The Economics of Leaf-Peeping

Travel to Massachusetts spikes in autumn, to a peak of more than 2.5 million visitors during October. Thirty percent of travelers to Massachusetts this month come for leaf-peeping, notably in the Berkshires.

By Francis Storrs | Boston Magazine |
Image by © Frank Krahmer/Corbis

Image by © Frank Krahmer/Corbis

So it’s looking more and more like we’re sliding into the dreaded double-dip recession. Luckily, it’s time for Massachusetts to receive the annual stimulus package we call fall foliage. Leaf-peepers will come by the hundreds of thousands this month, and while they’re going to clog up the roads and cram town centers, they’re also going to leave behind an awful lot of money. One recent survey found the average leaf-peeping family spends $1,000 in Massachusetts. And in even better news, autumn visitors told Newton-based TripAdvisor that they plan to spend more this year than they did last year.

Tourists to Vermont, the world’s most beloved leaf-peeping locale, spend about $375 million in the fall. Where some of it goes:
$96 million on food
$72 million on gas
$75 million on lodging

What the average leaf-peeper shells out per day:
MA $120
VT $101
NH $84

Number of international travelers coming through Logan last October:

Estimated number that came here for leaf-peeping:

Sources: TripAdvisor, U.S. Travel Association, U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Vermont Tourism Board, Institute for New Hampshire Studies, Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism

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