‘These are fantastic numbers’
Yarmouth & Acadian Shores sees huge gains in N.S. room nights sold
SALTWIRE NETWORK TRI-COUNTY VANGUARD
The tourism industry in Yarmouth & Acadian Shores saw the highest growth in room night sales of any destination in Nova Scotia in 2022, says Yarmouth & Acadian Shores Tourism Association. According to the province, Nova Scotia welcomed 1.9 million visitors last year, which was around 1.1-million more visitors than in 2021. Accommodations operators in the province reported a total of 2.9-million room nights sold, which the province says was up 48 per cent compared with 2021 and up 19 per cent compared with pre-pandemic 2019. "Accommodation sales saw a strong recovery in 2022, and room nights sold surpassed 2019 across all regions,” reads a media release from Yarmouth & Acadian Shores Tourism Association (YASTA). YASTA says according to Tourism Nova Scotia, the highest gains were in Yarmouth & Acadian Shores, where sales were up 51 per cent, with 29,000 more room nights sold in 2022 than were sold in 2019. South Shore sales were up 20 per cent (35,000 more room nights sold), and Bay of Fundy & Annapolis Valley’s sales increased 11 per cent (35,000 more room nights sold) compared with 2019. YASTA says Yarmouth & Acadian Shores outpaced Halifax percentage-wise when it came to gains in room nights sold per tourism region. YASTA CEO Neil MacKenzie believes the strong showing in Yarmouth and Acadian Shores is due to renewed access to the north east United States. The Cat ferry, operating on the Maine-to-Nova Scotia ferry service route, was back on the route for the first time in three years after its last sailing season in 2018. MacKenzie also attributed increased interest in the destination of Yarmouth & Acadian Shores to the increase. "These are fantastic numbers,” said MacKenzie in a media release. “I believe they result from our amazing partnerships, a resilient industry and access to the north east U.S. travel market," He says the gains in the region are significant when considering barriers to international travel that still existed for much of 2022. Hurricane Fiona also impacted travel, with the storm causing extensive damage to the province and a cascade of travel interruptions and cancellations. Increased marketing spending, a television production, and significant events hosted in the community also played a role in the region's success over the past year, YASTA says, referencing HGTV’s ‘Trading Up’ with Mandy Rennehan that aired in 2022. “The show reached North American audiences and featured beautiful shots of the Town of Yarmouth and the surrounding area, showcasing Nova Scotia's small-town charm,” YASTA states in a media release. “Acadian culture and music were also celebrated last year with a live, all-day national broadcast by Radio Canada of an Acadian Day concert in West Pubnico.” As well, Yarmouth and Acadian Shores hosted two national events in 2022, which included The Travel Media Association of Canada (TMAC) annual conference and Curling Canada’s seniors championships. The region has a big event to look forward to in 2023 when it hosts Nova Scotia Music Week (NSMW) in November 2023. On March 6, meanwhile, the province launched a new marketing campaign aimed at encouraging people to spend their vacation time and money in Nova Scotia, as the province looks to build on the tourism industry's recovery in 2022. The campaign called ‘Your Ocean Playground,’ will run through the end of summer in Ontario, Quebec, Connecticut, Maine and Massachusetts. The campaign includes television, billboard, social media, video and display ads that highlight the wide range of things to do and see in all areas of Nova Scotia. It focuses on seacoast delights and Maritime culture, through the story of a couple travelling all 13,000 kilometres of coastline. The province is also advertising in Germany and the United Kingdom and running year-round ads in Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canada. The government will invest an additional $2.7 million this year in campaigns to support earlier and extended marketing of the province. A total of about $8.6 million will be spent in 2023.