Tourism sector 'pleasantly surprised' by high visitor numbers, TIAPEI says

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The Tourism Industry Association of P.E.I. says the sector was "pleasantly surprised" by the strong number people visiting the province this summer.

Corryn Clemence, the organization's CEO, said in an interview with CBC News: Compass they were happy and suprised to see the amount of visitors coming to the Island during what's usually peak tourist season, something that wouldn't be surprising were it not for COVID-19.

But she said the sector continued to face some challenges, particularly from ongoing labour shortages.

"It was difficult for a lot of our operators to try to plan in the spring, when they'd traditionally do that hiring," Clemence said. "They would ramp up for that full summer season and we really weren't sure what the season was going to bring for, you know, the bulk of the industry."

Clemence said there are many factors related to the pandemic which made it hard for businesses to find enough workers.

"We lost a lot of employees throughout the pandemic because of closures and restrictions, and we didn't get those people back," she said.

"A lot of our operators ... were offering more money and we were still struggling to see those positions filled. And, again, we would've had international students, so it was really the perfect storm to create that labour shortage that we're seeing."

She said the industry is hoping 2022 will see a return to normal.

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