Skip to main content
Peggys Cove Lighthouse

Updated Tourism Indicators Now Available

Friday, September 18, 2020

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

Nova Scotia Room Nights Sold (TNS Accommodations Database)
Accommodations operators from across the province report 647,000 room nights sold year to date July 2020, a decrease of 56% compared with the same period in 2019.

Room nights sold in June and July illustrate the severity of the impact of the pandemic on Nova Scotia’s tourism industry.

  • 74% decline in room nights sold in June (loss of 200,000 room nights)
  • 67% decline in room nights sold in July (loss of 250,000 room nights)

The percentage decline of room nights sold in July was lower than in June, suggesting that Nova Scotians became more comfortable travelling around the province as public health orders eased and the opening of the Atlantic Bubble facilitated more travel by Atlantic Canadians to Nova Scotia. Tourism Nova Scotia, regional marketing organizations, and tourism businesses also began marketing to Nova Scotians and Atlantic Canadians in July.
All regions of the province have seen significant declines in room nights sold as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. To the end of July, Cape Breton has experienced the largest percentage decline of 60%, while the lowest declines are recorded in the Yarmouth & Acadian Shores* (down 48%) and Eastern Shore (down 46%).
At this time, we are able to report room nights sold to the end of July 2020. To ensure confidentiality of individual businesses, Tourism Nova Scotia cannot report accommodations statistics until a sufficient number of accommodations have reported their occupancy data. Accommodations operators were significantly affected by the pandemic, which has made it challenging for Tourism Nova Scotia to collect sufficient accommodations data to permit publication. Tourism Nova Scotia staff have been reaching out to accommodations operators to help them with their reporting.

*The decline of 48% in room nights sold in the Yarmouth and Acadian Shores region follows the decline of 22% YTD July 2019, reflecting the ferry not operating.

Sharing Economy Platforms Activity in Nova Scotia
According to AirDnA data, for the period of January to August 2020, there were 227,000 room nights booked through sharing economy platforms, a decrease of 32% compared to the same period in 2019.

Room nights booked through sharing economy platforms were down by 40% in July 2020 and 42% in August 2020, compared to the same months last year.

Visits to
Visits to are up 74% in August compared to 2019, which suggests people are interested in planning Nova Scotia vacations as a result of marketing efforts to local and regional audiences. 

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 International Airport, which is a good indictor of how visitation to Nova Scotia is being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of the end of August 2020, enplanements reached 409,000, a decline of 71% compared with the same period in 2019.  For the month of August 2020, there were 29,000 passenger enplanements, a decrease of 88% compared with August 2019.

Non-Resident Visitation
With respect to non-resident visitation, 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 expect to be able to publish these later this fall.

Tourism Revenue Forecast (September 2020)

A best-case forecast based on information available as of September suggests tourism revenues will not surpass $900 million this year. That’s a $1.7 billion decline from 2019’s estimate of $2.6 billion.

The assumptions for the September update to the best-case tourism revenue scenario for 2020 are:

  • Typical tourism demand from January to mid-March.
  • No tourism demand from outside Nova Scotia from mid-March to June. Minimal demand from Nova Scotia residents during this period.
  • Starting in July, moderate recovery among Nova Scotia resident travel within the province. Same-day travel recovery stronger than overnight travel.
  • Starting in July, weak to moderate recovery in tourism demand from New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, primarily road
  • Starting in October, weak recovery in tourism demand, primarily by road, from rest of Canada.
  • No tourism demand from US from mid-March to end of year.
  • No tourism demand from other international markets from mid-March to end of year.
  • No cruise.

Of the $900 million estimate, $600 million is from Nova Scotians travelling within the province, and $300 million is from non-resident visitors. This estimate will be updated monthly to reflect changes to the travel assumptions mentioned above.