De­spite dip, tourism re­mains ro­bust in the Mar­itimes

The News (New Glasgow) - - PICTOU COUNTY - BY BREN­DAN AH­ERN

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 na­tion­wide 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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