SUMMERSIDE – Tourism in Summerside had positive signs in 2013 and shows potential for moving forward, says Duke Cormier, president of Tourism Summerside.
© MIke Carson/Journal Pioneer
Duke Cormier, (second right), president of Tourism Summerside delivers his report at the group’s annual general meeting, Wednesday. Taking part in the meeting are (from left) Tourism Summerside executive director Carolyn Thorme, treasurer Richard Corkum, and director Kevin Mouflier.
Cormier told the group’s annual general meeting Wednesday that the 2013 tourism indicator numbers show Summerside experienced some growth.
“The way the numbers are recorded now, they come to us in North Cape Coastal Drive numbers,” he said. “We got the province to break out the Summerside numbers.
Summerside numbers from 2005 to 2012 average out to be 83.2 per cent. If there are 100 room nights in North Cape Coastal Drive numbers, 83.2 per cent of those were in Summerside,” he explained
Cormier said that based on that formula, there were over 100,000 rooms recorded for North Cape Coastal Drive of which 85,736 room nights sold in Summerside in 2013.
“The number was an increase of 5.9 per cent which was the highest increase in Prince Edward Island,” he said. “Points East was the second, Red Sands was the third. The other two areas, Cavendish and Charlottetown were both down slightly.
“I guess that’s slightly good news. It’s better being on that side of the legend than the other. We still need to do better. There’s still a lot more work to do but this is a step in the right direction.”
Cormier said in 2012, over 116,000 people came to Summerside.
He said the exit survey showed “45,937 parties visited Summerside in 2012: 18,000 were on holidays, 5,000 were short getaways, and 12,000 were visiting family and friends, 1,100 were visiting a second home, between 3,300 and 3,400 were here for a festival, and 6,100 were other visits.”
He said 25,000 of those were two adults travelling together, 5,000 were alone and 15,000 were family groups.
“The total number of visits was 116,426 people,” Cormier said. “That’s a lot of people.
That, for me, was the one (figure) the stuck out.
“Sometimes you’re getting beat up on tourism. Sometimes, you want the numbers to grow and you want these fantastic growth figures, and sometimes you don’t take time to realize, whether we grew or not, that year there were 116,000 people who visited the community in some form or fashion.”
In 2013, Tourism Summerside asked the city to increase the hotel levy from two to three per cent and that will take place March 1.
Cormier said, “$25,000 is going to Meetings and Events P.E.I. The other will go into the levy which should realize around $15,000 (more) to work with.”
In regards to Meetings and Conventions P.E.I., the Summerside tourism industry needs to “get its head around” how to get meetings and conventions to Summerside.
“There’s a brand new building in Charlottetown,” he said. “It’s a wonderful facility that’s going to bring all kinds of people to Prince Edward Island, but we’ve got to find a way to get some of them here in Summerside. Hopefully, that $25,000 is going to be a step in that direction.”
Cormier said Summerside needs to be market-ready.
“We need to have product here that’s going to be able to encourage that convention visitor to say, ‘Let’s take a look at the west end of P.E.I.,’” he said.