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July 2021 Non-resident Visitation

July 2021 Non-resident Visitation

In March 2020, Nova Scotia implemented a province-wide shutdown due to COVID-19. In response, 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, 2020 visitation data is not available for comparison with some months in 2021. Tourism Nova Scotia is developing estimates for the months that enumeration did not occur and will report these at a later date.

There were 135,000 non-resident visitors to Nova Scotia in July 2021, according to statistics gathered by Tourism Nova Scotia. That represents a 65% decline from July 2019. Most visitors to Nova Scotia in July arrived by road (123,000), with only 12,000 arriving by air.

July results are in marked contrast to visitation levels during the first six months of 2021 –visitation in the month of July accounts for 56% of year-to-date July visitation to the province. 

As of the end of July, there have been 241,000 non-resident visitors to Nova Scotia year to date. That represents an 80% decline compared with the same period in 2019 (a difference of 989,000 visitors).

Non-resident Visitors to Nova Scotia:

Bar graph comparing non-resident visitation YTD July 2021 to the same period in 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.