March 8, 2010
FREDERICTON (CNB) - Close to 1.2 million tourists visited key provincial attractions in New Brunswick last year, helping to boost tourism numbers for 2009.
Provincial campsite rentals jumped by 14 per cent, with New Brunswick resident visitation, regional tourists and a recovery in visits by Quebec tourists restoring tourism numbers to 2007 levels.
"More New Brunswickers opted to stay closer to home and discover the sights and attractions available in their own backyards this past year," said Hédard Albert, acting minister of tourism and parks. "This offset the impact of a national trend last year that favoured 'staycations.' "
New Brunswick hosted the Congrès Mondial Acadien, which proved a major draw for tourists to the Acadian Peninsula. The Village Historique Acadien had 66,000 more guests, an increase of 55 per cent, compared to 2008.
Close to 175,000 persons, representing an increase of 12 per cent, visited the Hopewell Rocks. Nearly 44,000, representing an increase of 11 per cent, visited the Fundy Trail Parkway.
Last year was not without its challenges. The damp weather in June stalled the start of what proved to be a positive season for many tourism operators. Accommodation room sales dipped by two per cent in comparison to 2008. Meanwhile, accommodation occupancy rates decreased throughout Atlantic Canada. The Conference Board of Canada reported a decrease of six percentage points in the national occupancy rate.
Joanne Bérubé-Gagné, president of the Tourism Industry Association of New Brunswick, hoped the upward trend will continue in 2010.
"A sense of optimism can be felt in preparing for the 2010 season." she said. "We are still navigating troubled water; our tourism operators are staying on course, however, and that is a positive."
Details for the 2009 tourism season are available online.
MEDIA CONTACT: Paul Harpelle, communications, Department of Tourism and Parks, 506-444-4454, firstname.lastname@example.org; Joanne Bérubé-Gagné, president of the Tourism Industry Association of New Brunswick, 506-737-6920.