With less border restrictions, more tourists are arriving and booking campgrounds
ALBERT BRIDGE, N.S. -- Campgrounds across Nova Scotia have suddenly gotten pretty busy.
If the August long weekend was a litmus test for how the industry has been doing now that things have opened up a bit, it appears that the lull has passed.
"We were sold out," said Darrell Bernard, the co-owner of the Kluskap Ridge Campground in Englishtown, N.S.
He says being filled to capacity on the long weekend was a chance to make up for lost money.
After very little traffic the first month they were open, during the third wave back in the spring.
"We've got campers coming in from Ontario, New Brunswick, Quebec, and we've got bookings from Americans," Bernard said. "They're coming - sooner or later, I know."
Lee Fraser is the owner of Live Life in Tents, which is based in the Margaree area.
"You know, everything around here in rural Cape Breton's quite busy," Fraser says. "The traffic has picked up."
While he says they have been at, or near, capacity themselves, he wants to see the success shared with other accommodations and businesses all along the Cabot Trail.
"A lot of businesses that we deal with, that we send people to, were feeling the hit," Fraser said. "So, hopefully, they -- everybody -- gets a slice of the pie this year."
Nova Scotia's Department of Lands and Forests is responsible for provincial park campgrounds.
A spokesperson tells CTV News that for the month of June, camper nights increased by 36 per cent compared to the same month in 2019 - before the pandemic.
For July, camper nights were up three per cent compared to two years ago.
Terry Smith is the CEO of Destination Cape Breton.
"Just in the last couple of weeks, we've really seen that the traffic is picking up," Smith says.
He says after a slow start to the season in July, the recent influx of campers is having an impact on the bottom line.
"Whether that's in restaurants, or gas stations, or going to various attractions," Smith said.
Bernard recommends anyone looking to camp the rest of the summer book at least a couple of weeks in advance.