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NH Need Not Look Far for International Tourism Dollars

PHOTO: New Hampshire beaches, say travel professionals, earn the Granit State a slice of a $180 billion dollar international tourism pie. The Obama administration is focused on bringing more international travelers to the United States to boost economic growth and produce jobs. Photo credit: MarkBuckawicki/Wikipedia.org
PHOTO: New Hampshire beaches, say travel professionals, earn the Granit State a slice of a $180 billion dollar international tourism pie. The Obama administration is focused on bringing more international travelers to the United States to boost economic growth and produce jobs. Photo credit: MarkBuckawicki/Wikipedia.org
May 27, 2014

CONCORD, N.H. - President Obama used the long holiday weekend to put the focus on international travelers and the million-plus jobs those travelers support. Manny Witt, director, New England Tourism Center, Montreal, says the Granite State need not look far for its share of that economic impact, because it is already a prime destination for bargain-hungry Canadians.

"New England or the United States has an advantage over Canada - especially if you are going to New Hampshire, the tax rate. The prices are much lower in the United States than they are in Canada," Witt says.

One property he deals with on the New Hampshire shore is already fully booked by Canadians for three weeks in July, Witt says.

According to the White House, international travelers spent a record $181 billion on U.S. travel and related services in 2014.

Witt has been sending Canadian travelers to New England for 20 years. He says last year's border crossings to the United States were up 28 percent.

"Last year was a record year on travel, because the gas situation was so much cheaper in the United States, the dollar was almost at par, and the bargains were just there," he explains. "I mean, it was just incredible!"

Witt says if President Obama wants to increase international tourism, he could start by cutting down waits that can take up to two hours during the peak season in summer.

"The border wait times to get into the United States from Canada - it just takes a long period of time to cross the border - that's the only issue I see that may discourage a Canadian from coming into the United States."

A major component of the administration's strategy is to make the entry process easier for foreign travelers. In April, Air Canada became the first foreign air carrier to join the TSA pre-screening program.

The Obama Administration plan is online at www.whitehouse.gov.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NH