Tourism industry disappointed but not surprised to hear no large gatherings this summer

·3 min read
Corryn Clemence, CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of P.E.I., says the industry will have to get creative again this summer. (Brian Higgins/CBC - image credit)
Corryn Clemence, CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of P.E.I., says the industry will have to get creative again this summer. (Brian Higgins/CBC - image credit)

Tourism industry officials on P.E.I. say they aren't surprised P.E.I.'s Chief Public Health Office will not allow large events this summer, but it's still a disappointment.

Dr. Heather Morrison confirmed at Tuesday's COVID-19 briefing that there will not be large mass events either indoors or out this summer, saying she expects that most of the visitors to P.E.I. will come from the other Atlantic provinces.

Corryn Clemence, CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Prince Edward Island, says concerts and festivals will hopefully be re-invented in some way.

"Our industry is built on creativity and innovative operators and entrepreneurs, so I think now we take that information and we continue to work with the CPHO and the Department of Tourism to see what we can do and what will entice those visitors to come."

TIAPEI is nonetheless optimistic that this summer will be better than last, she added.

Clemence said drive-in music festivals could be a possibility, as could assembling visitors into a number of smaller groups rather than one big one.

Last year, the DiverCity multicultural festival moved online. Manager Mark Carr-Rollitt said this year's festival will take place in some form. He said he is awaiting clear direction from the CPHO and will then plan accordingly.

Mark Carr-Rollitt, manager of the DiverCity multicultural festival, says he is awaiting clear direction from the Chief Public Health Office about rules and will then plan accordingly.
Mark Carr-Rollitt, manager of the DiverCity multicultural festival, says he is awaiting clear direction from the Chief Public Health Office about rules and will then plan accordingly. (Laura Meader/CBC)

"If you have an event where everyone is on the street and you have the vibe of the street and people can dance and you know the food and the smells ... that's irreplaceable really," he said.

"But you know you have to work with what you got right? So, if we ended up doing a virtual event again this year, we learned things from last year that we would incorporate into it. You know if that's what we do, that's what we do."

Canada Day celebrations

Canada Day celebrations are also up in the air.

Laurel Lea, the tourism officer for Charlottetown, said as the birthplace of Confederation, there will be some kind of celebration.

"It is still too early to speculate on the specifics of such celebrations," she said.

"However, we are planning for in-person activities. The type of activities and size of gatherings permitted will be based on public health guidelines provided to us by CPHO in the lead up to the festivities."

Mitch Shea, Summerside's marketing and promotions co-ordinator, said the celebration could look similar to last year with a live stream of the civic ceremony and activities that adhere to the restrictions in place, such as a Canada-Day-themed scavenger hunt and a home decorating contest.

"Or if restrictions are eased, the celebration would be more similar to previous years with fireworks, Canada Day event grounds, live entertainment and more."

North Rustico Deputy Mayor Les Standen said they will not have fireworks or a parade, but hope to do as much as they can.

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