Early July tourism indicators highlight growth and confidence
Initial tourism numbers show Prince Edward Island’s tourism industry saw growth in key indicators across the province in July, says Minister of Economic Development and Tourism Heath MacDonald.
“The tourism industry on Prince Edward Island is a pillar of the Island economy. The initial outlook for July is a direct reflection of the dedication, quality products, and hard work of tourism operators across the province,” said Minister MacDonald. “While July tourism indicators are still being collected, early numbers suggest that tourism activity for the month is strong, and we will look to continue this momentum for the remainder of the season."
A number of economic factors, such as the value of the US dollar, have been identified to have a positive influence on travel and tourism this year: relatively good weather, and a healthy schedule of tourism products, such as festivals, events and experiential offerings that are giving tourists a reason to visit the Island.
Traffic on the Confederation Bridge was up 12.5 per cent in July, while the Charlottetown Airport reported a 6.8 per cent increase in air passengers.
PEI Provincial Parks posted strong growth in site-nights sold in July with parks in the western region of the Island up 8.8 per cent, and eastern Provincial Parks up almost 10 per cent.
Approximately 62 per cent of accommodation operators have reported their July occupancy numbers. Representing close to 70 per cent of the units available for the month, these operators are reporting a 8 per cent increase in overnight stays.
Points East Coastal Drive in particular appears to be having a strong July as overnight stays are up almost 15 per cent for the month. These numbers are particularly encouraging as there has been only one ferry in operation in the area since June. Government recognizes the importance of a full ferry service to the tourism industry and the provincial economy, and will continue to work with various partners to ensure a second ferry is secured.
To date, overnight stays have been driven by strong performance from PEI’s key domestic markets, but also strong travel from international markets like the United States, China, and the United Kingdom.
“July’s preliminary numbers are extremely encouraging across the Province. With the increase in US and domestic market travel, this has particularly attributed to the positive impact and continued growth of visitation across Prince Edward Island,” said Tourism Industry Association, CEO Kevin Mouflier. “The tourism industry continues to flourish, with its outstanding progress in enhancing the Island’s economy.”
Industry operators from across Prince Edward Island have cited July 2016 as being particularly strong with continued optimism from accommodations and restaurant stakeholders as they anticipate a strong August and fall season.
“Guests are planning and booking rooms many months in advance to ensure they are able to explore rural Prince Edward Island with its beautiful scenery and exciting attractions,” said owner and operator of the Georgetown Historic Inn, Aubrey Brown. “We’re seeing more and more visitors return home, share their many memorable experiences on the Island with their friends, encouraging them to come, and soon are making a vacation on Prince Edward Island a summer tradition”.
Tourism is a vital industry in Prince Edward Island that provides over 7,000 full time equivalent jobs for Islanders. It accounts for approximately $400 million in economic activity each year and seven per cent of GDP, the highest percentage of any Canadian province.
Economic Development and Tourism