New numbers from Statistics Canada show that New Brunswick tourism lags behind the national average when comparing numbers from 2019.
Their latest report showed a massive decline across Canada when comparing numbers to pre-pandemic times.
New Brunswick’s tourism numbers are twice below the average and are currently the worst in Atlantic Canada. The survey indicates that the province is three times behind its closest competitor Nova Scotia, which is among those above the national average.
The numbers show that tourism increased in July 2020 and July 2022 by 30 per cent. Those stats still kept numbers below 2019 levels, however. Tourism throughout New Brunswick has yet to see a boost from their 2019 numbers, the report says.
Only Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador have noticed increases from numbers three years prior.
In October 2022, New Brunswick saw the highest difference in numbers in all of Canada, with stats close to six times beyond the national average. The maritime province has been behind that statistic in nearly every month since May 2022.
In a January release, the province said more than 100,000 people worldwide attended the World Junior Hockey Championship games in Moncton. Those numbers were still well below the stats from 2022, sitting at a weighted average of -0.1557. The statistics proved to be the lowest in Canada during that time.
While the numbers may point towards a tough season for New Brunswick, tourism operators in the province are reveling in what they called a successful season following a boom in cruise tourism.
Operators told Global News that Canadian tourism and a busy Port of Saint John created a better-than-expected summer.
“The ships that came post-COVID were larger ships than we were used to seeing in the region,” told Dennis Campbell, CEO of Ambassatours Gray Line, which provides bus tours in Saint John.
“So, we broke some records in terms of capacity and tours.”
New Brunswick Department of Tourism spokesperson Danielle Elliott told Global News in a statement that the province “relies on its own measures to monitor activity and growth within the industry,” noting that they don’t rely on numbers from Statistics Canada.
The province “is on the path to recovery following the pandemic and positioned to resume pre-pandemic growth trends,” Elliott said.
The department said they had an increase of 1.5 million visitors to New Brunswick between 2021 and 2022.