CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – Prince Edward Island will likely surpass the one million mark for overnight stays for the first time in 2017.
There were 938,277 overnight stays in roofed accommodations and campgrounds recorded in the provincial government’s September tourism indicators released Nov. 2. That represents a 6.5 per cent increase year to date compared to 2016.
All regions in the province are up over 2016 in terms of room nights sold. The most impressive growth is in Red Sands Shore and North Cape Coastal Drive, which are up 8.9 and 7.1 per cent, respectively.
Scott Smith, general manager of the West Point Lighthouse, said the inn and museum saw its best year ever.
“The feedback from our guests was overwhelmingly positive," he said. "We only had nine rooms unoccupied during the entire month of August, and September was very busy too, so to say this was a banner year would be an understatement."
All entry points posted increases through September year to date. The Confederation Bridge is up 2.4 per cent, the Charlottetown Airport is up 5.7 per cent, and Northumberland Ferries is up by 24.6 per cent after a reduced schedule in 2016.
Room nights sold at roofed accommodations saw an increase of 4.1 per cent, and perhaps most impressive, site nights sold at local campgrounds increased by 10.8 per cent on the year through September.
Heath MacDonald, minister of economic development and tourism, said one million overnight stays would be “an incredible milestone” for the Island’s tourism industry, as well as a a validation of the efforts by its members to make P.E.I. a world-class tourism destination.
“We may be a small Island, but we know how to make big things happen, and the consistent strength of our tourism industry creates jobs and prosperity for Islanders and shows just how much we have to offer here.”
MacDonald said because the season was so strong, the province opted to keep the day-use provincial parks open for an extra month.
“We are also keeping the Charlottetown Visitor Information Centre open and staffed through November given the number of visitors still looking for service.”
Tourism is a primary industry in Prince Edward Island and a key driver of economic development that provides over 7,700 direct jobs and contributes approximately $430 million to the provincial economy.
RELATED: Click here for the full September tourism report.