'It's really great news and means we can build on our success,' Brian Webb, the association's executive director, told Seatrade Cruise News.
Stretching the season, drawing niche/expedition cruises
Webb said Atlantic Canada has been making progress in attracting more cruise ships during the summer season.
'In addition to boosting our summer and shoulder season numbers, the association has been trying to increase niche and expedition cruises in the region,' added Cathy McGrail, chair, Atlantic Canada Cruise Association. 'We’re already seeing an increase in the number of smaller cruise lines visiting rural, niche ports in Atlantic Canada.' In 2018, several of the smaller ports will be hosting lines such as Pearl Seas Cruises, Hurtigruten, One Ocean, Silversea and Noble Caledonia.
In announcing the funding, ACOA said the government of Canada and the four Atlantic provinces support the Atlantic Canada Cruise Association and its work to promote Atlantic Canada as a preferred cruise destination and to achieve maximum cruise capacity in the region during the spring, summer and fall.
Parks Canada, the provincial tourism departments, partnership ports and cruise ship interests in each of the four Atlantic provinces are providing the remaining balance of funding to help the association continue its traditional marketing activities and step up its social media efforts.
The Atlantic Canada cruise sector is comprised of five partner ports—Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island; Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador; Saint John, New Brunswick; and Halifax and Sydney, Nova Scotia—along with eight niche ports. The niche members are Charlotte County and the Acadian Peninsula, New Brunswick; Summerside and Georgetown, PEI; Pictou, Yarmouth and Shelburne, Nova Scotia; and Saint-Pierre et Miquelon.
Passenger count rose 23.6% in 2017
Cruise passenger visits to the Atlantic region increased by approximately 23.6% in 2017 to 711,903, up from 575,963 in 2016. This was a new record, exceeding the previous high of 654,977 in 2013.
Direct economic impact increased approximately 27% to over $129m, up from $101m in 2016, as total passenger and crew numbers exceeded 1m for the first time, at 1,037,857.
The marketing investment builds on commitments made by the government of Canada and the Atlantic provinces to drive economic growth in the region through the Atlantic Growth Strategy by helping the tourism industry attract more visitors and create new jobs. This approach is in line with Canada’s Tourism Vision, which seeks to make Canada a Top 10 global tourism destination by 2025.
Record year for Canada tourism
Last year was the best ever for tourism in Canada, which welcomed a record 20.8m international visitors. The tourism industry is an important economic driver with one in 10 jobs in Canada associated with the visitor economy. ACOA said that investing in tourism projects in both big cities and small towns throughout Atlantic Canada is essential to growing this important economic sector for Canadians.
The Atlantic Canada Cruise Association is 20 years old and participates in the Cruise Canada/New England Alliance. The annual Cruise Canada/New England Symposium will be hosted in an Atlantic Canada port, Sydney, on Nova Scotia's Cape Breton, June 4-6, 2019.
More immediately, Cruise Canada/New England will exhibit at Seatrade Cruise Med in Lisbon, Sept. 19-20.