Despite bleak worldwide tourism predictions, PEI could see an increase in summer visits

By Sandi Lowther
Owner, Fairways Cottages, Cavendish

Sandi Lowther, right, with her daughter Chelsea. Chelsea is a Human Neurogeneticist Medical Researcher, completing her Post-Doctorate Fellowship at The Broad Institute, Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital.

When you think of the COVID-19 virus two immediate thoughts come to mind. The first is for those individuals and families who have been inflicted with the virus. Our hearts and prayers go out to the families who are suffering and those who have lost their lives. The second is the economic impact it has and will continue to cause people around the globe.

The industry most affected from the virus is world tourism. We are witnessing this impact with reduced international flights, cancelled meetings and conferences, and restricted and/or cancelled large festivals and events.

While Canada, comparably speaking, is most fortunate with few individuals reported with the virus, the economic impact will still be felt.

Despite the negative world-wide tourism predictions, Prince Edward Island tourism operators may actually experience an increase in summer leisure traffic. Why? Eight-five percent of travel to the Island is rubber tire traffic. Many travel parties from our key markets have already cancelled their late winter cruise and international travel plans. Given the safe and protected nature of our Island, coupled with the fact there are no known virus cases, people may flock to their cars and vacation on our Island.

Our company, Fairways Cottages, has experienced an unprecedented increase in reservation requests during the past two weeks. Our reservations on the books over this same time in 2019 are up 5.4 per cent. While we can not definitively tie this entire increase to the situation, we are hearing directly from our new clients that they cancelled their late winter – early spring international flights, all-inclusive vacation packages and cruise travel plans and have decided to take their families to our beautiful and safe Island.

While it is far too early to actually predict a long-term outcome, we have faith in our medical scientific community to soon find a COVID-19 vaccine.

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