Tourism sector optimistic

Christopher Gooding
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Number of U.S. visitors rebounding

This could be a big year for tourism in Cumberland County with a number of festivals and events planned for the summer months. One of the big attractions could be the fifth anniversary of the Joggins Fossil Cliffs being named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.



SPRINGHILL – Better than average numbers in May have two tourism destinations in the region optimistic for the 2013 tourism season.

Anne Murray Centre executive director Marci Meekins and Ken Adams, curator for the Fundy Geological Museum, reported the season started off strong and are hoping the momentum keeps going.

“So far, combined with April, things are looking reasonably good,” Adams said. “We were a little busier in April than previous years… I’m optimistic for summer.”

Local tourism took a hit during the recession but gains have been made in both local traffic and visitors from the United States, Meekins said. For the Anne Murray Centre, continued interest in the Canadian singer has helped defy some market trends.

“Overall Nova Scotia saw a 10 per cent drop in tourism last year but the Anne Murray Centre didn’t see that,” Meekins said. “There’s also renewed interest with the 25th anniversary of the centre coming next year, and we’ve started early with promoting those events.”

Visitors in May to the centre were comparable to previous years, if not a little better, Meekins said.

“People are rediscovering what’s in their backyard,” Meekins said.

While the number of U.S. visitors has been rebounding, Adams says it could be a while before they return to their former glory.

“The rate we’re going, we’re looking at an increase in U.S. traffic – we’re seeing good numbers there – but the ferry in Yarmouth is an issue.”

The Nova Scotia government cancelled its support of a ferry service between Yarmouth and the United States in 2009, resulting in a decrease in the number of U.S. visitors to the province felt throughout the province, Adams said. With the tourism industry looking at a continued rebound in U.S. visitors, not having that link to the province is slowing down progress.

“When you cut off access to the New England States I think there’s a correlation between that and our visitors,” Adams said. “If they have to drive another three hours it affects tourism all over the province. It’s part of the whole picture. I'd love to see that ferry back.”

In March, the province rejected two proposals to renew the ferry service.

Twitter: ADNchris

Organizations: Anne Murray Centre, Marci Meekins and Ken Adams, Fundy Geological Museum

Geographic location: United States, Yarmouth, Nova Scotia New England States

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