Paul Coulombe honored by Maine Office of Tourism

Thu, 03/30/2023 - 9:15am

Boothbay region business owner and philanthropist Paul G. Coulombe was presented with the 2023 Maine Office of Tourism’s Governor’s Award for Tourism Excellence at the annual Governor’s Conference in Bangor on Tuesday, March 28.

Governor Janet Mills presented the 2023 Maine Tourism Awards to four recipients for their contributions to the industry. Other award recipients included: Maine Crafts Association –Maine Craft Weekend (Collaboration Award), the Schoodic National Scenic Byway Committee (Innovation & Creativity Award), and Husson University College of Business, School of Hospitality, Sport and Tourism Management (Leadership & Growth Award)

In presenting Coulombe’s award, Gov. Mills said “Paul Coulombe is a U Maine grad, born and raised in Lewiston. As a successful businessman, he could have retired and ridden off in the sunset. But instead, he chose to invest in his home state – from a country club and sports complex in Boothbay to a broader economic development in the Midcoast to an important expansion of the Maine Medical Center, his generosity and compassion are boundless.”

Coulombe said of the award on Wednesday, “I was truly honored to receive the Governor’s Award for Tourism Excellence. Tourism is an important economic driver for our rural region. The tourism industry provides good jobs and supports our local economy. The Boothbay region is a very special place that first captured my heart when I was a young boy growing up in Lewiston. I have very fond childhood memories of visiting Boothbay Harbor with my family. We would splurge and get a lobster roll, watch the lobster boats and sailboats go by, and enjoy the beautiful scenic views. I fell in love with the area. Attracting visitors to the Boothbay peninsula supports our local fishermen, retailers, bed & breakfasts, and restaurants. I invest in the region because I want to see the region and the locally-owned small businesses thrive and prosper. Thank you Governor Mills and the Maine Office of Tourism for this recognition. I will continue to work hard at making the region a popular tourist destination.”

Several of Coulombe’s employees and friends were on hand at the conference, which was held at the Cross Insurance Center.

“The 2023 award recipients demonstrate an adaptability and vision that is critical to the sustainability of Maine’s tourism industry,” said Steve Lyons, Director of the Maine Office of Tourism. “This year’s awards once again recognize the success of group efforts and collaborations, as well as individual accomplishments.”

The conference featured remarks Mills and the release of new data showing that Maine’s tourism and hospitality industry continues to benefit from growing demand for travel and increasing awareness of Maine as a world-class destination.

The research released Tuesday shows Maine experienced a 10.2 percent increase in tourism-related visitor days in 2022 over 2021. Visitors to Maine spent 12,138,100 nights in Maine accommodations throughout 2022, up 18.4% from 2021.

Direct tourism expenditures in 2022 totaled over $8.6 billion, up from $7.8 billion in 2021, with an overall economic impact of over $15.8 billion and 151,000 jobs supported by tourism.

“The resilience of the tourism industry has been key to their success as they face workforce shortages, inflation, and other economic challenges. Their partnership is critical as we work together to build a path to a strong and sustainable future for the industry,” said Heather Johnson, Commissioner of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development.

Other key findings include:

•Tourism supported jobs contributed nearly $5.6 billion in earnings to Maine’s households.

•The tourism industry generated over $1.2 billion in tax revenue.

•78% of visitors stayed one or more nights in Maine on their trip in 2022 (+6% from 2021).

•Canadian day and overnight visitation in Maine in 2022 accounted for 734,100 visitors and$413 million in spending.

Research unveiled by MOT is available