Memorial Day Weekend, the unofficial start to New Hampshire’s summer season, is expected to bring more visitors and more money to the state than last year, according to a report by the Institute for New Hampshire Studies (INHS), the Nashua Telegraph reported.

The institute, at Plymouth State University, said in its report that about 540,000 visitors are expected to come from out of state this weekend, about 1% more than last year. These visitors are anticipated to spend about $85 million, up by 3% from a year ago. Overnight trips will likely be a larger share of total trips than last year.

Since 1990, INHS has conducted more than 75 individual projects for the New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism Development, according to the institute’s Web site. Tourism research contracts total approximately $1.25 million to date, that website said.

“Taking in the beauty of our state is the biggest draw for the holiday weekend, and with expected visitation and spending being up this year, this is a very good sign for the tourism industry in New Hampshire,” said Lori Harnois, director of the NH Division of Travel and Tourism Development. “Attending one of our weekend events, visiting with friends and family, outdoor recreation, and getting in a little tax-free shopping are all part of what makes a great visit to New Hampshire.”

As the fourth busiest travel weekend in New Hampshire, most of the visitors for Memorial Day weekend will be from New England and New York state. The number of visitors from Canada will also likely be higher than last year.

Small inns and bed and breakfasts are popular for long weekend visits during the late spring. Resorts, hotels and motels will likely see a 1 percent increase in the average occupancy rate for the weekend in comparison with last year. A 2% increase is forecast for visitors who will be staying with friends and relatives, staying at campgrounds or will be opening their summer cottages.

In March, the institute published a report predicting that spring tourism – visits in March, April and May – would be up 3% from 2010, to 6.9 million visitors.

That report said that total visitor spending is projected to grow by about 6% above the level for the spring of 2010, increasing to about $777 million.

The report said that spring is the third busiest season for New Hampshire in terms of number of travelers.