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Higher-spending Visitors Drive Nova Scotia’s Tourism Revenue Growth

April 16, 2019

Last year was Nova Scotia’s best tourism revenue year on record despite a modest decline in visitation.

Tourism revenues reached an estimated $2.61 billion, a 0.3 per cent increase, compared to updated 2017 revenue estimates of $2.60 billion.

About 2,413,000 non-resident overnight visitors came to Nova Scotia last year. This represented just 0.8 per cent or 19,500 fewer visitors than in 2017 which saw the highest visitation in Nova Scotia’s history. Visitation has increased by 27 per cent or 500,000 more visitors compared with 2013.

2018 highlights, compared to 2017 include:

  • an increase in air visitors, making 2018 the third consecutive year of growth in visitation by air. Air visitors are higher spending visitors
  • visitation by road decreased three per cent, or by 49,900 visitors
  • visitation from overseas markets grew 15 per cent, or by 13,900 visitors, which marked the fifth straight year of growth in visitation from overseas markets
  • licensed room nights sold across the province reached 2.8 million, an increase of one per cent
  • room nights booked through a sharing economy platform, including both licensed and unlicensed accommodations, reached approximately 426,000, an increase of 85 per cent

“These results reflect the fantastic work our entire tourism industry is doing to offer experiences that appeal to travellers,” said Geoff MacLellan, Minister of Business. “As a result, people are coming from farther away and spending more money in our communities.”

Nova Scotia’s tourism industry is working to reach $4 billion in tourism revenues by 2024, a goal identified by the Ivany Commission in 2014.

“To put it simply, we need to attract higher spending out-of-region visitors to achieve the $4 billion goal,” said Michele Saran, CEO, Tourism Nova Scotia. “That’s the focus of our tourism growth strategy and these results show we’re on the right track.”

Tourism Nova Scotia has identified strategic game changing opportunities that Nova Scotians will need to embrace to reach $4 billion in tourism revenues.

Those opportunities include improving the supply and quality of accommodations, increasing air capacity from key markets, attracting more visitors from China, addressing labour challenges, extending the tourism season and continued strategic marketing.

For full 2018 tourism results and updated tourism revenue information, visit

Download the 2018 Tourism Performance Media Kit.