The town of Saint Andrews saw a boom in tourism for 2016.

Mayor Doug Naish said the area has been a tourist destination for more than 100 years, but this past summer was one of the busiest in his memory.

"Saint Andrews, for a small town, has quite a wide coverage in terms of people who know about it," said Naish. "A lot of this comes from word of mouth."

The mayor said tourist businesses he's talked to reported a considerable increase in visitors from across Canada, the United States. and other countries last summer.

Naish attributed the jump to a strong U.S. dollar and good weather, which attracted tourists late into the fall.

Doug Naish

Doug Naish, the mayor of Saint Andrews, says the community saw a large increase in tourism in 2016. (Kirk Pennell/CBC)

Naish has heard positive reaction from popular tourist sites such as Ministers Island, Kingsbrae Garden and the Huntsman Marine Science Centre. He said local businesses also reported a record year for 2016. 

"I just want them [tourists] to keep coming," he said.   

Saint Andrews is growing

There's more good news on the way for the New Brunswick community of about 1,900 people.

Anchors Landing Retirement Community, an apartment complex, is under construction and will provide 36 apartments for retired people this spring.

"I've met so many people that have moved here in the last year," he said. "That's wonderful."

The Algonquin Resort's golf course and the Huntsman Marine Science Centre,are also undergoing expansions, to hold more tourists.  

Naish said with more people moving to the Saint John areas area, and a boost in tourism, the town will be able to put money aside for major projects down the road.

One of its latest projects is a roof replacement on the W. C. O'Neill Arena Complex. The town spent about $30,000 in emergency repairs in the last few years, which Naish describes as a Band-Aid approach.

The town recently applied for funding from both the federal and provincial governments. Naish said the project could cost another $8,000 to $9,000.

"It's the centre of the community and we hope it remains that way for years to come," he said.   

Information Morning Saint John