Tourism turning point; Maritime tourism operators optimistic as region opens to Canadian travel

Maritime tourism operators are hoping for a business boom this summer, as they prepare to welcome visitors from across Canada.

That includes optimism from staff at Highland Village Museum in Iona, Nova Scotia.

As the season opens for the summer, museum director Rodney Chaisson says they’re already off to a better start than last year.

“We just opened an hour ago and already we have bookings, so we’re pleased,” says Chaisson.

Chaisson says 65 percent of the village’s visitors come from out of province.

“Last year we saw a 90 percent drop in our visitation over the course of the season,” says Chaisson. “We were pleased to see people from the Atlantic bubble, but I think opening to the rest of the country allows us to attract a few more folks.”

As part of the Nova Scotia government’s recently announced campaign to boost tourism, admission to the village will be free during July and August.

“This is great. We’ve been waiting a long time and we’re very excited to have some visitors,” says Kevin Hurd, General Manager at the Keltic Lodge in Ingonish, N.S..

Bookings at the Keltic Lodge are picking up, as this the first weekend that Canadians from coast-to-coast can come to the Atlantic Provinces with lesser restrictions.

“With Ontario being the largest province there’s been a lot of inquiries from Ontario for sure and Quebec as well, from all over really. It’s been very positive,” says Hurd

At the legendary Cabot golf courses in Inverness, cliental is heavily reliant on the rest of Canada and the U.S.

“It’s been a bit of a balancing act, but it all seems to be pointing in the right direction now,” says Andrew Alkenbrack, General Manager at Cabot Links.

With golfers now on the greens at both the Cabot Links and Cliffs courses, the resort part of the business is in full swing.

“People didn’t necessarily know if they’re were going to make it here, but they were hell bent on getting here, so many people have actually kept their reservations. We’re now booking almost two years out in some cases,” says Alkenbrack.

A renewed hope not only for businesses and travellers, but for people who make a living during the summer months.