DIGBY, NS – Tourism numbers were strong once again for the 2-17 season in Digby.
With annual events like Lobster Bash, Scallop Days and Wharf Rat Rally, and new events like the Digby RDV Tall Ships Regatta, there was plenty to draw people.
And even with hurricanes wreaking havoc on American air travel, people from away still came.
“It seems that despite some bad weather, we still had a great season this year,” said Darren Snair, owner and manager of Harbourview Inn in Digby.
Bed and breakfasts full up this season
Snair has plenty of people stay each year at his B&B, which he says regularly sees Canadian, American, and other international guests.
While several guests from Florida weren’t able to make the trip, his season was still slightly busier than normal, with international guests coming from Lichtenstein, Germany and even China.
The newest development for Snair was all about timing – this year saw the B&B’s busiest October to date.
“The month of October is now busier than ever before. The one drawback is our parks, like Fort Anne, aren’t open, but people are still coming all the same,” said Snair.
Tours also towing people in
Greg Turner, who runs Gael Tours and is also involved with the Digby Area Tourism Association (DATA), agreed.
He said Digby’s Visitor Information Centre’s data also confirms the county’s busiest October yet, owing perhaps to warm autumn weather.
His own tours have also been busy this season, and have attracted people from all over.
“I’ve definitely been busy, and it’s at least on par with last year, which had been my best year yet,” said Turner.
As for the county’s numbers in general, they are slightly below last year’s boom of tourists, but not by much at all.
The new guidebook for Digby, created by DATA, was also a huge help, according to Turner.
“We were receiving calls all summer from tourism centres, like the Halifax Stanfield International Airport and the Halifax Waterfront, saying they’d run out and needed more,” he said.
“We only printed 10,000 this year, and will definitely raise that to at least 15,000 next year.”
Whale watching still a sound draw too
Tom Goodwin, owner and tour operator at Ocean Explorations in Tiverton, has had a banging crop of tourists as well.
While numbers are also slightly down from last year, his busiest ever, he feels they would have been on target if not for a few foul weather days that caused tour cancellations.
“Last year was exceptional for weather, and the number of whales around, and we didn’t lose a single day. This year, however, we lost 4 days in a row,” he said.
“Were it not for that, I’m sure we’d have nearly tied the numbers.”
Goodwin saw visitors from Hungary for the first time, as well as others from Israel, and as far away as Australia and China.
His company typically draws the largest international crowds, something he will look to continue.
“Most tourists come from urban centres. We in Digby are fortunate to have these natural beauties, and it’s what these people come back to see, year after year,” he said.
See also: New tourism guidebook launches in Digby