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August 2021 Non-resident Visitation

August 2021 Non-resident Visitation

Nova Scotia welcomed 232,000 non-resident visitors in August 2021, according to statistics gathered by Tourism Nova Scotia. August marks the highest level of visitation to the province this year, with nearly 100,000 more visitors in August compared with July. While this represents very strong performance under COVID-19 conditions, August visitation remains well below that seen in 2019, down 44%.

August also marked the first month where the province saw a significant level of visitation by air, with 53,000 visitors arriving in Nova Scotia by air. Visitation by air in August is more than double the total visitation by air between January and July of this year. 

In the month of August, 180,000 visitors arrived by road, representing an increase of 89% compared with August 2020, but down 37% compared with 2019.

Year to date August 2021, there have been 474,000 non-resident visitors to Nova Scotia. That represents a 71% decline compared with the same period in 2019 (a difference of 1,171,000 visitors).

A year-to-date comparison with 2020 is not yet available, as Tourism Nova Scotia suspended enumeration activities at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport and at the Nova Scotia-New Brunswick border between March and July 2020, as a result of the province-wide COVID-19 shutdown. Tourism Nova Scotia is developing estimates for the months that enumeration did not occur and will report these at a later date.

Non-resident Visitors to Nova Scotia:

Bar graph showing decline in non-resident visitors to Nova Scotia YTD August 2021 compared with 2019.

2020 Non-resident Visitation

Tourism Nova Scotia is unable to report full, year-end visitation for 2020 at this time, due to the suspension of enumeration activities at various times of the year as a result of COVID-19 safety concerns. We are developing estimates of those months when enumeration did not occur and will report those at a later date. 

In the months of 2020 where visitor enumeration did take place, a total of 511,000 non-resident visitors arrived in Nova Scotia (down 60% from the same seven months in 2019). That includes 411,000 visitors by road (down 50% from the same seven months in 2019) and 99,000 visitors by air (down 78%).

Non-resident Visitors to Nova Scotia:

Bar graph showing decline in non-resident visitors to Nova Scotia from August to December 2020 compared with the same months in 2019.
Non-resident visitation to Nova Scotia was down 82% in December 2020 compared with December 2019, as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to impact travel. According to statistics gathered by Tourism Nova Scotia, 21,000 non-resident visitors arrived in Nova Scotia in December, including 16,000 arriving by road (down 80%, or 62,000 fewer road visitors) and 5,000 arriving by air (down 86%, or 29,000 fewer air visitors). 

Atlantic Canadians made up a higher share of visitors to Nova Scotia compared with previous years. In December 2020, Atlantic Canadians accounted for 83% of overall visitors, compared with 65% in December 2019. Visitors from other parts of Canada accounted for 16% of overall visitation to Nova Scotia in December 2020, while visitors from the US and overseas accounted for 1% of overall visitation. All visitors, with the exception of those arriving from Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador, were required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arriving in Nova Scotia in December.

About Visitation Statistics

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.

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

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.