New Hampshire will update welcome centers
CONCORD, N.H. - The New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism Development is looking at ways to improve the state’s welcome centers, such as adding computers or having staff members go through a hospitality training program.
The budget has allowed creation of a Bureau of Visitor Services, with a staff of four to help improve tourism opportunities.
The division is part of New Hampshire’s Department of Resources and Economic Development. The state budget that took effect July 1 transfers management of the welcome centers to the agency from the Department of Transportation.
Under the budget, several centers that are open for part of the year will be closed to reduce costs. They are in Antrim, Rumney, and Epsom. That is fewer than originally proposed in Governor John Lynch’s budget.
The other centers originally on the closing list - Colebrook, Lebanon, Littleton, Sanbornton, and Shelburne - will remain open.
New Hampshire’s other visitor centers are in Canterbury, Hooksett, Nashua, North Conway, Salem, Seabrook, Springfield, and Sutton.
Lori Harnois, director of the Division of Travel and Tourism Development, said yesterday that the state is hoping to form public-private partnerships within the tourism industry for the long-term operation of all the welcome centers.
In the meantime, “we’re currently trying to get a good handle on the daily operations of them,’’ she said. “Future goals are to enhance the visitor’s experience. It’s the first interaction the visitor has with New Hampshire.’’
Tourism is one of New Hampshire’s largest industries, bringing in $4 billion in direct spending by visitors and $132.2 million in meals and room taxes. Tourism supports about 60,500 jobs.