P.E.I. on track for record tourism year, but Dorian impact looming

A strong August has pushed the P.E.I. tourism industry into record territory.

More visitors coming from key markets

Visitation at P.E.I. National Park is up almost 20 per cent for the year. (John Robertson/CBC)

A strong August has pushed the P.E.I. tourism industry into record territory.

Total overnight stays were up 4.5 per cent in August, pushing year-to-date numbers to 2.8 per cent over 2018.

Last year ended a string of four consecutive record years. But with August in the books for 2019, operators are up 1.4 per cent over the 2017 numbers.

August was strong in some of the Island's most important markets.

  • New Brunswick: +5.9%.
  • Nova Scotia: +3.9%.
  • Quebec: +7.9%.
  • New England: +16.6%.

Staycations were up 4.5 per cent.

Attractions are showing the impact of more tourists. For the year-to-date, provincial heritage sites have 12.5 per cent more visitors and P.E.I. National Park visitation is up 19.1 per cent.

Tourism Minister Matthew MacKay expressed some concern that post-tropical storm Dorian, which struck the Island Sept. 7, might have slowed the industry's momentum.

"When Dorian hit our numbers were great," said MacKay.

"When that storm hit it certainly took a couple of weeks out of us. I think if that storm didn't hit we would have had some real big numbers. But we're certainly going to be happy with the end result, considering."

Early indicators from September suggest Dorian may have caused troubles.

The province has released traffic numbers, and they show ferry traffic down 10.1 per cent and Confederation Bridge traffic down 5.4 per cent.

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