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Visitation Statistics

Tourism Nova Scotia gathers and reports tourism statistics on behalf of the tourism industry. These statistics help inform our decision-making, help describe visitors to Nova Scotia, and can be used by tourism businesses and organizations for planning and business development. As tourism indicators are compiled from several sources, data becomes available at different times. Tourism Nova Scotia reports the most up-to-date statistics available so reporting timelines for each indicator may differ.

See 2022 Year-to-date Visitation Statistics

August 2022 Non-resident Visitation to Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia welcomed 331,000 non-resident visitors in August 2022, a 42% increase (99,000 more visitors) compared with the same month in 2021, and a decline of 20% (83,000 fewer visitors) compared with August 2019. In contrast, visitation in each month of June and July 2022 was down less than 10% against the same months in 2019.

Of visitors in August, 208,000 arrived by road, a 16% increase (28,000 more road visitors) compared with August 2021, and a decline of 27% (or 77,000 fewer road visitors) compared with August 2019. 

Meanwhile, 123,000 visitors arrived by air, an increase of 134% (71,000 more air visitors) compared with August 2021, and a decrease of 4% (6,000 fewer air visitors) compared with the same month in 2019. This marks the first time since April that air visitation volumes are lower than the corresponding month in 2019.

August Visitor Origin

Overall, by road and air, Ontario was the largest source of non-resident visitors in August, accounting for 37% of all visitors (3,000 fewer visitors than in August 2019), followed by Atlantic Canada, which provided 28% (50,000 fewer visitors than August 2019). The United States provided 9% of all visitors in August (29,000 fewer than August 2019). There were also 21,000 overseas visitors in August, the highest number since the start of the pandemic, accounting for 6% of the total. Overseas visitation was up 23% relative to August 2019 (4,000 more visitors), indicating that while recovery slowed in August among other source markets, overseas visitation has recovered and continues to grow.

Much of the slowdown in August can be attributed to fewer Atlantic Canadians coming to Nova Scotia. Atlantic Canadians accounted for 34% and 35% of all visitors in August 2018 and 2019 respectively, compared with only 28% of visitors in August 2022. 

Year-to-Date August 2022

Year-to-date August 2022, 1.3-million non-resident visitors have come to Nova Scotia, an increase of 169% (or 791,000 visitors) compared with the same eight months in 2021, and a decline of 23% (or 385,000 fewer visitors) against the same period in 2019.

Non-resident Visitors to Nova Scotia:

Bar graph comparing non-resident visitation to Nova Scotia January - August 2022 with same period in 2021. Line represents 2019 visitation as a base line.

August 2022 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, as well as connecting passengers) at the Halifax airport, which is a good indicator of how travel to Nova Scotia is recovering from the pandemic.

In August 2022, Halifax enplanements were 212,000, up from 93,000 in August 2021, and representing a decline of 13% compared with August 2019. 

Year-to-date July 2022, Halifax enplanements total 968,000, up from 195,000 in the same period in 2021, and down 32% compared with 2019.

Passenger Enplanements at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport:

Bar graph comparing passenger enplanements at Halifax International Airport from January to August 2022 with the same period in 2021. A line represents 2019 enplanements as a baseline.

2021 Non-resident Visitation

See the 2021 Tourism Performance Report (PDF)

See 2021 Visitors by Origin (PDF)

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%, visitors from Western Canada made up 10%, 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.

Non-resident Visitors to Nova Scotia
Bar graph comparing non-resident visitation in 2021 to 2019 by month.

About Visitation Statistics

Visitation 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
  • Data from Halifax International Airport Authority
  • Visitor data from provincial and community visitor information centres
  • Cruise passenger data from Halifax Port Authority and Sydney Ports Corporation
  • Attendance data from select tourism operators

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.