary accreditation process which certifies that a set of quality standards has been met. Vail notes that effective marketing, ongoing financing, and demonstrated economic payoff both to operators and to local areas are key to determining the long-term success of Sweden’s “Nature’s Best” process. Like Sweden, he suggests, Maine may be able to capture an ecotourism market niche by establishing its own eco-tourism quality label.


The Impact of Cruise Ship Passengers in Maine: The Example of Bar Harbor

Authors:    Gabe, Todd M.; Lynch, Colleen; McConnon, James

Maine Policy Review 12(3): 56-62

Maine’s expanding cruise ship industry can provide local economic benefits and add to the state’s already large tourism economy. The authors describe results of a survey they conducted among passengers from eight ship visits to Bar Harbor, a town that has emerged as a popular port of call on New England summer and autumn cruises. They found that cruise ship passengers have higher household incomes and spend substantially more per day than typical Maine tourists. They make several suggestions for how ports can maximize the benefits from cruise ship passengers. These include using cruise ship visits to extend the local tourism season; converting “non-spending” passengers to “spenders;” implementing strategies to encourage and track return visits by passengers; and developing management plans to direct the flow of passengers through town.

Exceeding Expectation and the Knotty Question of State Tourism Policy

Authors:    Hunt, Kathryn

Maine Policy Review 12(3): 8-10

In the Margaret Chase Smith Essay, Kathryn Hunt reflects on Maine tourism policy, using as a springboard for discussion two recent events: the National Folk Festival held in Bangor and the Biathlon World Cup held at the Maine Winter Sports Center venue in Fort Kent.


History + Resources = A Sense of Place

Authors:    Griswold, Wendy

Maine Policy Review 11(1): 76-84

Unlike many states, Maine has an unusually strong “sense of place,” or cultural regionalism. Wendy Griswold explores where this unusually strong sense comes from, and how it can be further nourished through literature. In doing so, she strengthens the argument for investments in cultural-heritage objects and activities as a means not only of reinforcing an already strong sense of identity among Mainers, but also of promoting Maine as a tourism destination.

Snowmobiling in Maine: Past Successes, Future Challenges

Authors:    Vail, David

Maine Policy Review 11(2): 130-140

With one snowmobile registration for every 15 residents, Maine may well have the most snowmobiles per capita of any U.S. state. Moreover, the state’s 12,000-mile network of groomed trails and its 2,500-mile Interconnected Trail System make it a major winter tourist attraction. Still, as David Vail points out—and as the number of snowmobile-related deaths confirms—such progress has not come without costs and conflict. Although Vail argues the benefits outweigh the costs, he suggests Maine should act now to alleviate the conflicts related to congestion, over use of the state’s major trails, noise and air pollution, and free riding by non-dues-paying sledders. He argues these problems cannot be handled by local snowmobile clubs alone, but require an active partnership with state government to mitigate current conflicts and to avert future ones.


Promoting Cultural Tourism

Authors:    Calhoun, Charles

Maine Policy Review 9(2): 92-99

Cultural tourism is one of the fastest growing segments of the tourism industry, attracting visitors who tend to stay longer, spend more, and travel in the off-season. Yet, as Calhoun observes, the idea that Maine offers culture as well as scenery is still not part of the state’s self-image. Calhoun urges regions to think creatively and comprehensively about their cultural resources. Among other things, Calhoun encourages the development of regional cultural trails where tourists are linked from one destination to the next. He argues that in the southern- and mid-coast regions, such an approach could help to alleviate coastal pressure by directing tourists inland. Calhoun concludes with eight recommendations for Washington County, Maine, where tourism is vital to a more prosperous economic future.

Planning for Ecotourism on the Coast of Maine

Authors:    Springuel, Natalie

Maine Policy Review 9(2): 100-108

Ecotourism, or nature-related travel, is one of the fastest growing types of tourism. This is particularly good news for Maine, a state rich in scenery and outdoor recreation opportunities. However, as Natalie Springuel cautions, without good planning and good management, the impacts of ecotourism may harm the very resources that make it viable. Springuel describes four elements of good ecotourism planning and management that came to the fore during a recent set of interviews with ecotourism guides, environmental advocates, and tourism promoters. While Springuel endorses the growth in Maine’s ecotourism industry, at some point, she argues, it will be up to the people of Maine to decide how much of a good thing is too much.