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Despite dip, tourism remains robust in the Maritimes

A view from Fitzpatrick’s Mountain looking toward Pictou Harbour, Northumberland Strait and the Gulf Shore. James A. Smith photo
A view from Fitzpatrick’s Mountain looking toward Pictou Harbour, Northumberland Strait and the Gulf Shore. James A. Smith photo - Contributed

According to numbers from Tourism Nova Scotia, the number of visitors coming to the province in the past year declined two per cent, or 27,000 visitors when compared to 2017.

But the nation-wide boost that Canada 150 gave the tourism industry last year had set the bar high, and Tourism Nova Scotia’s report indicates a robust industry on the East Coast. Compared to the more standard tourist season of 2016, Nova Scotia saw a nine-per-cent increase.

And the Northumberland Shore can claim its own share of the pie with a one-per-cent upswing in licenced room rentals.

“Overall volumes are up,” said Wes Surette, manager of Pictou Lodge.

“We get a lot of American traffic up this way, and the shore is giving those folks a lot of what they’re looking for – unique destinations with room to move and breathe.”

Surette also believes social media could be putting places like Pictou Lodge on the map, next to the more widely recognized destination hot spots.

“There was one weekend where a couple from Chicago had the entire resort rented for a wedding,” he said. “It was between us and Iceland.”

The sharing economy in Nova Scotia has also been gaining traction, with 240,000 rooms rented through services like Airbnb.

The complete tourism revenue tally will be made available from Tourism Nova Scotia in early 2019, and the province is still aiming for the target of $4 billion in tourism revenue by 2024.

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