September 8, 2006
For immediate release
July Tourism Statistics Show Decline Over 2005
During the month of July 2006, statistics show that nonresident bridge traffic decreased 8% and ferry traffic decreased 6%. Fixed roof accommodations experienced a 1.7% decrease in occupancy rate for the month, levelling at a 60% occupancy rate province-wide. Air traffic continues to be strong with a 9% increase in July over 2005 resulting in a 27% increase in air traffic from January to July.
“We aren’t alone in the trend experienced in the early part of the summer,” noted Honourable Philip Brown, Minister of Tourism. “But that is little consolation and creates a stressful situation for many operators who rely on strong visitations for the peak summer months. We are working with industry partners and concentrating on changes that can be made to reverse the trend. We are investing an additional $100,000 in the fall campaign. This radio, newspaper and email campaign will concentrate on informing Maritimers of all the things there are to see and do on the Island this fall. There is optimism for fall travel as higher-income, empty-nesters enjoy our fall activities and prefer our cooler temperatures.”
Prince Edward Island is not alone in experiencing declines in tourism activity. Nova Scotia reported a 12% decline for visitations for the month of July and recent media has revealed that the eastern coast in Canada and the United States experienced similar drops in early summer. Like PEI, other reporting regions site weather fluctuations, soaring gas prices, war and security concerns and, for Canadian provinces, the rise in the Canadian dollar has meant that travellers are more easily drawn to the US.
“It has been a challenging peak season for leisure travel,” noted David MacKenzie, Chair of the Tourism Advisory Council. “As other destinations have commented, there is no one reason to pin point, rather there is an array of external factors that come into play. We continue to assess all tourism performance indicators and have recently conducted consumer research that will be pivotal in the planning process for 2007. Our Five-Year Strategy for tourism growth is sound and the Gentle Island brand positioning has tested extremely well in key markets. We are working harder than ever to find new ways to grow our market share, identify emerging markets and travel trends in order to grow visitation.”
Tourism performance indicators are released to the public monthly and can be downloaded at www.gov.pe.ca/tourism.