Total Solar Eclipse in April 2024 Expected To Be Huge Tourist Draw

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Paula Tracy photo

Lori Harnois, director of the state Division of Travel and Tourism Development, is pictured at NH Tourism Summit Monday talking about April 2024's total solar eclipse.


CONCORD – The state is predicting a strong summer of tourism with the pandemic in the rearview mirror and interest high in what New Hampshire has to offer: the great outdoors just a drive away.

At the NH Tourism Summit Monday, Lori Harnois, director of the state Division of Travel and Tourism Development, told business owners in the tourism sector to expect 4.3 million overnight visitors trips this summer bringing in $2.35 billion.

The estimates are down slightly from last May which projected 4.6 million visitors but the spending prediction is up slightly from $2.2 billion.

The event was an opportunity to preview the state’s sales pitch and get an idea of what markets it is focusing on to bring in revenue which benefits state coffers in the rooms and meals tax.

The state is looking forward to an opportunity to draw huge numbers of visitors on April 8, 2024, when there will be a total solar eclipse across the state, with the state’s north country seeing the most impact of the event which will be in the afternoon of that day.

Harnois said the path of totality is Lancaster to Milan in the Great North Woods but the rest of the state will also see impact.

“We’ve been working for the past year and a half,” she said. “Being prepared for the traffic movement we might see.”

She said it falls on a Monday in April so businesses, particularly restaurants might want to schedule that day to be open.

“We’ve talked with other states who were part of the 2017 solar eclipse and just to learn of what happened and their experience. For example, South Carolina said they saw more traffic from that solar eclipse than they saw at the PGA tournament. Others have said it is like hosting the Super Bowl. So, doing this without having to pay the high sponsorship, obviously is a great opportunity for us.”

The state is putting some effort into marketing that this is a great place, and now has a logo, and posters and has purchased 30,000 solar viewing glasses to be distributed to lodging members throughout the state.


The state objectives are to increase those tax revenues, increase awareness of the state as a top leisure destination and generate positive returns for its advertising investments.

The core markets being targeted in that ad campaign are New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New York with a “road trip market” focusing on Eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey. At the same time, there is an international focus on attracting residents of Montreal and Quebec City in Canada.

Tourism officials also heard about educating visitors on developing good outdoor ethic and is working on a partnership with Leave No Trace to encourage first-time visitors to know what is expected to preserve the environment and beauty of the state.
During the pandemic, the state saw many people leaving trash on trails and not knowing how to behave in the outdoors.

The event also included a roundtable discussion on workforce shortages, with potential solutions.
There was lots of networking at the event held at the Bank of New Hampshire Stage on Main Street in Concord.

Taylor Caswell, commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Business and Economic Affairs attended and said during a break that business travel is coming back to the state and the fact the borders are now open will mean some return to normal.

“We are really focused this year on the visitor experience and our Leave No Trace partnership which is really helping visitors and residents respect and understand the outdoors,” Caswell said.

The event also included a roundtable discussion on workforce shortages, with potential solutions.

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