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‘Demand is high’: Experts predict big year for N.S. tourism despite extreme weather


Despite a difficult summer in Nova Scotia — from wildfires to floods — the province remains open to tourism.

Industry experts say the recent weather emergencies have not kept tourists away. They predict it will be another comeback season after several tough pandemic years.

Some tourists say they kept a close watch on both events — but didn’t change their plans.

“I mean, we considered it, but no, we made the plans, we were going to come no matter what and we didn’t have any trouble anywhere,” United States resident Mark Scheumann said.

He travelled to the Atlantic region from Iowa and was walking along the Halifax waterfront on Tuesday.

Discover Halifax, a marketing organization that promotes the city, says demand is high. Visitors have been arriving from across Canada and internationally.

“This year we’re seeing our visitation and our rooms sold actually up almost 15 per cent compared to last year,” CEO Ross Jefferson said. “Last year was a record-breaking year.”

He adds that hotels have been needed amid the extreme weather.

“The hotel community has been receptive and accommodating in some of these community challenges we’ve been facing,” Jefferson said.

He’s also hopeful for the rest of the season, saying many events are planned throughout the region, including the Halifax Busker Festival, which is expected to attract around 200,000 people to the area over six days.

“We can average anywhere from 30,000 to 80,000 depending on the day and the weather,” Halifax Busker Festival senior event director Christina Edwards said.

More than a dozen performers from across the globe will take to stages along the Halifax and Dartmouth waterfronts starting Wednesday evening.

“This year, knock on wood, the weather is looking really great this week,” said Edwards. “We’re hoping that one of the events in this city gets to have a week without rain.”

Last month, Global News spoke with Atlantic Splash Adventure in Hammonds Plains, which reported a slow start to its season amid excessive rainfall in early July.

The park is now hopeful for a strong finish.

“People don’t necessarily come out unless it’s an absolutely perfect bright sunny day with no clouds, no showers,” general manager Kirsten Godbout said. “Things definitely turned around last week — we’ve gotten busier again.”

Godbout is optimistic more sunny days are ahead.

Scheumann says he’s happy he made the trip to the province.

“We’ve thoroughly enjoyed being in Canada, the people have been very kind and friendly to us,” he said.


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