TRURO – Tourism in Truro and area is creating a buzz among many industry officials.
Anne McDonah, co-owner of Truro’s Belgravia Bed and Breakfast, told the Truro Daily News its occupancy rate has increased from 65 per cent last July to 87 per cent this month.
“It’s going extremely well,” said McDonah, attributing the increase in business to more Americans visiting the area, having more visibility through travel agency booking.com and because the area is central.
“People stay and do day trips. It’s an easy drive,” said McDonah, adding, “food and wine is improving in this area” so that may have helped too.
Despite the tourism increase, McDonah confirms there are still challenges.
“Truro still has to become more of a destination. We need something to draw people in off the highway … (and) I’ve heard a lot of visitors say that Truro, and Nova Scotia, closes so early in the evenings.”
Devin Trefry, who does marketing with the Central Nova Tourist Association and the Glooscap Heritage Centre in Millbrook, agrees this area has many benefits but marketing needs to be more prevalent, including through information centres.
“Marketing is more challenging than ever before with technology, iPads and computers, and information centres are not needed as much,” said Trefry.
That being said, Trefry confirmed local information centres are doing well, including in Millbrook. Numbers are “right on par with last year, maybe even up a bit. I am also getting some reports from industry of increased visitors from the U.S. and also some reported impact from the Nova Star Ferry.”
On Tuesday, there were an estimated 150 people who visited the Glooscap centre, many with bus tours. Betty Scott, from Ontario, was one of the people who visited the area and said there’s value to touring within Canada.
“There’s a sense of peace travelling in our own country. We’ve travelled all over the world but we’ve never been East and we want to learn about the people and legends here,” said Scott.
The Truro Welcome Centre is also keeping busy with tourists.
Centre supervisor Debbie Cruickshank said since mid-May to Monday, there were 2,981 visitors to the information centre. That is pretty much on par with the same period last year, which attracted 3,049 visitors.
“We are getting the largest amount of (tourists) from Western Canada and the U.S. There are a lot of people coming Germany and all over the world, from Japan, Kuwait and Israel, too,” said Cruickshank.
Earlier this week, visitors from Calgary stopped into the centre looking for ideas on how to spend a day of sightseeing while passing through the area.
“The people are very friendly,” said Sarah Schmidt, who was with her parents and sister. “And it’s really pretty here.”
Cruickshank added many visitors seek information on genealogy, cemeteries, the tidal bore and Victoria Park.
“People say it’s nice to come in and talk to a person. People want that interaction because technology only goes so far,” she said.