P.E.I. tourism operators cash in on record year

Jim Day
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Visitors spend more than $400 million in 2014

“We knew,’’ a smiling Premier Robert Ghiz said to a room filled with tourism industry players Thursday, “it was going to be a good year.’’

Celebrating 2014 with all the bells and whistles that tens of millions of dollars could buy was banked on as a sound investment to draw many people to P.E.I.

TOURISM 2014 NUMBERS

RELATED: Important for tourism industry to diversify, says Ghiz

The numbers, released Thursday by the premier, suggest many tourist operators cashed in well on Islanders and visitors alike as people poured across the province to mark the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference.

This year, in fact, will be a record breaker in the tourism industry, the premier trumpeted during the annual general meeting of the Tourism Industry Association of P.E.I.

Early estimates show 1,359,858 visitors to the province, up 3.8 per cent over 2013.

The big number - the bottom line - shows $401 million in direct spending for an increase of 5.1 per cent.

Both the amount of spending and the number of visitors parting with money were the highest since a new methodology was developed to determine each figure in 2005.

Ghiz predicts tourism operators who did well may not holler from the rooftops that they had a fantastic year. However, he anticipates those that had a poor year to speak up out of disappointment in not benefiting from the much-hyped 2014.

“But the stats don’t lie,’’ the premier says.

“Overall, we’re up and while some may not have been up, I think that it was a great year overall.’’

Ghiz ran through some of the more notable increases in 2014 over the previous year including jumps in overnight stays, passenger traffic, and motorists crossing the Confederation Bridge.

Minister of Tourism and Culture Robert Henderson is thrilled with all the dollars that rolled into the economy with the tourism industry surpassing, ever so slightly, a goal of achieving a five per cent increase in revenue.

Henderson dismissed as “a bit of a fallacy’’ complaints that outlying areas in the province did not benefit from the large amount of money poured into 2014 celebrations.

He pointed to the Canadian Potato Museum in O’Leary, the Georgetown Playhouse Theatre and the West Point Lighthouse all recording their best years ever.

“Yes 40 per cent of the funding was more around the Charlottetown area as far as the 2014 Fund but when you go across Prince Edward Island a lot of them (tourism operators) had a great year,’’ he says.

He also conceded that attracting tourists to play golf in P.E.I. is becoming more challenging but chalks that up to a general decline in the industry across North America.

jday@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/PEIGuardian

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Recent comments

  • Jhaddow
    January 26, 2015 - 23:45

    Not to be nitpicky but for the record there is no such place as the Georgetown Playhouse Theatre it is the King's Playhouse which is located in Georgetown...be nice if the Minister of Tourism and Culture actually knew its name...

  • Linda A.
    December 05, 2014 - 15:53

    We didn't see alot of tourists in late June. There weren't any signs alerting us to the Bottle Houses on the Hwy. We were coming from O'Leary going to Summerside. Potatoe Museum should have more P.R. It was great. The Medical side was very good. The food was tasty there!

    • huh
      December 05, 2014 - 16:25

      Potatoe?

  • John Getson
    December 05, 2014 - 13:26

    “But the stats don’t lie,’’ the premier says. LOL... maybe not but you can make them your biatch! Anyone with half a clue can make any statistic support damn near any position that needs supportin'... you just need to know how to frame 'the question' for example this same government statistically 'proved' that the HST was going to be good for all of PEI, for every low-income Islander and for every Island business... as well as for the PEI government revenues... and just how did that proven statistic work out for ya?

  • John Getson
    December 05, 2014 - 12:27

    “But the stats don’t lie,’’ the premier says. LOL... maybe not but you can make them your biatch! Anyone with half a clue can make any statistic support damn near any position that needs supportin'... you just need to know how to frame 'the question' for example this same government statistically 'proved' that the HST was going to be good for all of PEI, for every low-income Islander and for every Island business... as well as for the PEI government revenues... and just how did that proven statistic work out for ya?

  • John Getson
    December 05, 2014 - 12:24

    “But the stats don’t lie,’’ the premier says. LOL... maybe not but you can make them your biatch! Anyone with half a clue can make any statistic support damn near any position that needs supportin'... you just need to know how to frame 'the question'

  • Billy
    December 05, 2014 - 12:02

    One can do anything with a bunch of numbers. I covered most of pei this past summer and tourists were far and few between. I could name some place other than the potato museum that there were few tourists. Golf courses to start. Maybe they came here to view all the real estate for sale.

  • BS
    December 05, 2014 - 08:42

    Henderson dismissed as “a bit of a fallacy’’ complaints that outlying areas in the province did not benefit from the large amount of money poured into 2014 celebrations. What BS. It is not 'a bit of a fallacy' - and you saying this in and of itself dismisses complaints you must have received from outlying areas. Even Cavendish businesses had a rotten year. And that is saying something. It all went to Charlottetown, Minister Henderson, & you KNOW IT.

    • Charlottetown
      December 05, 2014 - 11:37

      rurals whining again.

  • Resident
    December 05, 2014 - 07:49

    They forgot to mention global warming. Soon PEI will be like Florida, and the tourism number will go up.

  • In Tourisn For Years
    December 04, 2014 - 22:52

    If we deduct the Premiers trips to Vegas with his disciples what would the numbers be? Rustico was empty! Empty! Where are these bogus numbers coming from

  • SlyFox
    December 04, 2014 - 22:35

    If everything is going so well,why can't Wes balance the budget? LOL

  • Should Read
    December 04, 2014 - 21:33

    The story should read Charlottetown Operators cash in, tax payers get screwed. $32,000,000 of tax money spend to generate $20,000,000 in revenue.