Island tourism operators predicting Canada 150 will make for 'banner' season

Tourism operators on P.E.I. are preparing to roll out the welcome mat for the thousands of tourists expected to visit during the national Canada 150 celebration this summer.

Thousands expected to visit the Island during sesquicentennial celebrations

Campbell's Cove Campground is nearly 90 per cent booked for July and August 2017. (@campbellscovecampground/instagram)

Following one of the busiest seasons on record in 2016, tourism operators on P.E.I. are preparing to roll out the welcome mat once again.

Thousands of tourists are expected to flock to the Island during the national Canada 150 celebrations this summer. 

The occasion of Canada's sesquicentennial is especially welcome news for local accommodations.

Many campgrounds, including Campbell's Cove Campground and Cabins in Eastern P.E.I. are already booking far into the summer months. 

Campground owner sees increase in bookings

Jennifer Mooney manages Campbell's Cove with her family. She said the business decided it needed to hire additional staff this season in order to keep up with the demand.

Tourism P.E.I.'s 2017 visitor guide, 'Come Find Your Island.' (Tourism PEI)

"The service sites, the two-way and three-way sites are about 87 per cent booked," Mooney said. "Usually [by] this time of year, July and August is only 65 per cent booked."

Mooney added that while her campground typically sees its total number of guests increase by an average of six percent each year, she anticipates an especially busy summer ahead, with likely over 3,000 reservations. 

"I think that people are always excited about the tourism season, but I think that it does look very promising this year." she said. 

While Mooney said she thinks the Canada 150 celebrations are partly responsible for the increase in tourists making their reservations earlier, she also pointed out that her campground has recently taken to social media to advertise what it has to offer. This year Mooney decided to add the hashtag Canada150 to many of the photos of the campground she posts on Instagram.

"We do seem to have more and more followers on social media every day," Mooney said. "Last year about three per cent of our check-ins said that they found us via Instagram."

Tourism P.E.I. also expecting a 'fabulous season'

Officials with Tourism P.E.I. are also predicting the upcoming tourism season will be a bright one.

In 2016 the province experienced its busiest season on record, with a 10.2 per cent increase in overnight stays over the previous year.

While it's still too early to tell if the Island will see as many or more visitors this summer, Brenda Gallant, the marketing and communications director with Tourism P.E.I. said Canada 150 will help make for "a fabulous season."

Brenda Gallant, director of marketing and communications with Tourism P.E.I. says she expects Canada 150 will make a busy year for tourism operators. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

"We've seen some great increases in the last three years and it looks like 2017 is really shaping up to be another banner year," Gallant said. 

Earlier this year Tourism P.E.I. unveiled its official marketing strategy, called 'Come Find Your Island.'

While Gallant said the Canada 150 celebrations make for an especially desirable time for visitors to explore P.E.I., she hopes first-time visitors will make a point of returning in the future.

She added that outside of Canada 150, Tourism P.E.I. has done some marketing to encourage visitors to come to the Island outside of the regular tourism season.

When we say come find your Island, it's no matter what kind of vacation you're looking for we have an opportunity for you, Gallant said. "The fact that we're small is our biggest advantage."


  • An earlier version of this story said P.E.I. experienced a 20 per cent increase in visitors in 2016 over the previous year. In fact, it was 10.2 per cent increase in the number of overnight stays.
    May 31, 2017 10:20 AM AT


Noah Richardson has worked for CBC News in London, England, and on Prince Edward Island. He is a recent Carleton University journalism graduate. Follow him on Twitter @nrichardsoncbc.