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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.
 

January 2021 Non-resident Visitation

Non-resident visitation to Nova Scotia was down 83% in January 2021 compared with January 2020. According to statistics gathered by Tourism Nova Scotia, there were 16,000 non-resident visitors to Nova Scotia in January, with 12,000 arriving by road (down 81%, or 51,000 fewer visitors) and 4,000 arriving by air (down 88%, or 30,000 fewer visitors).

Atlantic Canadians made up a somewhat higher share of visitors to Nova Scotia compared with previous years. In January 2021, Atlantic Canadians accounted for 79% of overall visitors, compared with 62% in January 2020. Visitors from other parts of Canada accounted for 20% of overall visitation to Nova Scotia, while visitors from the US and overseas accounted for 2% of overall visitation. All visitors, with the exception of those arriving from Prince Edward Island, were required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arriving in Nova Scotia in January.
 

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.