Mid-Coast Tourism Series Part 2: Businesses are optimistic this summer will be better than a normal year

Businesses, and folks within Mid-Coast Maine’s tourism industry, could not be more excited for this summer.
Mid-Coast businesses are gearing up for big summer
Mid-Coast businesses are gearing up for big summer(wabi)
Updated: May. 27, 2021 at 8:16 PM EDT
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CAMDEN, Maine (WABI) - Tourism is the backbone of the economy in many parts of Maine.

In part one of this special report on tourism, you heard from tourism officials on the Mid-Coast about how difficult last summer was.

Now, we shift gears to talk about the upcoming summer season.

Businesses, and folks within Mid-Coast Maine’s tourism industry, could not be more excited for this summer.

They’re hoping to make up for what last summer lacked economically.

More importantly, they can’t wait to welcome visitors from all over in a more normal fashion once again.

“2021 looks very optimistic for the hospitality industry,” said Connie Russell, General Manager of Samoset Resort.

Businesses in Mid-Coast Maine are ready for a summer busier than any before.

In a survey released by the Maine Tourism Association back in March, they said 69% of responding businesses were feeling more optimistic about tourism being much better this year than it was last year.

Connie Russell and his staff at the Samoset Resort in Rockport have already seen a big jump in the number of guests coming to the resort.

He says between accommodations, dining, and their top-rated golf course, this summer should be great for business.

”It’s definitely coming together. We’re seeing an unprecedented amount of advance bookings, looks great, we’re excited. We’re already seeing a lot of Mainers traveling to stay with us primarily on the weekends, getting out and taking a staycation, and it’s nice to see people are coming back out and traveling,” said Russell.

Larry Reed, who has been a restaurant owner in the Rockland area for years, is opening a new place on the water in the downtown area.

Reed is expecting a very busy season and couldn’t be more excited.

”I expect it to be a crazy summer up here this summer. Can you pick a better location to go than the Mid-Coast of Maine on the water? I think every business around here is going to be very successful and have a very good summer,” Larry Reed said.

Justin Schaefer first sailed on the Schooner J&E Riggin in 2013 while visiting Maine with his family.

In February, he and his wife, Jocelyn Schmidt, purchased the schooner after years of hard work and saving up.

They’ll be offering trips on the schooner with COVID safety guidelines in place.

”Things are looking good so far. We’re finding that a lot of people are having to cancel plans for international travel and are choosing to travel somewhere closer to home, and in an environment where people can be out of their houses but still be outdoors in the open air, in a place like Maine where case numbers have been low compared to some other parts of the country, this is just the place that people want to be right now, so it’s a great year to be a windjammer owner,” Jocelyn Schmidt said.

Not far up the coast sits Camden’s newest luxury hotel.

”We’re right there on beautiful Camden Harbor. There’s nothing like it,” said Erick Anderson, General Manager of Hotels, Bay View Collection.

16 Bay View, part of the Bay View Collection, has seen a good amount of advance bookings for the summer that started back in January.

Hotel Director Erick Anderson says this summer could be, and likely will be, better than a normal year.

”Our first quarter of 2021 was quite a high occupancy compared to expectations. We’re going into the summer right now with a lot larger bookings, and it looks like it’s going to shape up to more of a normal standard,” said Anderson.

Larry Reed’s restaurant will be opening sometime in early June.

If you’re interested in booking a schooner trip with Justin and Jocelyn, you can visit their website here.

For more info on staying at the Samoset Resort or any Bay View Collection property, you can find more info on that by visiting their websites as well.

From all of us at TV5, we wish you a safe, fun, and busy summer!

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