Shaheen in Lakes Region to tout importance of promoting N.H. tourism overseas

LACONIA — Braving foul weather, United States Senator Jeanne Shaheen, accompanied by local representatives of the travel and tourism industry, cruised Lake Winnipesaukee aboard the M/S Mount Washington yesterday.
Speaking briefly before the ship weighed anchor at Weirs Beach, Shaheen stressed the importance of travel and tourism to New Hampshire, noting that the hospitality industry represents the second largest sector of the state economy and provides employment for more than 60,000 of the state's residents. With its seacoast, lakes and mountains, she said that offers a variety of natural, cultural and recreational attractions for visitors. "Anyone who is traveling can find whatever they're looking for in New Hampshire," said the senator.
The purpose of the senator's visit was to highlight Brand USA, the public-private private partnership that promotes the nation overseas in an effort to attract more foreign visitors to our shores. Brand USA was established by the federal Travel Promotion Act of 2010, of which Shaheen was one of 53 Senate co-sponsors. She announced that Susan Presby of the Mount Washington Cog Railway has been named to the advisory board of Brand USA. ,
"Visitors from abroad stay longer and spend more," Shaheen said by way of introducing Mike Fullerton, director of public affairs of Brand USA. Fullerton said that Brand USA initially targeted three markets — the United Kingdom, Canada and Japan — augmenting the promotional efforts of the New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism which touts the state in the same three countries. This spring the advertising campaign was extended to Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, Mexico and South Korea. Together the nine markets account for three-quarters of all visitors from abroad.
In 2012, some 67-million international visitors came to the United States, — seven-percent more than 2011 — where they spent $168-billion. Amy Landry, executive director of the Lakes Region Association, said that expenditures by tourists visiting the Lakes Region climbed nearly 9 percent in 2012, led by a 10 percent jump in Belknap County. She said that international travelers represent the fastest growing segment of the tourist market and welcomed the work of Brand USA.

CAPTION: Dockside at The Weirs, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (right) shares a word with Rusty McLear (center) of Hampshire Hospitality Holdings in Meredith and Mike Fullerton, director of public affairs of Brand USA , before setting sail for Wolfeboro on the M/S Mount Washington. The senator came to the Lakes Region to call attention to international tourism and the work of Brand USA, a public-private enterprise, in drawing visitors from abroad. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Michael Kitch).