SOE Researchers Update Study on Maine Hospitality Economic Impact

Maine restaurants and lodging establishments are expected to generate between $2.7 billion and $3.3 billion in sales this year, according to new research by UMaine Professors Todd Gabe and Andrew Crawley of the School of Economics.

“We’re expecting 2020 hospitality sales to decrease about 30 percent relative to sales from last year,” said Andrew Crawley, one of the study’s authors.

The study, which uses monthly taxable sales data through July of 2020, is an update of research conducted at the beginning of the summer. It’s also one of several projects that Crawley and Gabe have completed on the economic impacts of COVID-19.

“The original project used data through April, which we now have learned was Maine’s worst point in terms of the percentage decrease compared with the same month in 2019,” notes Gabe.

The study by Gabe and Crawley shows that restaurant and lodging sales fell 62 percent between April of 2019 and 2020 and, by July, the year-over-year change was a 34 percent reduction in hospitality sales.

“In a couple of weeks, we’ll have the hospitality sales figures for August, which is typically Maine’s best month for tourism,” explains Crawley. “At that point, we’ll have a pretty good idea about where annual sales will fall within our range of $2.7 billion to $3.3 billion.”

The study was conducted at the request of HospitalityMaine, but the UMaine researchers did not receive any compensation for the project. “Whenever we can, we like to help Maine residents and businesses understand what’s happening in the economy around us,” notes Gabe. “And, right now, there’s a lot to study about the impacts of COVID-19.”

Click here for coverage of the report by the Bangor Daily News.