SAINT JOHN – Hotel room stays were up 3.9 percent in Saint John last year, a reflection of the innovative and collaborative spirit in the city’s cultural and tourism sectors, say the heads of Discover Saint John and the Saint John Hotel Association.
The increase was reported by STR, a leading authority on hotel industry performance trends.
“[It] was really a tremendous year for tourism in so many ways,” said Victoria Clarke, Executive Director of Discover Saint John, in a release.
“We are fortunate to live in a community of innovators who are elevating the vibrancy of Saint Awesome and creating FOMO (Fear-of-Missing-Out) like we have never seen before.”
Over the last two years, room sales have increased 12 per cent, and hotel revenues have grown 18 per cent.
Paulette Hicks, President of the Saint John Hotel Association, credits a rebound in the market and the strategic leadership in Saint John to implement a destination marketing fee, which helps fund the marketing efforts of Discover Saint John.
“The revenue growth our local hotel industry has been experiencing since Discover Saint John’s inception, in particular, the past couple years, is a validation of our strategic investment in a public-private destination marketing organization,” said Hicks. “Innovative and deliberate marketing and sales programs are driving awareness of the destination and converting into room nights.”
In 2017, Clarke says Discover Saint John’s sales teams secured $9.4 million in future business for the city.
“Meetings and conventions and sporting events utilize city facilities and infrastructure, fill restaurants, shops and keep our city busy 12 months of the year,” she said.
Clarke says the tourism sector is a critical component of the regional economy. She cites the 2006 Census data that shows 10 per cent of the labour force in the Fundy Region is directly employed in the tourism sector, outpacing fishing, mining and agriculture combined.
“Each year, Saint John welcomes approximately 1.6 million visitors and collectively they spend over $250 million annually,” says Clarke. “This is new money for our region and it helps employ people not only in the accommodations sector but also in the food and beverage, retail, and transportation sectors.”