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September 3, 2008
For immediate release

Air, Motorcoach and Cruise Travel up in the Month of July


Tourism indicators for the month of July were released today and airport activity was up 18%. This is due in part to an increase in Overseas travelers to Prince Edward Island. Room-nights sold to Overseas travelers were up almost 6%. Motorcoach travel is up over 18% year-to-date, while cruise ship passengers are up 102% for the year.

In addition, visitor inquiries at the call centre are up 13% and the number of kits mailed-out is up 30%.

Other indicators are showing declines. A strong Canadian dollar, record-high gas prices and a slowing global economy have presented challenges for the tourism industry across Canada. Performance indicators regionally and nationally also indicate that tourism is experiencing decreased visitations.

“The decline in numbers is of concern, knowing how important the tourism industry is to the economy of the Province,” said Valerie Docherty, Minister of Tourism. However, we need to realize when looking at year-to-date figures, visitation is down only 1% overall. There have been national concerns raised over decreased tourism and we are feeling those effects as well. Tourism PEI, along with its industry partners, must continue to work aggressively to attract visitors through strategically planning to build those numbers.”

The ferry traffic is down by 11% and bridge traffic is down by 22% compared to July 2007. The room-nights sold for the month of July decreased in all regions of the Island.

Kevin Murphy, Chair of the Tourism Advisory Council (TAC) also commented on the numbers. “Room nights sold across the province are down anywhere from 1.4% in the South Shore region to 16.5% in the Points East region for the month of July, confirming that Prince Edward Island is feeling the same crunch as our regional and national counterparts. The decrease in bridge and ferry traffic, year to date has been offset somewhat by increases in niche markets such as motorcoach, cruise and overseas visitation this year. At this point, TAC is focusing on 2009 and continuing to address the variables in the industry and economic outlook by emphasizing product development as the cornerstone to strengthen our industry, in tandem with new ways of communicating with consumers through the Integrated Tourism Solution.”

Tourism performance indicators are released to the public monthly and can be downloaded at


Overall Numbers for Tourism

• Canadians traveling to the U.S. is up 9.2% from June 07-June 08. This trend started a slow reversal five months ago.

• US travel to Canada is down 15.8% through June 08. (PEI is down 15.2% YTD)

• Overseas travel to Canada is up 2.6% (PEI is up 10.2% YTD)

• The latest tourism reports from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are from June. It appears their experience has been the same as ours.

• Weather in June and July was good.

June's average maximum temperature was 19.2C, in line with historical averages.

June had 61mm precipitation vs. 87.5mm historically.

July average maximum temperature was 25.4C vs. 23.1C historically.

July precipitation was only 34mm vs. 78.5mm historically.

• Ontario June 2008 over 2007: Trips from U.S. to Ontario posted a decline of 16.5%.

• Travel by Ontarians to the U.S. increased by 5.8, while travel to overseas countries increased by 8.9%.

• Occupancy rates in Ontario hotels were down by 1.9 percentage point.

Media Contact: Julie Whitlock
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