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Maine investing $2M to market itself as safe tourism destination amid pandemic

Posted July 23, 2020

The Maine Office of Tourism shared details on July 22 of a $2 million advertising campaign to encourage travelers to experience Maine this summer. The campaign includes television, radio and social media ads that cast Maine as a place where visitors can social distance in scenic locations that are safe. It currently focuses on Mainers traveling within the state and tourists from the five states that are exempt from testing and 14-day quarantines: Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

So far, the website, ads on YouTube and other postings are getting more views than expected, Steve Lyons, director of the tourism office, said during a virtual meeting Wednesday. He added that his office is watching virus counts in other states, including Massachusetts, so it can market to them as well.

The first ads that started on June 8 targeted Mainers coming out of lockdown and traveling in-state to “rediscover Maine.” Lyons said an online tourism video got almost 12 million impressions and a YouTube video got 1.7 million between June 8 and July 10. In-state searches using the Google ads platform got more than 138,000 impressions with a 38 percent conversion rate of people interacting with the tourism office’s website, a percentage he said is high.

The next group of ads from July 5 to Aug. 2 branched out to other states after Gov. Janet Mills allowed testing as an alternative to quarantine and said New Hampshire and Vermont residents need not quarantine or get tested. In early July she expanded that to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Those ads focused on discovering or rediscovering Maine’s 3,500 coastline, 6,000 lakes and Acadia National Park. The ads also ran on NPR and Pandora radio.

The tourism office spent $508,210 on the ad campaigns targeting the five states with unrestricted access to Maine. In August, the office will start a $1.5 million campaign aimed at promoting Maine as a safe destination. It will run until the end of September. Advertising will include social media, print media and billboards showing the wide open spaces of Maine and only a few people in the images. One billboard will read, “Trade city lights for starry skies.”

To review the MOT presentation, click here.