The solar eclipse on April 8 delivered a powerful boost to Maine’s economy, increasing total spending by out-of-state visitors and in-state travelers more than 23% compared to the previous four weeks, the Maine Office of Tourism, Film and Outdoor Recreation announced Tuesday.

Towns in the path of totality, where the moon fully blocked the sun, experienced double-digit increases in visitation, according to Zartico, a tech firm specializing in destination data collection and travel analysis.

Overnight stays surged, pushing hotel occupancy up 47% and short-term rental occupancy up 27% compared to the same period in 2023. Visitation increased 39% in lake and mountain regions and 27% in Aroostook County.

“The eclipse was a unique opportunity for Maine to attract visitors at a traditionally slower time of year, and to showcase parts of the state that some may not have visited before,” said Carolann Ouellette, office director. “Their appreciation is evident in the positive feedback we heard from communities about how respectful eclipse travelers were during their visit.”

Southbound traffic is shown at a standstill on April 8 on Route 201 south of Jackman. Thousands of people from multiple states made the trip to Jackman to watch the total solar eclipse. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

Categories with the largest spending increases statewide were bars and nightlife, 79%; gas stations and convenience stores, 45%; outdoor recreation, 39%; pharmacies, 33%; and accommodations, 19%. Overall spending increased 99% in Aroostook County and 48% in Franklin County compared to the previous four weeks.

On the day of the eclipse, about 80% of observed visitors were from outside Maine, the analysis found. While Boston and New York City were the top contributors by volume, many visitors came from across New England, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

“Businesses, communities and state agencies spent months preparing to welcome visitors during the eclipse and laying the groundwork for these visitors to have a safe, fun experience,” said Heather Johnson, head of the Department of Economic and Community Development. “As a result of that advance work and planning, the event was a positive one for Maine’s economy.”

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