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Saint John sees boost in tourism-related numbers

Click to play video 'Saint John tourism-related stats show big jump' Saint John tourism-related stats show big jump
WATCH: A lot of attention has been focused on the city of Saint John’s difficult economic situation. But some recent statistics show reason for optimism. Andrew Cromwell reports.

Even as the City of Saint John deals with a difficult economic situation, recent statistics are showing a more optimistic view when it comes to tourism.

Discover Saint John, the city’s destination marketing organization, says the hotel occupancy rate for June is up by more than 20 per cent over June of last year.

“I think that we are really gaining some ground with our marketing partnerships, and being out in the right markets at the right time and talking to the right clients,” said Victoria Clarke, Discover Saint John’s executive director. “We do a lot of work getting festivals and events here and meetings and conventions here.”

READ MORE: Saint John mayor says city is in ‘crisis’, demands new deal with province

Gilliane Nadeau is a Saint John tourism operator who has also seen an upswing.

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“I think some of that can be attributed of course to Canada 150 with events happening all year long, so we’re seeing a lot of locals that are choosing to stay in Canada this year,” Nadeau said.

There were some visiting the city on the cruise ship Grandeur of the Seas, however, who found themselves wanting for more information before they disembarked.

WATCH: Saint John Mayor Don Darling delivered what he described as a candid and blunt assessment in his first State of the City speech. Andrew Cromwell reports

Click to play video 'Saint John in ‘crisis’ situation: Mayor Don Darling' Saint John in ‘crisis’ situation: Mayor Don Darling
Saint John in ‘crisis’ situation: Mayor Don Darling

“I didn’t know what I was going to do in Saint John other than going to the natural sites of the Bay of Fundy and the (Reversing Falls) Rapids,” explained Rosalba Stocco, a cruise ship passenger from Rockwood, Ont.

But Clarke says there are many ways to access information when you’re in the city.

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“We are an innovator in this industry. We have e-kiosks throughout the city that you could print out walking directions, you can find everything you want,” she explained.

READ MORE: Saint John summit next step in Neighbourhood Action Plan

So with Saint John seemingly riding the tourism wave, Clarke says growth continues to be on the horizon.

“It is a combination of (U.S.) exchange, right message to the right audience at the right time and, you know, Canada is sexy.”