© Guardian photo by Brian McInnis
Brackley Beach. FILE PHOTO
A noticeable increase in accommodation reservations through the end of April is a positive sign of growing interest in Prince Edward Island as a vacation destination in 2014, says Tourism Minister Robert Henderson.
The province’s online booking system, BookPEI, is showing an impressive year-over-year increase. The number of bookings on the site has increased by 45 per cent compared to this time last year. That represents an increase of nearly 500 individual bookings.
“April is a key month when it comes to tourism marketing because that’s when people are finalizing their summer vacation plans, so it is very exciting to see that bookings are up at establishments across the Island,” said Henderson. “We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, but the numbers we’re seeing, and the anecdotal comments we’re hearing from industry, are giving us reason to be optimistic about the 2014 tourism season.”
Visits to the tourism website are also up substantially. In total there were 786,246 visits to www.tourismpei.com from January 1 to April 30 249,682 more visits compared to the same period last year. Visits from Japan are up just over 60 per cent. Visits to the website originating from Google are up close to 62 per cent.
“At this point, I can safely say our members are reporting 15 to 20 per cent increases in reservations and we are still in our prime pre-booking season,” said Kevin Murphy, chairman of the Hotel Motel Association of Prince Edward Island.
“So, not only are we very encouraged by the increases in web visitation being reported by the province, but our own booking numbers seem to indicate that the increased focus on marketing and the excitement surrounding the 2014 celebrations are paying off.”
Darcy Butler, executive director of Tourism Cavendish Beach, said they are seeing lots of encouraging signs that 2014 will be a very good year in terms of visitation.
“We don’t have solid numbers to report yet, but based on what I’m hearing from our membership, bookings and length of stay are both trending up from last year,” said Butler.
“We’re seeing lots of encouraging signs that 2014 will be a very good year in terms of visitation.”