P.E.I.’s tourism industry, which has posted records for the last three years, is on track to do it again.
The provincial government released numbers for June on Wednesday, showing the season is on a record pace once again.
Overnight stays in June were up 2.8 per cent over 2016, and are up 3.6 per cent year-to date. Since 2011, June has been the fastest growing month for tourism.
“We’re seeing gradual growth here,” said Economic Development and Tourism Minister Heath MacDonald. Last year being a banner year was extremely important to us, and going into this year we felt that if we can maintain that hold on last year’s numbers, you know, we would satisfy a lot of our industry.”
It’s not just government officials who have high praises for the tourism numbers. Some business owners on the Island say everything’s just lining up perfectly for them this summer.
Rob Shaw owns the Shaws Hotel in Brackley Beach, P.E.I. He said his business is about as busy as it’s ever been.
“We’re up significant numbers in the month of July, Shaw said. “And I would expect that trend in June to be even stronger in July. We have had more things go in our favour with the 150 celebrations. The U.S. dollar being strong has brought more Americans to the North and kept more Canadians at home.”
Nellie Vaunda Murray is experiencing similar succes. She owns Nellies PEI Local Crafters.
“I’m doing great. It’s way up from last year, ” she said. “I won’t be sure until the season how much, but right now, probably somewhere between 20 and 30 per cent and that’s good.”
Delegates at meetings and conventions are credited with driving the increase. Meetings and Conventions P.E.I. reports a 13 per cent increase in June delegates over 2016, and an 18 per cent increase year-to-date.
Research from Meetings and Conventions P.E.I. shows almost 50 per cent of delegates either arrive early or stay on beyond the convention for a personal holiday.
Large groups visiting the Island recently include ScotDance Canada, Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists, and Infection and Prevention Control Canada.