An all-time record month at the Charlottetown Airport contributed to what is so far being described as a positive year for the tourism industry on Prince Edward Island, according to Tourism Minister Robert Henderson.
The Charlottetown Airport reported a 5.8 per cent increase in passenger traffic year-to-date after a record month that saw a 12 per cent increase in traffic compared to July 2013.
The Confederation Bridge is up 2.9 per cent on the year after a 1.2 per cent increase in traffic in July.
The news is not so good at Northumberland Ferries.
Ferry traffic is down 2.2 per cent year-to-date and down 4.9 per cent in July, but a reduced schedule due to mechanical problems is partially to blame for the decrease.
“The province’s tourism industry, Tourism P.E.I. and P.E.I. 2014 Inc. have worked very hard to promote Prince Edward Island as the place to be in 2014, and it looks like that hard work has paid off so far this year,” said Henderson.
“The excitement surrounding the 2014 celebrations, increased business at the Prince Edward Island Convention Centre and all of our strong traditional offerings like beaches, culinary and beautiful scenery combined to help increase visitation. We look forward to more good news in August.”
Figures reported to the province by industry show a 4.5 per cent increase in room nights sold so far in 2014. July was the sixth straight month that room nights sold increased compared to last year.
Site nights sold at local campgrounds are up 3 per cent on the year after a 5.6 per cent increase in July.
Non-member rounds at local golf courses are down 10.6 per cent year-to-date.
Visits to provincial museums are also down 15.9 per cent so far in 2014.
However, visits to Province House are up substantially at 32.9 per cent, and visits to Green Gables House are up 13.2 per cent on the year.
“The numbers through the end of July are a very positive sign that we are inching ever closer to our goal of a five per cent increase in tourism revenue in 2014,” said John-Anthony Langdale, the chairman of the Tourism Advisory Council.
“We still have a long way to go, and our performance during August and September will be a key to our success, but the industry has every reason to be optimistic about the 2014 tourism season.”
JUST THE FACTS
Tourism provides more than 7,000 full-time equivalent jobs for Islanders. It accounts for approximately $380 million in economic activity each year and seven per cent of GDP, the highest percentage of any Canadian province.