Nova Scotia's tourism industry sees a rebound during the summer season
It's nowhere near pre-COVID-19 figures yet, but some very encouraging tourism numbers were released by the Province of Nova Scotia last week.
July and August saw an 82 per cent jump in visitation over the same time last year and there is hope 2022 will be even better.
Max Rastelli owns a segway and scooter rental business in Halifax. He says the tourism season started slow, but business picked up when Nova Scotia relaxed some of its COVID-19 restrictions.
"I tell you, come August it’s like the floodgates opened. There was a lot of demand for segway tours and we did the best we could," Rastelli says.
A release from the department of tourism shows July and August saw impressive numbers - 364,000 visitors, up 82 per cent from the same time last year.
The trend seems to be continuing. Lots of people from out-of-province enjoyed the waterfront on a sunny Saturday afternoon.
said Ivan Felix, an Ontario resident.
"We've been here a few times before and we love it around the waterfront, it’s a beautiful city," said Ivan Felix, an Ontario resident.
Alberta resident Brian Mhaolcha is in town visiting his son, but he has other must-see destinations on his list.
"I still want to go up to Cabot Trail and to Peggy‘s Cove and to Lunenburg," Mhaolcha says.
The newly elected PC government is optimistic about 2022 and earlier this week, they gave the ferry service between Yarmouth and Maine a vote of confidence.
"The previous government has signed a contract with the operator until 2026," said Kim Masland, Nova Scotia’s public works minister.
"It is my hope that, as minister of public works, that the boat and the operator will have an extremely successful season."
Rastelli is hopeful some of the passengers will head to Halifax.
He is also confident the industry will rebound in 2022 that he has increased his inventory to include over 100 scooters.
"I think people have cabin fever. I think people want to travel. I’m going to want to travel, they’re going to want to get out and about," he said.
In fact, the entire tourism industry is banking on a rebound following a season where $1.6 billion in revenue was lost because of the pandemic.
There is another reason for tourism operators to be optimistic about the 2022 season. Cruise ships are set to return to the port.
In 2019, the cruise industry brought $165 million dollars into the economy.
There are 159 ships currently expected to call on Halifax alone.