- Associated Press - Friday, September 2, 2016

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - New Hampshire tourism officials are expecting about 620,000 visitors over the three-day Labor Day weekend, a 5 percent increase from last year.

Visitors are expected to spend an estimated $88 million during their stay, also a 5 percent increase from 2015. The Labor Day weekend is the second-busiest holiday period of the year in New Hampshire after the Fourth of July.

The Division of Travel and Tourism Department says it has directed marketing, advertising and communications efforts to attract visitors from key metro areas, including New York. This strategy, combined with a targeted program focused on attracting group tours, has proven fruitful for attractions, travel officials say.

Rob Arey, director of the Polar Caves Park in Rumney, said he’s observed a significant increase in bus tours coming directly from New York.

Cathy Bedor, co-owner of the Cog Railway which takes visitors up Mount Washington, said it’s on track to have its fourth-straight record summer season. She said it is 10 percent ahead in revenue and riders so far this year.

Bedor and her husband, who also own Adair Country Inn & Restaurant in Bethlehem, said they have been booked for Labor Day weekend for more than a month and notes that about half the guests are from Europe or areas of the United States beyond New England.

“Our ongoing audience research indicates that more visitors are traveling to New Hampshire because of our proximity and convenience,” said Victoria Cimino, director of the Division of Travel and Tourism Development. “The motivation of these trips varies from escaping the big-city stress to being adventuresome and taking advantage of the outdoors.”

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