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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 January - December 2020

See Full Tourism Performance Indicators January 2021

2020 Accommodations Activity in Nova Scotia

January – December 2020 Accommodations Activity

Nova Scotia’s accommodations providers suffered the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Accommodations operators across the province report 1,253,000 room nights sold in 2020 overall, down 54% (a decline of 1,472,000 room nights)  compared with 2019. 

All regions of the province saw declines in room nights sold. In 2020, Halifax and Cape Breton experienced the largest declines of 59% and 54% respectively. The smallest 2020 declines were in the regions of Eastern Shore (down 38%) and Yarmouth & Acadian Shores* (down 29%). 

*The year to date December 2020 decline of 29% in room nights sold in the Yarmouth and Acadian Shores region follows a decline of 20% in 2019, reflecting the ferry not operating in 2019.

Looking specifically at the month of December, the number of room nights sold across the province was down 48% (a decline of 59,000 room nights sold compared with December 2019). 

The greatest decline in room nights sold in December was in the region of Halifax, down 60% from the same month in 2019. This contrasts with the rest of the province, which experienced a less severe decline in room nights sold, down only 25% compared with December 2019. The largest decline in room nights sold outside Halifax was in the Bay of Fundy and Annapolis Valley region, down 38% from last year. Meanwhile, there were small increases in room nights sold in the South Shore (up 4% compared with December 2019) and Yarmouth and Acadian Shores (up 17%) regions.

Nova Scotia Room Nights Sold (TNS Accommodations Database):

Bar graph showing decline in room nights sold in Nova Scotia between January and December 2020 compared with the same months in 2021.
 

June – October 2020 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 -47% and -75% 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.

January 2021 Accommodations Activity

Accommodations operators across the province report 72,000 room nights sold in January 2021, down 42% (a difference of 52,000 room nights sold compared with January 2020). The COVID-19 pandemic did not reach Nova Scotia until March 2020.

Nova Scotia’s fixed roof accommodation providers remain critically challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic. As was the case through much of 2020, Halifax continued to experience the highest decline in room nights sold of any region in the province, down 55% in January over the same month last year. By comparison, room nights sold across the province outside of Halifax were down 13% in January over the same month last year. Cape Breton, which had suffered consistently high losses in 2020, was down only 2% in room nights sold in January 2021. Meanwhile, the most positive activity was in the South Shore region, where room nights sold were up 13% in January over the same month last year.
 

January – 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 with 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.

January 2021 Sharing Economy Platforms Activity in Nova Scotia

According to AirDNA data, in January 2021 there were 15,000 room nights booked through sharing economy platforms, down 17% compared with January 2020.

January - 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.

January 2021 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.

In January 2021, enplanements reached 14,000, a decline of 88% compared with January 2020. 
 

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.