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Businesses in Shediac, N.B., lose out on Quebec tourists

New Brunswick businesses still struggling after Atlantic bubble opened
WATCH: Even with the Atlantic bubble now open, fewer guests are spending the night in New Brunswick. Shelley Steeves reports the drop in tourism is devastating for some operators.

Businesses in Shediac, N.B., that depend on tourism continue to face financial struggles amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Even with the Atlantic bubble now open, overnight stays in the first three weeks of July in New Brunswick are showing a decline and weekly overnight accommodations are down by almost 65 per cent over 2019, according to the New Brunswick Department of Tourism.

Christine MacDonald has been managing the Harbour Crew and Co. gift shop in Shediac for the past 10 years. She says her shop is typically packed to the rafters with vacationers from across Quebec at the end of July.

Read more: New Brunswick announces that it will open border to Quebec communities for day trips

“It would be wall-to-wall and it would be because of the Quebec holiday,” she said.

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She is referring to Quebec’s two-week mandatory vacation for construction workers between July 19 and Aug. 1. She said with the border still closed to Quebec vacationers amid COVID-19, traffic in the parking lot of the tourism destination has been sparse.

MacDonald says her sales are down more than 65 percent.

“It is a lot slower,” she said.

The Travel Lady: Canadian travel update
The Travel Lady: Canadian travel update

She said she is getting some traffic from local “staycationers” but said the locals not overly interested in buying travel mementos.

Nor are they eating out much, says the owner of the Lobster Deck Restaurant in Shediac.

“Ever since the Atlantic bubble opened I have not seen a difference,” Ben Landry said.

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Instead, Landry said business has been steadily declining into July.

Read more: New Brunswick offers funds for restaurant training videos

Traffic at hotels and motels is also on the decline, according to the province.

According to figures provided to Global News by New Brunswick Department of Tourism communication officer Robert Duguay, the number of people staying in overnight accommodations across the province actually decreased in the first three weeks of July and overnight stays are about one-third what they were at the same time in 2019.

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