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Peggys Cove, Nova Scotia

Tourism Statistics

Tourism Nova Scotia gathers and reports tourism statistics on behalf of the tourism industry. These statistics help inform our decision-making process, help describe visitors to Nova Scotia, and can be used by tourism businesses and organizations for planning and business development.

Tourism statistics are compiled from a variety of sources, including:

  • In-person surveys administered to passengers at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport
  • Motor vehicle enumeration at the Nova Scotia – New Brunswick border
  • Passenger information from ferry operators
  • The Nova Scotia Visitor Exit Survey
  • Operator accommodation occupancy reports
  • Cruise passenger data from Halifax Port Authority and Sydney Ports Corporation
  • Data from Halifax International Airport Authority
  • Attendance data from select tourism operators
  • Room rate data from CBRE Limited
  • Visitor data from provincial and community visitor information centres

These statistics reflect the combined efforts of tourism businesses, organizations, communities, and governments, and include activities by both Nova Scotians and non-resident visitors. There are many factors that contribute to tourism industry performance including events, weather, gas prices, air capacity, currency fluctuations, geo-political circumstances, and industry initiatives such as marketing. Tourism Nova Scotia is just one organization among many contributing to tourism growth. We support tourism growth through marketing in key national and international markets, support for experience and business development, and visitor servicing. For more information about Tourism Nova Scotia's strategy and performance, please see Plans & Reports.

Year to Date 2020 Tourism Indicators

Year to Date April 2020 Accommodations Activity in Nova Scotia

Accommodations operators across the province report that 397,000 room nights were sold between January 1 and April 30, 2020, a decrease of 31% or 178,000 fewer room nights sold, compared with the January to April period in 2019.

This decline reflects the impact of COVID-19, with significant declines in room nights sold in March (-45%) and April (-75%). Across the province, the decline in room nights sold in April 2020 ranges from -82% in the Cape Breton region to -62% in the Eastern Shore region.

Nova Scotia Room Nights Sold (TNS Accommodations Database):

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Year to Date June 2020 Sharing Economy Platforms Activity in Nova Scotia

Data collected by AirDNA shows room nights booked through sharing economy platforms reached 121,000 as of the end of June 2020, a decrease of 21% from the same period in 2019. Although room nights booked through sharing economy platforms show significant declines in April (-24%), May (-49%), and June (-48%), booking through sharing economy platforms do not appear to have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to the same degree as other accommodations during this period.

Room Nights Booked Through Sharing Economy Platforms:

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Year-to-date June 2020 Passenger Enplanements at Halifax Stanfield International Airport

Passenger enplanements at Halifax Stanfield International Airport reached 360,000 as of the end of June 2020, down 63% compared with the same period in 2019. Looking at the April-June period, passenger enplanements are down by 96%, or 528,000 fewer passengers, compared with the same period in 2019. Passenger enplanements indicate the number of people who boarded an aircraft. While passenger enplanements are not representative of visitation to Nova Scotia, they reflect passenger traffic (both Nova Scotians and non-resident visitors) at the Halifax International Airport, which is a good indictor of how visitation to Nova Scotia is being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Passenger Enplanements at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport:

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See the complete Year to Date Tourism Performance Indicators (as of August 7, 2020).

2019 Nova Scotia Tourism Indicators

Nova Scotia Visitation – 2019

Approximately 2,301,000 non-resident overnight visitors came to Nova Scotia in 2019, a decline of 5% or 112,300 fewer visitors compared with 2018. Visitation by air declined by 8% (-62,200). Visitation by road decreased by 3% (-50,100) from 2018.

Overnight Visitors to Nova Scotia 2019

Visitor Origin 2019
Non-resident Visitors
Change vs 2018
% Number of Visitors
Canada 1,983,000 -4% -90,800
Atlantic Canada 1,108,000 -4% -51,300
Quebec 112,000 -6% -7,800
Ontario 577,000  -4% -23,500
Western Canada 185,000 -4% -8,300
United States 232,000 -1% -3,400
Overseas 86,000 -17% -18,100
Total 2,301,000 -5% -112,300

Three external events contributed to the decline: 1) the grounding of the Boeing MAX aircraft resulted in a significant decline in air capacity from overseas markets, as well as a decline in domestic air capacity; 2) the Maine-Nova Scotia ferry did not operate in 2019; and 3) Hurricane Dorian contributed to a significant decline in visitation in September 2019.

Nova Scotia Licensed Accommodations - 2019

Licensed accommodation activity includes licensed accommodations purchased by Nova Scotians and non-residents, and people travelling for both tourism and non-tourism reasons. This data does not include any non-licensed accommodations sold through the sharing economy.

In 2019, there were 2,742,000 licensed room nights sold in Nova Scotia, down 1% compared to 2018. The occupancy rate declined by 1 percentage-point to 54%. Room nights sold increased in the Halifax region, while the remaining regions experienced declines compared with 2018.

Region 2019 Licensed Room Nights Sold % Change vs. 2018
Halifax 1,524,000 +2%
South Shore 178,000 -2%
Eastern Shore 18,000 -9%
Cape Breton 442,000 -1%
Northumberland Shore 190,000 -4%
Bay of Fundy & Annapolis Valley 334,000 -6%
Yarmouth & Acadian Shores 57,000 -20%

Sharing Economy

Room nights booked through sharing economy platforms, which includes both licensed and unlicensed accommodations, reached 514,000 in 2019, an increase of 41% over the same period in 2018.

Tourism Revenues

Tourism revenues reached an estimated $2.64 billion in 2019, a decline of 3.3% compared with the updated tourism revenues estimate of $2.73 billion for 2018. For more information about tourism revenues estimates, please see Tourism Revenues.

See the full 2019 Tourism Performance Report.

2018 Nova Scotia Tourism Indicators

Tourism Nova Scotia produces an annual report on tourism performance indicators on behalf of Nova Scotia's tourism industry.

About 2,413,000 non-resident overnight visitors came to Nova Scotia in 2018, just 0.8 per cent or 19,500 fewer visitors than in 2017, which saw the highest visitation in Nova Scotia’s history.

Tourism Nova Scotia produces annual estimates of overall tourism revenues, which are updated as new information becomes available. Tourism revenues reached an estimated $2.73 billion in 2018. For more information about tourism revenues estimates, please see Tourism Revenues.

See the full 2018 Tourism Performance Report.