MOUNT DESERT ISLAND — Micki Sumpter, director of the Mount Desert Chamber of Commerce, doesn’t need a crystal ball to tell her the 2021 tourist season is likely to be a strong one.
“We are getting so many requests for information about the area; the numbers are much higher than last year,” she said. “People are really wanting to come for vacation.”
At the same time, she said, people who have contacted her also want to know “how we are doing with the coronavirus” and “how they can cope around the pandemic.”
Alf Anderson, executive director of the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce, said he is hearing the same things.
“We’re getting a good volume of calls, people making plans for their vacation,” he said. “There’s a lot of pent-up demand for travel, so we are expecting people to come. I think we’re going to see a pretty strong summer; it’s going to be busy.”
But like Sumpter, Anderson said people express concern about the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The questions are very much about safety and how they can do all the things to help keep themselves and the community safe while they’re here,” he said.
“We just need to keep pushing the message of safety and getting everyone to follow the guidelines so we can have another safe, successful season.”
Acadia National Park Superintendent Kevin Schneider told the Acadia Advisory Commission last month that he would not be surprised by a return to near-normal visitation this year. Because of the pandemic, visitation was off significantly last summer, though it rebounded in the fall.
Sumpter said that, in addition to hearing from a lot of people who want to come here on vacation, there are those who are looking to move here.
“I had two young women from Texas come in to talk to me,” she said. “They said we want to move here. I asked them why, and they said, ‘because Texas is just not the same as it used to be.’
“They also said, ‘We’ve vacationed here a lot and we like it.’ So, they were here to look at real estate.”