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Maritime tourist season off to a rocky start with wildfires, Fiona recovery

Despite two hurricanes, a global pandemic and soaring inflation in the past four years, the mood among tourism operators in the Maritimes is optimistic.

“We’ve heard from a lot of our operators that bookings are really strong, really into the fall,” said Corryn Clemence, Tourism Industry Association of PEI CEO.

“I think that they’re coming back. What type of traveller that is we’ll be paying close attention to.”

The CAT ferry in southwest Nova is showing good ridership so far this season, but short of its pre-pandemic peak.

There’s also been a slowdown as news of wildfires in Nova Scotia spreads. Some tourism operators in Cape Breton say they have felt that, despite not seeing any fires in the area.

“We’ve heard that some operators have received cancellations as a result of the perception out there,” said Terry Smith, Destination Cape Breton CEO.

Many of the tourist attractions in Cape Breton are wilderness adventures hit by activity bans in the woods, however those have been lifted.

“It’s safe to go out in the woods and our trails are open,” said Smith.

“Our waterfalls are flowing. We’ve received some rain in the past few days, which makes them even better, and it’s still just an awesome time to visit.”

The shoulder season is particularly important for Cape Breton, which has been working to position itself as a leading off-peak destination.

Smith said they’re trying to restore the public’s confidence.

Back on P.E.I., there are some worries higher prices will affect tourist habits.

“We’ve heard, anecdotally, from some of our operators, that six or seven-day bookings are now three or four days, but on the flip side of that I think we’ve seen more bookings,” said Clemence.

Clemence says it doesn’t look like a reduction in tourist activity, but a change in the kind of trips visitors take -- what that means for revenues isn’t clear. Top Stories

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