HALIFAX -- With COVID-19 putting much of the tourism season on hold, one New Brunswick village says its season is already underway, and going strong.

The village of St. Martins, N.B., is seeing lots of visitors these days, many of them visiting the area for the first time.

Some believe the proximity to the 30-kilometre Fundy Trail Parkway -- situated along the rugged Fundy coastline -- plays a big factor in the area’s tourism, even during a pandemic, as it offers lots of space.

“It has the built-in social-distancing. All that stuff incorporated in it, you know,” said Jason Myers, who was visiting the village from Fredericton on Tuesday.

While other major tourist attractions in the Maritimes have yet to open -- and some won’t be opening at all -- the parkway opened on schedule and, so far, the decision is paying off.

In the first 10 days of the park’s operation in 2020, the Fundy Trail has seen a 45 per cent increase in traffic, compared to last year.

“On the bikes, we look for any excuse, in this situation, to go anywhere,” said Myers, who has been doing day trips on his bike.

The trail authority says a lot of people are visiting the park for the first time, and they plan to return

“We certainly sense from the phone calls and inquiries that we’re receiving that many of the people coming are new to the Fundy Trail Parkway,” said Fundy Trail general manager, Nancy Lockerbie.

“The season pass sales, to date, are up about 70 per cent over last year.”

Randy Barton, a restaurant owner in St. Martins, says he’s happy he decided to open up once the trail did.

“On the past weekend, Friday was very busy, Sunday was very busy. Saturday was a little slower because it was cold out here and nobody really came out to the trail Saturday, but we still had a half decent day,” said Barton.

The Fundy Trail Parkway hopes the increase in visitors will continue once other tourist attractions begin to open their doors this summer.