After slow start
HALIFAX – After a slow start to the year, Nova Scotia is beginning to see some positive results during the peak tourism season. Visits for the month of July are up one per cent over last year.
"While we are seeing some positive signs, results so far this year are mixed as we work to address a significant decline in tourism over the last 10 years," said Patrick Sullivan, CEO of the Nova Scotia Tourism Agency. "Through the Nova Scotia Tourism Agency, we are working with our industry partners on a new strategic approach to reverse this trend and increase our competitiveness on the world stage.
"We are focused on bringing more first-time visitors and creating a solid foundation for real growth over the long term."
The province welcomed 968,800 visitors in the first seven months of 2013, a decrease of two per cent compared with the same period in 2012.
"Our 2013 marketing campaign was heavily focused in Ontario and, for the first time in many years, Quebec, which offer great potential for first-time visitors, and make up more than a quarter of our annual visits," said Mr. Sullivan. "Though visitors from both markets were up in June, for instance, we know it will take time and perseverance to see the lasting increases we are all looking for. We will be watching results from the rest of the peak season with great interest."
Results from January to May typically account for almost one third of annual visits to Nova Scotia. More than 50 per cent of annual visitors arrive between June and September, when most vacationers are travelling. The remaining 20 per cent of visitors arrive between October and December.
From January to July, more than 1.3 million room nights were sold in Nova Scotia, down three per cent from the same period last year. July numbers were down in Halifax, which saw major events such as the Tall Ships festival and the Telus World Skins Game in 2012.
Overall visits from Canada are down two per cent year-to-date, but rebounded one per cent in the month of July.
Early indications show visitors travelling by road from Ontario and Quebec increasing significantly so far in August. Road travel makes up 68 per cent of annual visits to Nova Scotia.
About 70,000 Americans visited the province in the first seven months of the year, similar to the same period in 2012. Visits from the United Kingdom were up 18 per cent, while visits from Germany decreased 17 per cent.
Air visits have declined five per cent to date this year, because of a reduction in domestic and American flight capacity. Road visits are down by one per cent.
Cruise ship passenger arrivals increased significantly in the first half of the year. Visits to the Port of Halifax were up 24 per cent to the end of June, and visits to Sydney were up 149 per cent to the end of July.
Detailed results can be found at www.novascotiatourismagency.ca/current-performance .
Nova Scotia's comprehensive system for reporting monthly tourism statistics includes counting non-resident overnight visitors at entry points to the province and gathering the number of room nights sold from licensed accommodation operators. Cruise passenger statistics are provided by the Port of Halifax and Sydney Ports Corporation and are not included in overall visitor statistics.
Tourism is an important contributor to Nova Scotia's economy. In 2010, the industry directly employed more than 24,000 people and generated revenues of more than $2 billion.