CONCORD, N.H. — A tank of gas goes a long way in New Hampshire, particularly for tourists who take advantage of new discounts being offered this spring and summer.
“Everybody’s concerned about the high cost of gas, so we’re looking for ways to make it easier on visitors and residents of the state,” said Tai Freligh, spokesman for the state’s Division of Travel and Tourism Development.
Those feeling pinched at the pumps can take advantage of numerous discounts. For example, the Inn at Mill Falls in Meredith is offering a $20 per night gas voucher to guests, while the Highlands Inn in Bethlehem will give guests rebates of up to $50 based on how far they drive. Hybrid car drivers will get 30 cents a mile for the gas it takes to get to the northern New Hampshire inn, while conventional car drivers will get 25 cents a mile.
Michelle Brown, marketing director at the Inn at Mill Falls, said the voucher was a natural choice for a promotion given that the inn has its own gas station on the property. Beyond the $20 voucher, which is available during April, the inn offers guests a regular discount of 6 cents per gallon on gas.
“We do have a drive market coming from southern New Hampshire and the Boston area, so it’s a great incentive for them to come up here,” she said.
Tourism officials also are emphasizing the state’s compact geography, which brings mountains, lakes and seashore well within the range of one tank of gas, as well as its highly walkable communities where visitors can park their cars and enjoy themselves on foot. In naming Portsmouth one of its “Distinctive Destinations” for 2008, the National Trust for Historic Preservation called the seacoast city “one of the most culturally rich destinations in the country with a stimulating mix of historic buildings, sidewalk cafes, great restaurants, art galleries, jazz clubs and distinctive artisans’ boutiques.”
And of course there’s an abundance of outdoor activities such as camping, hiking and other “eco-tourism” pursuits.
“Park the car, get out, take a hike, bird watch,” said Freligh. “Some of those things are free. It’s saving the environment and saving cash.”
In a report prepared for the state in March, the Institute for New Hampshire Studies estimated that 6.7 million visitors will spend nearly $855 million in the state this spring. That’s up about 3% from the record level of last spring.
Most spring visitors to New Hampshire come from New England, New York and New Jersey.