Marine Extension in Action
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Tourism is Maine's largest industry. In 2003, tourism generated $ 13.4 billion in sales of goods and services. In 2004, tourism provided for 176,633 jobs, generated $3.8 billion in wages, and $530 million in tax revenues. Governor John Baldacci formally recognized the economic and ecological importance of tourism by highlighting it as one of the five primary industries at the Governor's 2003 Conference on Natural Resource-based Industries. Access to the natural resource base, and the need to collaborate with other resource-dependent industries, were identified at the conference as cutting across multiple industries, including tourism. Since the Governor's Conference, several studies and proposals have pointed to the need for university-based extension in the area of sustainable tourism development. The University of Maine has heeded this call by creating a new Center for Tourism Research and Outreach. And the state recently unveiled its new nature-based tourism initiative. The premise of many of these proposals is that, if carefully planned and managed, tourism can contribute to the economic development of Maine's rural and urban areas. This is particularly true in Maine's coastal zones. The leading regional destinations for tourists in 2004 were all on the coast: Southern Maine coast (29%), the Downeast Acadia region (18%), and Greater Portland/Casco Bay (17%). This coastal trend is consistent with years past. While successful tourism-based economic development initiatives will increasingly draw visitors to Maine's inland areas, tourists themselves continue to rank coastal experiences among their most sought after. For example in 2004, 59% came to explore the beach and ocean and 43% ranked eating lobster as integral to their Maine experience. The economic power of tourism and its affiliated businesses result in a coastal industry larger than fisheries and aquaculture combined. The impacts of tourism, both good and bad, affect all industries, communities and individual residents along our coast.
Springuel, Natalie, "Sustainable Tourism along Maine's Coast" (2005). Maine Sea Grant Publications. 10.
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