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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 Year-to-Date June Visitation Statistics 2023

Year-to-Date June 2023

June 2023 Visitation

Nova Scotia welcomed 212,000 visitors in June 2023, down 1% (1,000 fewer visitors) compared with June 2022, and down 7% (17,000 fewer visitors) compared with June 2019. Visitation has seen steady recovery since the end of the pandemic, and June is the first time since 2021 that monthly visitation has not increased compared with the same month in the previous year. 

Of those visitors in June, 123,000 arrived by road, a 1% decrease (1,000 fewer road visitors) compared with June 2022, and a decrease of 16% (23,000 fewer road visitors) compared with the same month in 2019.  89,000 visitors arrived by air in June 2023, the same number as in June 2022, and an 8% increase (6,000 more air visitors) compared with the same month in 2019.

Most of the decline in visitation in the month of June, relative to pre-pandemic visitation levels of 2019, is a result of fewer visitors from Atlantic Canada. A total of 78,000 Atlantic Canadians arrived in June, down 20% (or 19,000 fewer Atlantic Canada visitors) compared with June 2019. In contrast, visitation from other Canadian markets was higher in June compared with 2019. For example, 65,000 visitors arrived from Ontario (up 8% against June 2019) and 12,000 visitors arrived from Quebec (up 15%). 

The international picture was mixed, with 22,000 visitors arriving from the United States (a decline of 27% against June 2019), and 10,000 visitors arriving from overseas (an increase of 37%).

Despite softness in visitation from Atlantic Canada, travellers from this region still make up the largest share of visitors, accounting for 37% of the monthly total in June 2023. Ontario visitors made up 31% of the June total, while US and overseas visitors accounted for 10% and 5% respectively.

Year-to-Date June Visitation

Year-to-date June 2023, a total of 772,000 visitors have come to Nova Scotia, an increase of 33% (191,000 more visitors) compared with the same period in 2022, but down 9% (77,000 fewer visitors) compared with 2019.

Of those visitors, 476,000 arrived by road (up 35% over the same period in 2022 and down 18% compared with 2019). Meanwhile, 296,000 visitors arrived by air (up 30% over the same period in 2022 and up 10% over 2019).

Although visitation from overseas and visitors arriving by air are up so far this year compared with 2019, there is concern about these markets due to the loss of direct flights into Halifax.

Nova Scotia experienced significant wildfires at the end of May that lasted for several weeks, followed by a historic rainfall and flooding event across parts of the province in mid-July. Both received media coverage outside the province, and Tourism Nova Scotia continues to assess the potential impact of these and other recent weather-related events on travel to the province.

Non-resident Visitors to Nova Scotia:

Bar graph comparing monthly visitation from January to June 2023 to same months in 2022.

2022 Visitation to Nova Scotia

Visitation to Nova Scotia recovered substantially in 2022, with Nova Scotia welcoming 1.9 million visitors, an increase of 1 million visitors compared with 2021. Visitation did not reach pre-pandemic levels, with 2022 representing a decline of 18% (or 415,000 fewer visitors) compared with 2019. 

Of those visitors, 1.2 million arrived by road (up 82% compared with 2021 and down 25% compared with 2019). Meanwhile, 725,000 visitors arrived by air (up 198% compared with 2021 and down 4% compared with 2019).

Although Atlantic Canadians continued to represent the largest share of visitors, accounting for 41% of overall visitation in 2022, visitation from Atlantic Canada did not recover to the same extent as other markets and was down by 31% compared with 2019. Visitation from Ontario was strong, representing 31% of overall visitation, up 1% compared with 2019. Visitors from Quebec accounted for 5% of visitors, down 9% compared with 2019.

Visitors from the United States accounted for 7%, down by 41% compared with 2019, while overseas visitation accounted for 5% of visitors, and was unchanged from 2019 at 86,000 visitors in 2022. 

Non-resident Visitors to Nova Scotia:

Bar graph comparing monthly visitation in 2022 with visitation in 2021 and 2019.

See Full-year 2022 Visitation Statistics

See 2022 Tourism Performance Report

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.