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Boardwalk leading to a lookoff on the Skyline Train in Cape Breton Highlands National Park.

September 2020 Tourism Performance Statistics Now Available

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Tourism Nova Scotia gathers and reports tourism statistics on behalf of the tourism industry. Updated tourism statistics are now available at

Year to Date September 2020 Accommodations Activity in Nova Scotia

Accommodations operators across the province report 955,000 room nights sold year to date September 2020, a decrease of 56% compared with the same period in 2019.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to weigh heavily on Nova Scotia’s fixed roof accommodation providers, with a decline of 54% in room nights sold in September alone (a difference of 169,000 room nights sold compared with September 2019). Although severe, the September 2020 losses represent an ongoing improvement since May, when monthly room night sales were down 77% compared with the same period in 2019. Over the summer and early fall, the size of the monthly decline steadily narrowed, suggesting growing interest and confidence in travel within the Atlantic ‘bubble.’

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

According to AirDNA data, for the period of year to date October 2020, there were 292,000 room nights booked through sharing economy platforms, a decrease of 34% compared to the same period in 2019.
Room nights booked through sharing economy platforms were down by 32% in October and by 46% in September, compared with the same months last year.

September Non-resident Visitation

Non-resident visitation to Nova Scotia was down 71% in September 2020 compared to the same month the previous year. According to statistics gathered by Tourism Nova Scotia, there were 66,000 non-resident visitors to Nova Scotia in September, with 8,000 arriving by air (down 92%) and 58,000 arriving by road (down 54%).  The decline in visitation by road in September was lower than in August when the number of visitors by road was 67% fewer than in August 2019.

Atlantic Canadians made up a higher share of visitors to Nova Scotia in September 2020 compared to the same period in previous years. Atlantic Canadians typically account for about one-third of overall September visitation (with 35% of visitors being Atlantic residents in September 2019). This year, 52,900, or 81% of September visitors were Atlantic Canadians. In addition, 18% of September visitors were from other regions of Canada (compared with 44% in September 2019), and 1% were US/overseas visitors (compared with 21% in September 2019). All visitors from outside of Atlantic Canada are required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arriving in Nova Scotia.

Tourism Nova Scotia’s operations were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and we were unable to conduct enumeration activities between mid-March and July 2020. Our enumerators were able to resume work at the beginning of August. In the meantime, we are working to develop estimates of visitation for the March-July period, and will publish these at a later date.

Year to Date September/October 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 COVID-19 pandemic.

As of the end of October 2020, the number of passengers boarding aircraft at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport reached 454,000, a decline of 75% compared with the same period in 2019. For the month of September 2020 there were 23,000 enplanements, a decrease of 88% compared with September 2019. For the month of October there were 22,000 enplanements, down 89% compared with October 2019.