Visits to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor are down compared with a year ago, but that is not necessarily a bad thing for the area that struggled to keep up with intense tourism last year.

The 2021 tourism season will long be remembered in Bar Harbor for how extremely busy and unusual it was. Acadia got more than 4 millions visits — roughly half a million more than it ever had before — but that was without a single large cruise ship dropping anchor in Frenchman Bay.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Bar Harbor routinely had more than 150 cruise ship visits each year between late April and early November.

This year, the cruise ships are back and at their pre-pandemic levels, but visitation at Acadia so far has been down overall by more than 7 percent, according to the National Park Service. The number of visits was way down for each of the first three months of the year, compared with the same months in 2021 — by 48, 19 and 41, percent respectively.

Winter visitation typically lags far behind the warmer months, when tourists crowd Bar Harbor’s streets between Memorial Day and Indigenous Peoples Day. In April, when warmer temperatures typically attract more people to the park, visitation was off by 4.5 percent from the same month last year. It was up by less than 1 percent in May, and then was down by nearly 9 percent in June. The park’s estimated visits for July, which with August make up the two busiest months for Acadia, are not yet available.

Read More: Cruise ships may buoy Bar Harbor’s sinking tourism numbers

2022-07-24 05:00:00

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