The Province of New Brunswick has released its tourism data for 2022, showing numbers are higher than those from one year ago, according to a report by CTV News.
According to the tourism department of the province, the total sales of rooms from January to September increased from 707,386 to 2021 to 1,105,674 in the year prior.
Annick Robichaud Butland, the owner of ABConnect Travel and the president of the Albert County Chamber of Commerce, is the reason for this.
“For 2022, it was the first year that was fully open to all markets for the entirety of the year. So it gave us a chance to have more of a normal year and getting back to regular numbers,” said Robichaud Butland.
However, the increase in overnight visitors after the pandemic is significant. Tourists from the United States saw a rise of 414%. Ontario visitors witnessed an increase of 144%. It was 85% in Quebec and 115% across Canada.
It’s a positive sign, but the numbers can’t be more positive as the border is being opened again. The chief executive officer of the Tourism Industry Association of New Brunswick said that the numbers should be taken with some caution, but it’s still positive news.
“Honestly, you need to take the positives where the positives are rather than looking backward,” said Andrew McNair. “You know, it’s good to see people traveling again and things returning to where they should be.”
McNair said that the overall figures are different from what they were before the pandemic. However, people are looking for new experiences within New Brunswick, and the province is working to take advantage of this.
“They’ve done a really good job at focusing on what tourism is looking like and what tourists are looking for. They’ve shifted somewhat to outdoor adventure tourism and a lot of that type of product,” said McNair.
The number of visitors to provincial parks grew from 695,100 in 2019 to 810,510 in 2022. Bookings for campsites rose to what the province claims are likely to be a record with 86,678 reservations.
McNair said that after being placed in lockdown, people in the nearby provinces and states are seeking new destinations to visit.
“Tourism is evolving, and what tourists are looking for and what they’re wanting is evolving a bit, too,” said McNair. “Post-pandemic, people are doing a little more outdoor activities.”
“We’re really nice,” laughed Robichaud Butland. “Actually, our Maritime friendliness. I know it’s been said time and time again, but it’s true. People like the laid-back lifestyle, the open space. It’s not crowded. It’s safe. So those are definitely draws that we have.”
The AREA 506 Waterfront Container Village, located in Saint John, recently won a Canadian Tourism Award in the innovation category, and the Heritage Path Tour in the Elsipogtog First Nation won in the Indigenous category.