Promise of Atlantic bubble hasn't materialized for Maritime campground owners
CARTERS POINT, N.B. -- The promise of the Atlantic bubble has been burst for some struggling campgrounds in the Maritimes, which aren't seeing a major increase in bookings.
While tourism within the provincial borders is providing some additional business, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to complicate this summer season.
Harding's Point Campground has been in business since 1961, and in all that time, owner Howard Heans has never experienced a season quite like this.
"I didn't think I'd ever face a pandemic in my 59th year, but I have," he said.
Facing a pandemic meant overnight business to the campground was essentially non-existent for the month of June.
Since the Atlantic bubble came into effect on July 3, their phones started to ring, but they're mostly for weekend bookings.
"Bookings for weekly stays are definitely increasing, but we need, we hope the business through the week gets a little stronger, because right now, it's mainly weekend business," Heans said.
Fundy National Park started gradually offering camping services two weeks ago, and business is bouncing back.
The park says that, since June 25, they've added close to 2,000 new reservations, and the expectation is that they will be full for most weekends and long weekends for the remainder of the summer.
In Hammonds Plains, N.S., Karrie-Ann Buchanan owns the Woodhaven RV Park. She was hopeful the bubble would bring on more bookings, but that isn't the case.
"When it was announced that we were going to have an Atlantic bubble, we were very excited," Buchanan said. "As soon as it was announced, I got two phone calls, but no, nothing has changed with the bubble opening."
Jessie Somers of Somers By The Beach Campground in Murray Harbour, P.E.I., says because her business mostly caters to Islanders, the bubble could be hurting instead of helping.
"Really, I noticed a day after the bubble was announced that I started to get some cancellations," Somers said. "I didn't ask why, but I'm assuming people from P.E.I. were going off island, maybe on a little vacation to get away, maybe to see family."
It's a season of uncertainty that, for many in the campground industry, is just another sign of the times.