Gas prices fueling concern for tourist season on PEI

There’s not much tourist traffic in Cavendish, PEI, yet, but that should change soon.

Local businesses rely on the summer tourist surge.

However, pain at the pumps has some operators worried about the upcoming season.

“It’s been a really difficult and challenging two years for our industry, so we started to turn the corner and see some of those restrictions ease,” said Corryn Clemence, CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of PEI “Everybody was starting to ramp up with a lot of optimism.”

Gas is almost $2 a liter on Prince Edward Island and it’s not much better in Ontario, Quebec, and the rest of the Maritimes.

Those are the home provinces for most car tourists who visit the island.

“I think there’s a lot of concern, and a lot of fear, that will impact that drive market, and to what extent we really don’t know yet,” said Clemence. “Then we have others saying that we think there’s a lot of pent-up demand and people just want to get out and travel again.”

There’s good reason for optimism, businesses are still getting calls for bookings.

Travel is typically discretionary, and with limited spending during the pandemic, those who can afford to travel are often willing to pay what it costs.

“People have not been able to travel. They haven’t been able to get out and plan. When they did get out it was always last minute, you know, ‘Oh, it’s open for a week, and then it’s closed again,’” said Dee Enright, Director of Marketing and Sales for Rodd Hotels and Resorts.

“I think for the first time in two years, they feel like they can plan a summer getaway.”

So while there are inflated concerns about the upcoming season, there’s still reason for optimism, with the key months for PEI’s tourism trade quickly approaching.

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