Tourism numbers up for 2017, says Cavendish Beach tourism group

Summer tourism numbers have lived up to the expectations members of Tourism Cavendish Beach had for the 2017 season.

Destination manager Darcy Butler says season started off slow

Tourism Cavendish Beach says tourism numbers are up for 2017. (Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC)

Summer tourism numbers have more than met the expectations members of Tourism Cavendish Beach had for the 2017 season.

"We were a little bit surprised to see the numbers as good as they were at the end of July considering it started off a bit slower than we thought," said destination manager Darcy Butler.

Butler said many members of the group credit the free entry to the national park as one reason tourism numbers are up. 

Bookings increase

Butler said in July, bookings for room nights sold were up 25 per cent over three years ago. 

"That's the measurement that we've used to get a consistent number over the past few years." 

Darcy Butler says free admission to the national park likely helped boost this summer's tourism numbers. (Parks Canada/Facebook)

But he added the one thing that really stood out was the camping numbers.

"Ninety-thousand unit sites sold in the month of July." 

More family camping

Butler said that number is up by 20,000 from 2014, adding that is a significant growth in the past three years.

"I think the camping product stands out as one of the main reasons, but I also think families have been an important part of our visitors," he told CBC's Mainstreet.

"We do cater very well to the family market with longer stays." 

Those stays include families of up to three generations, something Butler said they are seeing more and more of each year. 

Butler said there have been a lot of travellers in September despite some operations closing for the season by Labour Day, but many remain open until the end of the month — and even into October.

Looking ahead, Butler admits it will be hard to top 2017.

But with tourism numbers increasing each year and more investment, he's hopeful the tourism association can top the number in 2018. 

With files from Mainstreet