Numbers show more New Brunswickers are exploring their own province
HALIFAX -- Data provided by the Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture show more New Brunswickers are enjoying the tourism aspects of their own province this year compared to last.
"We've seen an increase in New Brunswickers getting outside and going camping, and we also see trends," said the director of parks for the province of New Brunswick Allen Bard.
"What we've been seeing in general is people getting out, cycling, hiking, walking, but also camping."
Bard said it was hard to predict what would happen this summer but after isolation and provincial parks reopened, almost 7,000 New Brunswickers have visited parks compared to last year's numbers.
In 2019, the number of campsites booked at provincial parks in May, June, and July totaled 40,324; 23,747 of which were New Brunswickers.
This year, the total number dipped to 31,894, but of that number, 30,863 have been New Brunswickers.
Tourists from other provinces were not allowed to visit New Brunswick until July 3 when the Atlantic Bubble was put into place allowing visitors from Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
"You're hard to get a camp spot in some of our parks here, down south in particular," explained Bard. "Some of our parks up north through aren’t doing as well because of the Quebec bubble. They're very dependent on the Quebec market."
Mount Carleton Provincial Park says they've seen almost a 10 per cent increase in their visitors.
Of the 31,894 visitors this summer, just over 1,000 of them are from outside of New Brunswick; only about 3 per cent of the total.
"I do think that people are travelling from other provinces but one thing about the Atlantic region is that there are a lot of family connections," said Fredericton chamber of commerce CEO Krista Ross.
"So perhaps they're travelling within the Atlantic Bubble but not necessarily taking advantage of hotel stays and restaurants."
Bard said staff was nervous about enforcing COVID-19 measures, but so far visitors have been respectful and no one has had to be removed from the park for not following the rules.
"I think people have discovered New Brunswick for the very first time so, it's good that way. It's made people realize we have beautiful things here," said Bard.
Staff from provincial parks says they're now working on getting more visitors to Northern New Brunswick parks.