P.E.I. tourism has record-breaking June thanks to 2022 rebound

·2 min read
'From what we're hearing from industry, it should be a very strong fall season too,' says Tourism Industry Association of P.E.I. CEO Corryn Clemence.  (Shane Hennessey/CBC - image credit)
'From what we're hearing from industry, it should be a very strong fall season too,' says Tourism Industry Association of P.E.I. CEO Corryn Clemence. (Shane Hennessey/CBC - image credit)

Prince Edward Island tourism officials have released statistics for June, showing the best June ever on record for the industry and pointing to a possible record-breaking season for 2022.

The key stats of room nights sold, rounds of golf, and campground site bookings were all up significantly from 2019, the last record-breaking tourism year for P.E.I., one year before the COVID-19 pandemic hit and kept visitors home.

"We knew the demand was going to come back strong," said Corryn Clemence, CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of P.E.I.

"It started earlier than we would normally see, and I think that was really that pent-up demand of not being able to travel and explore for a couple of years.

"People were raring to get going. So it was nice to see us start our season earlier."

The best comparison is looking at June numbers this year against those of June 2019:

  • Total room nights sold this June were 83,630, compared to 75,433 in the same month of 2019.

  • Golf rounds sold in June 2022 surpassed the same month three years earlier by more than 7,000.

  • And campground sites sold were up more than 2,400 from three years before.

Another figure showing a recovery: The number of room nights available, reflecting how many operators opened up for the season. That capacity shrunk by about a quarter at the start of the pandemic, from 187,913 in 2019, but this year it had returned almost to pre-COVID levels, at 172,489.

CBC
CBC

There's also been a return of cruise ship traffic this year and a significant marketing effort from the province, including television advertising.

'Still concerned'

But this year has also seen a significant snag, as labour shortages compelled operators including restaurants and hotels to run below capacity, taking fewer reservations or curtailing hours.

"We're still concerned with the labour shortages and making sure our industry can meet that demand and hopefully exceed expectations," said Clemence.

Kerry Campbell/CBC
Kerry Campbell/CBC

July and August are still the months that make or break tourism on the Island.

The tourism association wants to wait to see numbers for those months to find out if the record-breaking pace has continued.

Clemence says the industry is optimistic that the early indicators show the lean times for the industry due to COVID-19 are over, and businesses can move from survival mode back into growth.

This is the first summer in three years that P.E.I. has had no visitor restrictions tied to the pandemic — and another set of numbers demonstrate the difference dramatically.

Comparing this June to last, traffic on the Confederation Bridge connecting P.E.I. and New Brunswick was up 421 per cent and air traffic was up 1,332 per cent.