Shediac, N.B. tourism industry hopeful sunny forecast will offset rainy day losses

Click to play video: 'N.B. tourism industry hopes heatwave helps drive business'
N.B. tourism industry hopes heatwave helps drive business
WATCH: The lobster festival in Shediac, N.B. is a crucial time of year for tourism in the coastal town. Tourism-based businesses there are hoping the current heatwave will help make up for the business they lots due to a particularly rainy month of June. Suzanne Lapointe reports. – Jul 6, 2023

The Pointe-du-Chêne wharf opened a week later than its usual May long weekend start date due to ongoing repairs caused by Hurricane Fiona in September 2022.

Victor Cormier, the wharf’s general manager, said the recent rainy weather has also had a negative impact on the start of tourist season.

“When it rains, it basically becomes a ghost wharf,” he said.

“We’re 12.5 per cent less on revenue than we were doing last year.”

The wharf’s revenue comes from multiple streams, such as admissions, marina use and leasing some land to businesses like Captain Dan’s restaurant.

He said on rainy days, roughly one 100 people might visit the wharf, versus five or six hundred on a sunny day.

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He said the repairs on the wharf haven’t been completely tallied yet, but he estimates the cost is between 2.5 to 3 million dollars.

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“As we go along we find out there’s new damages that we weren’t really aware of,” he said.

He’s hopeful the wharf will be able to break even if the weather keeps up through July and August.

Shediac Lobster Festival President Pascal Haché said it was tough to see the first five days of the festival happen on rainy days.

“For us, it’s financially very tough to plan ahead, so this year we tried a 50/50 (draw) to kind of just make a fund that would help us if ever we had bad weather for the full week,” he said.

“When you have bad weather for the full week it can be very tough on the finances,” he said.

The festival usually brings in an average of 30 to 50,000 people each year.

Haché said roughly 60 per cent of the tourists are New Brunswickers from other parts of the province.

“So the daytrippers, they come up for the day and leave, but our out-of-province tourists are here, and they’re looking to be entertained and have fun,” he said.

He’s hopeful that the sunny forecast for the last four days of the festival will allow for Shediac’s businesses to get the usual traffic boost the festival provides.

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He said the festival organizers were planning on a larger scale for the festival’s 75th year in 2024.

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