Tourism on P.E.I. is not making the recovery it should be, says the provincial industry association.

Don Cudmore - Custom

Room nights sold holding steady in 2013 is no reason to celebrate, says Don Cudmore, executive director of the Tourism Industry Association of P.E.I. (CBC)

The Tourism Industry Association of P.E.I. is particularly concerned with a decline in the number of room nights sold in fixed-roof accommodations — hotels, inns, B&Bs, motels — over the last five years.

While there was virtually no change in that number in 2013 over last year, TIAPEI executive director Don Cudmore told CBC News that is no cause for celebration. An analysis by CBC News shows room nights sold never recovered from a dip during the recession that started in 2008. Overall since that time, the number of room nights sold has dropped 4.92 per cent.

"Some years you know there's a good rationale for that, you know, with things that are happening across the country and across the world, U.S elections, all of those neat things," said Cudmore.

"But the reality is the years that things should be kicking in and should be doing better we're just not producing the way we should. We just can't keep doing the same thing and expect different results."

Cudmore said P.E.I. has to spend more money to market itself if it wants tourism to grow, and he said that money will likely not come from government.

TIAPEI is about to begin a series of industry consultations, the biggest in more than a decade. One of the goals is to come up with a way to raise its own money for promotion.

A proposed three per cent room levy met with angry opposition from some operators a year ago, and never came to fruition.