“(State government under King) increased funding for tourism promotion from $1.5 (million) annually in 1995 to over $6 million annually in 2003, resulting in a significant increase in visits to Maine.”

— From Angus King’s “record” Web page

Angus King’s campaign for the U.S. Senate is just about on the money here. His administration presided over an increase in both tourism funding and estimated trips to Maine.

The office spent more than $1.7 million in fiscal year 1995 versus more than $6.1 million in 2003, according to data provided by Rachel Tremblay, an analyst with the Maine Office of Fiscal and Program Review.

State figures on visits to Maine were unavailable for 1995, as 1996 was the first year they commissioned an in-depth study on visitors to the state, said Steve Lyons, the tourism office’s director of marketing.

But a survey for the federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics measuring 1995 numbers estimated that visitors to Maine took 9.2 million person-trips here during that year. Person-trips measure the number of people, meaning a car of two makes two person-trips.

A 2004 study conducted for the Maine Office of Tourism estimated that in 2003, there were 43.8 million combined day and overnight trips to Maine.

But that study also included trekking Maine residents. When you take them out of both categories, it adds up to nearly 24.5 million visitors to Maine in 2003, more than 2.5 times the 1995 numbers.

Verdict: King’s numbers aren’t perfect, but they’re close. The estimated increase in visits to Maine is massive. It’s hard to tell whether there’s a direct, cause-and-effect relationship between the spending and visitation increases, but the data points are about right, except for a slightly lower starting budget number. 

We rate this statement true.

Michael Shepherd can be contacted at 621-5632 or at: [email protected]