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Rain + inflation = less tourism on N.H.’s seacoast

“It hasn’t been a good summer,” said John Nyhan, president of the Hampton Area Chamber of Commerce. “A lot of it has been driven because of the weather.”

Lifeguards watched over a few sunbathers and swimmers at Hampton Beach, N.H., on July 6, as the area was under heat and air quality advisories. Poor weather and higher costs seem to have kept tourists away this summer.Steven Porter/Globe Staff

The rain sure can put a damper on things. That’s been the case for some businesses on the seacoast, according to John Nyhan, the president of the Hampton Area Chamber of Commerce.

“It hasn’t been a good summer,” Nyhan said. “A lot of it has been driven because of the weather.

“We’ve had more rain than anybody wants during the summer months when we have one of the biggest tourist areas in the state of New Hampshire,” he said. Inflation hasn’t helped matters, either.

He called the month of June a “disaster” and said July saw a slight improvement. The unpredictable weather in August was a challenge, and Nyhan said people have been waiting until the last minute to decide whether or not to make a reservation.


Summer is the state’s busiest season for tourists, according to the New Hampshire Department of Business and Economic Affairs. In June, the Department was preparing for “record crowds” and anticipating around 4.3 million visitors who would spend around $2.35 billion in the state, according to a press release.

But Nyhan said in Hampton, things have actually slowed down compared to previous years.

The chamber helps run an information center on the beach. “We usually probably get 10,000 to 12,000 people walking through our information center,” Nyhan said. But this year he estimates numbers are down by around 20 percent.

“We’ve also noticed a slowdown on what we call the day trippers,” he said. Those are people who are within driving range of the beach. Nyhan said they mostly see visitors from Concord, Manchester, and Nashua. A lot of visitors also come from the Merrimack Valley in Massachusetts.

While those people are still visiting, Nyhan said they’re spending less money, which he attributes to inflation.

When it comes to people who are staying overnight, Nyhan said businesses are seeing a decline there, too. People who used to stay for a week might only book for three or four nights.


Still, he’s hopeful that a lineup of events can turn things around this fall. The town is hosting its 34th Hampton Beach Seafood Festival Sept. 8-10, and Nyhan is expecting it to draw a crowd of 80,000 to 100,000 visitors.

“As some of my business friends down at the beach have told me, you don’t count the receipts until the end of the summer,” he said.

Amanda Gokee can be reached at Follow her @amanda_gokee.