“We did see the pressure through those months,” Lederhaus said, as people tried to book into the hotel.
Fox said the mild February weather drew folks to Salem who would otherwise have headed to the slopes to ski.
“The weather was marvelous for day-trippers,” Fox said.
At the height of the tourist season this past October, the visitors center counted 137,559 visitors, topping the 134,080 who arrived in 2004, the last time the one-month total topped 130,000.
The visitors center counts those who pass through its doors, Fox said. In October, it also counts those at a booth downtown. While there is no real way to count everyone who comes to the city, the visitors center’s methodology is consistent, so its counts allow tourism officials to spot trends.
Year-to-date, the number of visitors, at 83,109, is up 22 percent over last year, though the visitors center was closed for the first part of January 2011 when a new carpet was installed. While May saw a 4 percent dip in visitors counted, the number of visitors the center is counting is up by double digits. June saw 24,170 visitors to the center, which is up more than 12 percent from June 2011.
It’s estimated that last season’s tourist season, which was a busy one, pumped $100 million into Salem’s economy, Fox said. This year’s season could mean even more business if the bustling hotels are any indication.
Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.