A tourism consultant says Moncton is the only region in the Maritimes where tourism continues to grow.

Tourism spending crossed the $400-million threshold for the first time last year, Rod Cunningham, president of McKellar, Cunningham and Associates, told Moncton city council on Monday night.

Cunningham said Moncton's hotel rooms were full in July and August last summer while it was a different story in Halifax.


The Magnetic Hill Zoo in Moncton saw a 17 per cent increase in visitors last year. (Marc Genuist/CBC)

"You're sitting here sold out. Two hours down the road, they're half empty," said Cunningham. "That's a remarkable situation."

Cunningham said hotel rooms are cheaper in Moncton than in Halifax, so people are more likely to stay an extra night.

He also noted the Magnetic Hill Zoo saw a 17 per cent increase in visitors from the previous year.

Moncton has a variety of attractions that bring people to the city, from shopping to sports events, he said.

The city also puts money into its attractions in order to continuously upgrade them and provide something new, said Cunningham.

"So that's a sign you're not letting your attractions go downhill."

Moncton is the only city in the Maritimes that has seen an increase in tourism since the recession of 2008, said Cunningham. 

He told city councillors he was surprised the city could maintain a growth in tourism for five years in a row.

"Again, you are the only destination that's winning," he said. "The Maritimes, down again.

"So the rest of the Maritime room sales have not recovered from the recession. Moncton you're up 15 per cent, 14 and a half."