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Year to Date 2020 Key Tourism Performance Indicators

Tourism Nova Scotia gathers and reports tourism statistics on behalf of the tourism industry. These statistics help inform our decision-making process, help describe visitors to Nova Scotia, and can be used by tourism businesses and organizations for planning and business development.

See Full Tourism Performance Indicators YTD November 2020

Year to Date November 2020 Accommodations Activity in Nova Scotia

Accommodations operators across the province report 1,197,000 room nights sold year to date as of November 2020, down 54% compared with the same period in 2019. 

All regions of the province have seen declines in room nights sold as a result of COVID-19. Year to date November, Halifax and Cape Breton have experienced the largest year to date percentage declines of 58% and 55% respectively. The smallest year to date declines are in the regions of Eastern Shore (down 38%) and Yarmouth & Acadian Shores* (down 31%).

Nova Scotia’s fixed roof accommodation providers continue to suffer the effects of the pandemic, with the number of room nights sold in the month of November down 42% (a difference of 74,000 room nights sold compared with November 2019). However, the November losses reinforce a trend of steady improvement, with the size of the monthly declines narrowing consistently since May, when monthly room nights sold were down 77% compared to the same month in 2019. 

Looking specifically at the month of November, the greatest declines in room nights sold were in the region of Halifax, down 55% over the same month the previous year, and in the Bay of Fundy and Annapolis Valley region, down 30%. There was a notable contrast in November between the Halifax region (down by 55%) and the rest of the province outside Halifax (down 17%).

This difference is partly a result of recent activity in the Yarmouth and Acadian Shores region, where room night sales were up 66% compared to November 2019, an increase of 2,600 room nights. As in October, some of the large accommodation providers in the region attribute the activity to major construction projects pushing demand for overnight accommodations.

*The year to date November 2020 decline of 31% in room nights sold in the Yarmouth and Acadian Shores region follows a decline of 21% YTD November 2019, reflecting the ferry not operating in 2019.

Nova Scotia Room Nights Sold (TNS Accommodations Database):

Bar graph showing decline in accommodations room nights sold from January- November 2020 compared with the same period in 2019.

Campground Activity

Between June to October 2020, campground activity ranged from a high of 174,000 campground site nights sold in August (down 32% from the same month in 2019) to a low of 42,000 site nights sold in October (down 30%).

Notably, the percentage decline in campground site nights sold was less pronounced than that of room nights sold. Between June and October, site night losses ranged between -17% and -40% on a monthly basis, while room night losses ranged between -45% and -74% over the same period. This suggests that while the pandemic depressed sales for both accommodation types, it was less severe for campgrounds, which likely saw greater benefit from Nova Scotians and perhaps other Atlantic residents travelling within the Atlantic bubble.

Year to Date December 2020 Sharing Economy Platforms Activity in Nova Scotia

According to AirDNA data, between January and December 2020, there were 327,000 room nights booked through sharing economy platforms, down 33% compared to the same period in 2019.

Room nights booked through sharing economy platforms were down by 32% in the month of December, compared with the same month the previous year.

Room Nights Booked Through Sharing Economy Platforms:

Bar graph showing decline in bookings through sharing economy platforms from January- December 2020 compared with the same period in 2019.

Year to Date December 2020 Passenger Enplanements at Halifax Stanfield International Airport

While passenger enplanements are not representative of visitation to Nova Scotia, they reflect passenger traffic (both Nova Scotians and non-resident visitors) at the Halifax airport, which is a good indicator of how travel to Nova Scotia is being affected by the pandemic.

Year to date December 2020, enplanements reached 492,000, a decline of 76% compared with the same period in 2019. For the month of December 2020 there were 19,000 enplanements, down 87% compared with December 2019. 

Passenger Enplanements at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport:

Bar graph showing decline in passenger enplanements from January - December 2020 compared with the same period in 2019.

Tourism statistics are compiled from a variety of sources, including:

  • In-person surveys administered to passengers at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport
  • Motor vehicle enumeration at the Nova Scotia – New Brunswick border
  • Passenger information from ferry operators
  • The Nova Scotia Visitor Exit Survey
  • Operator accommodation occupancy reports
  • Cruise passenger data from Halifax Port Authority and Sydney Ports Corporation
  • Data from Halifax International Airport Authority
  • Attendance data from select tourism operators
  • Room rate data from CBRE Limited
  • Visitor data from provincial and community visitor information centres
  • Data collected by AirDNA regarding room night bookings through sharing economy platforms

These statistics reflect the combined efforts of tourism businesses, organizations, communities, and governments, and include activities by both Nova Scotians and non-resident visitors. There are many factors that contribute to tourism industry performance including events, weather, gas prices, air capacity, currency fluctuations, geo-political circumstances, and industry initiatives such as marketing. Tourism Nova Scotia is just one organization among many contributing to tourism growth. We support tourism growth through marketing in key national and international markets, support for experience and business development, and visitor servicing. For more information about Tourism Nova Scotia's strategy and performance, please see Plans & Reports.