Tourism companies see little difference in week 4 of Atlantic Bubble
HALIFAX -- Maritimers working in the tourism industry say although we’re in week four of the Atlantic Bubble, some businesses still aren't seeing the increase in visitors as expected.
Moe Basque, who works in a restaurant in St. Andrews, N.B., says most of their business is coming from within the province.
"The vast majority of people are coming from the Moncton area, Saint John, Quispamsis, Fredericton," said Basque. "Got a couple from Grand Falls."
Local whale watching companies say they too are feeling the impacts from COVID-19, even with interprovincial travel now allowed.
"Where are these folks coming from? New Brunswick, all the way," said Hannah Longmire, an employee at a whale watching company. "We have occasional Nova Scotia customers come and call in, but it's mainly the '506'."
It's not only smaller towns feeling the impact either. Companies in larger cities also say they're still waiting for the increase in tourism visitors.
"You know, the Bubbles have been open now for two or three weeks. We are seeing some plates around," said Saint John Mayor Don Darling. "There were two Nova Scotia sailboats at our new docks at Market Slip, but it's limited."
"We're stuck in a trend of local business, that’s the bottom line," said campground owner Howard Heans. "And peak season, once peak season is over in the second week of August, what's going to come after that?"
Although some are still struggling, others say the Atlantic Bubble is exactly what they needed during such a difficult time.
"This year, we've been trying to keep track and we're seeing a lot from New Brunswick, some from P.E.I. Not a lot from Newfoundland yet, but I think that's because it's a long drive," said Halifax shop owner, Susanna Franklin.
"Yeah, we've definitely noticed things starting to pick up with the Atlantic Bubble," said tour boat captain Kirsty Gilmore.
"Yesterday was probably our busiest day so far, so that's great. We've got people from New Brunswick, P.E.I., and all around Nova Scotia coming in."
Many communities say those out-of-province travellers make a huge difference on their business during the tourism season.
"Nova Scotia is very critical to our success because they're usually the ones that book the hotel rooms," said St. Andrews Deputy Mayor Brad Henderson. "New Brunswickers will generally come down and day-trip, and although the food and beverage shops, they're benefiting from that."
"The hotels really need the out-of-province people to have a successful season."
Although some companies are still struggling to keep their doors open, most say during these difficult times throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, any additional business is welcome.