MELBOURNE, Maine (AP) In a state with a reputation for welcoming tourists, there’s a distinct sense of disconnect.
The Maine Tourism Association says the average number of visitors per capita in the state is now more than 15 times the national average, a drop of more than 4 percentage points in five years.
The association says Maine is the first in the nation to see the rise in visitors in recent years.
The average number in 2015 was 14,000.
Maine has also seen a sharp decline in the number of overnight stays.
The state saw more than 5,000 fewer overnight stays in 2016 than the year before.
That’s a marked change from last year, when the number rose by more than 1,000 overnight stays, and the state saw almost 6,000 more overnight stays than it did in 2015.
The number of state visitors has declined in every major city in the last five years, with the most dramatic decline in Augusta.MMA, which is part of the Association of American Medical Colleges, says Maine has experienced a steep decline in physician-certified emergency room visits.
The association says the number fell by more a quarter in Augusta and by nearly 5 percent in New London.