Oct. 5, 2009
EDITOR'S NOTE: Tourism and Parks Minister Stuart Jamieson today released the following statement regarding the 2009 tourism season:
The return of school buses and the first hints leaves changing colour are both sure signs that we are beginning the slow transition into fall - what we in the tourism sector refer to as the shoulder season.
Despite the predicted challenges resulting from the global economic slowdown and the damp beginning to our summer, I am encouraged by the early numbers indicating that visits at many of the province's major tourist destinations are up over last year.
At the end of August, visitor traffic at Hopewell Rocks had increased by 15 per cent over last year; Kings Landing Historical Settlement reported an eight per cent increase in visits year-over-year; revenues at Parlee Beach were up by 18 per cent at the end of August; and visits to the Fundy Trail Parkway in August were up by nearly 14 per cent.
New Brunswick was proud to host the Congrés Mondial Acadien this summer, which, based on media reports, drew an estimated 50,000 visitors to the Acadian Peninsula. The Village Historique Acadien, in which we invested more than $5 million for infrastructure improvements in preparation for the event, enjoyed a significant 44-per-cent increase in visitor traffic. I have no doubt that this international gathering, and our government's investments, will have a lasting and positive impact on tourism in northern New Brunswick.
Our provincial parks also experienced higher volumes of traffic, with campsite night rentals up by 12 per cent. I am particularly pleased to note that Mount Carleton Provincial Park in northwest New Brunswick, where we made significant improvements in the past two years by upgrading services and infrastructure, saw an increase of more than 50 per cent in camper visits.
New Brunswickers played a key role in contributing to these positive numbers. Many of the operators of our attractions noted an increase in regional traffic, which our department highlighted as an important target in our spring marketing campaign. As we move into our fall and winter tourism season, I encourage more New Brunswickers to take the time to discover the many diverse tourism products that exist in their own backyards.
As we look forward to 2010 and continued growth in our tourism sector, it is essential that we improve and build on the experience of tourists who make New Brunswick their vacation destination. That very reason is why our department has made significant investments in upgrading and improving the infrastructure and services at many of our tourist attractions.
I am excited by the new product development and marketing directions that the department is working on with our industry operators. We have begun collaboration with our new marketing agency, and are looking forward to our 2010 campaigns.
Tourism is big business and a major contributor to the economy of New Brunswick. It represents 3.2 per cent of the provincial gross domestic product, which is more than fisheries, farming and forestry combined.
I look forward to the introduction of a new provincial tourism strategy in 2010, a strategy that supports job creation, revenue generation, and ultimately contributes to a self-sufficient New Brunswick.