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Statistics Show Nova Scotia’s Tourism Industry Beginning to Recover

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Nova Scotia’s tourism industry experienced devastating impacts due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021. However, the industry began to rebound in the second half of last year, giving optimism for a strong recovery. 

Here are some key figures from the 2021 tourism performance statistics:

  • In 2021, Nova Scotia welcomed a total of 882,600 visitors. Based on visitation estimates for 2020, visitation was up 13% in 2021 compared with the first year of the pandemic, an increase of 103,000 visitors.  However, compared with 2019, before the pandemic began, visitation was down 62% (or 1.4-million fewer visitors). 
    • Overall, Atlantic Canadians made up 50% of all non-resident visitors through 2021, while visitors from Ontario made up 30%, visitors from Quebec made up 6%, and US and overseas visitors accounted for 4% of visitation.
    • A total of 639,300 visitors arrived by road in 2021, down 1% compared with 2020 and down 59% compared with 2019.
    • Meanwhile, 243,300 visitors arrived by air in 2021, an increase of 82% compared with 2020, but a decrease of 68% compared with 2019.
  • Visitation estimates for 2020 were not previously available as data collection was paused in some months due to pandemic restrictions. Tourism Nova Scotia has now developed an estimate of full-year visitation using available data sources. Approximately 779,000 non-resident visitors came to Nova Scotia in 2020, a decrease of 66% compared with 2019 (down 1.5-million visitors). 
  •  Accommodation operators report a total of 1,797,000 room nights sold in 2021, up 45% compared with 2020, but still down 34% compared with 2019.
  • According to data from the CBRE Hotels National Market Report, the average room rate for Nova Scotia accommodations was $116 in 2021, an increase of 5% over 2020, and a decline of 21% compared with 2019.
  • According to AirDNA, an estimated 393,000 room nights booked through sharing economy platforms in 2021, an increase of 22% compared with 2020 and decrease of 19% compared with 2019. 

See the 2021 Tourism Performance report or find the data tables at:
Key Tourism Indicators: 

Tourism revenues are estimated to have reached $1.0 billion in 2020, a decline of $1.6 billion from 2019, and are expected to be similar in 2021. Further information about tourism revenues will be shared once formal estimates are complete.