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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

Non-resident Visitation YTD April 2022

Nova Scotia saw continued recovery in non-resident visitation in the first four months of 2022, with the pace of recovery strongest among air travellers. Year-to-date April 2022, 219,000 non-resident visitors came to Nova Scotia, a 217% increase compared with 2021 (a difference of 150,000 visitors), but a 52% decline compared with 2019 (238,000 fewer visitors). 

Non-resident Visitors to Nova Scotia:

Bar graph comparing non-resident visitors to Nova Scotia from January to April 2022 with visitation in the same months in 2021. A line shows visitation in 2019.

In the month of April 2022, 77,000 non-resident visitors arrived in Nova Scotia, an increase of 273% (or 56,000 more visitors) compared with April 2021, and a decline of 39% (or 50,000 fewer visitors) compared with April 2019. 

Of those visitors in April, 43,000 arrived by road, an increase of 129% (or 24,000 more road visitors) compared with April 2021, and a decline of 51% (45,000 fewer road visitors) compared with April 2019. Meanwhile, 34,000 visitors arrived by air, an increase of 1,802% (or 32,000 more visitors) compared with April 2021, and a decline of 12% (or 5,000 fewer visitors) compared with April 2019. 

Across road and air, Atlantic Canada was the source of 55% of all non-resident visitors in April. Ontario accounted for 26% of overall visitation, while the United States and overseas accounted for 6% of overall visitation.
 

Passenger Enplanements at Halifax Stanfield International Airport YTD April 2022

While passenger enplanements are not representative of visitation to Nova Scotia, they reflect passenger traffic (both Nova Scotians and non-resident visitors) at the Halifax airport, which is a good indicator of how travel to Nova Scotia is being affected by the pandemic.

Year-to-date April 2022, enplanements totalled 267,000, a 500% increase over the same period in 2021, and a decrease of 55% compared with 2019.

Passenger Enplanements at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport:
Bar graph comparing passenger enplanements at Halifax International Airport YTD April 2022 with 2021 and 2019.

In the month of April enplanements reached 102,000, an increase of 802% over the same month in 2021, and down 42% compared with April 2019.

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.