North Woodstock, New Hampshire - It has just become easier for international travelers to find their way around the popular loop road in the White Mountains known as the White Mountains Trail. This National Scenic Byway, which includes the famous Kancamagus Highway, Franconia Notch, Crawford Notch and the Mount Washington Valley, now has a map available in five languages: English, French, German, Japanese and Hindi.
The map was produced by the White Mountains Attractions Association, the region's tourism marketing organization. Jayne O'Connor, president of WMAA, said her staff tries each year to increase what is offered for foreign language brochures and maps.
“A map in their own language certainly helps people feel more comfortable in the White Mountains, she said, “to find their way around the region, and hopefully to find their way into more of our attractions and businesses.”
International visitors are important to the White Mountains, said O'Connor, pointing out that the mountains are the most popular of the State's tourism regions. “Visitors contribute greatly to our local economy, and international visitors will represent at least 20 percent of our travelers this year and higher during fall foliage.
A map may seem old-fashioned in these days of smartphones and WiFi, but O'Connor says the organization uses a mix of print and on-line methods to reach their visitors.
“We need to provide visitor information in any manner that works,” O'Connor said. This means the organization uses websites and social media, mixed with paper maps and guidebooks for those who want them. She said this year the organization's website will connect with over 1 million travelers, while the association will also distribute over 900,000 White Mountains Map & Guides, 350,000 Travel Guides and meet with over 100,000 travelers face-to-face at the White Mountains Visitor Center.
“We don't want to miss an opportunity to connect with any segment of our market,” said O'Connor.” The Scenic Byway Map, which includes a mile-by-mile tour of the loop road, as well as business listings, will be distributed for the next year, and then updated.
The association's foreign language brochures are also made available on-line for travelers through its website at www.visitwhitemountains.com, and O'Connor said the new Scenic Byway map will be loaded to the website as soon as possible. The website already provides in English, French and German a free downloadable audio tour of the White Mountains National Scenic Byway.
In addition to the Scenic Byways brochure in five languages, WMAA also prints its popular White Mountains Map & Guide in three languages: English, French and German. “We are always looking for the next language we'll need” she said, and indicated options may include Spanish and Chinese.
The language choices are determined by visitation in the region, she said, and also at the White Mountains Visitor Center in North Woodstock, which is operated by the Association. Over 100,000 visitors stop in each year, and O'Connor said they had travelers from 62 countries last year, and from as far away as New Zealand and Nepal. She said there is a sizable population of people from India and Pakistan who visit, particularly in the fall, which precipitated the Hindi map this year.
Tour groups and travelers from Japan have also increased substantially, she said, due to outreach by the State of New Hampshire and the White Mountains Attractions Association in that country over the last two years.
We've worked with the State Tourism Office to educate Japanese tour operators and travelers on what is available in this area,” she said. “Japanese tourists started coming to New England a few years ago, primarily in association with the increase in Japanese baseball players in Boston. Japan Airlines started a daily flight from Tokyo that has been filled with leisure travelers, and we have seen that part of the market increase each year since. “ The French and German maps came about due to the consistently high number of visitors from Canada, France and Germany.
White Mountains Attractions is a membership organization, operating in New Hampshire since 1958. Its offices are located at the White Mountains Visitor Center, 200 Kancamagus Highway, in North Woodstock, New Hampshire.
About the White Mountains Attractions Association The White Mountains Attractions Association was founded in 1958 as a co-operative marketing association for the region. In 1983, it was also designated the State's official Regional Association for the White Mountains of New Hampshire, able to assist the press and visitors with information about the region.
The Association counts among its membership the area's attractions, including Alpine Adventures, Attitash Mountain Resort, Cannon Mountain, Clark's Trading Post, Conway Scenic Railroad, Cranmore Mountain Resort, the Flume Gorge, Fort Jefferson Fun Park, Hobo Railroad, Loon Mountain, Lost River Gorge, Mount Washington Auto Road, the Mount Washington Cog Railway, Polar Caves Park, Santa's Village, Story Land, Whale's Tale Water Park and Wildcat Mountain.