By Ally Harris
Jan. 24, 2014
Charlottetown is the best place in Canada to visit this year, according to Vacay.ca.
It released its annual list of the top destinations in the country earlier this year.
In fact, the city is the best place in Canada to visit every year, says Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee.
The honour was a clear reflection of the work put in by the city to promote itself as a top destination in the country, he said.
“Obviously, with 2014 and the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference, the city and a lot of other organizations within our community have been promoting ourselves as the place to be in 2014.
“There’s going to be celebrations from one end of the year to the other throughout the province, and I think that’s probably what drives the selection of Charlottetown as the most desirable place to visit in 2014.”
Tourism Minister Rob Henderson said the recognition would result in further promotion across the country.
“It also gives us some validation to what we’re trying to achieve with the sesquicentennial celebrations. Promoting it as a premier tourist destination and what Vacay.ca has done in selecting Charlottetown as the premier destination in Canada to visit this year sort of validates what we were trying to set out to accomplish.”
This is going to be a big year for Charlottetown and Prince Edward Island, with the 150th anniversary celebrations of the 1864 Charlottetown Conference, which paved the way for Confederation.
Celebrations will continue again in 2017, the 150th anniversary of Confederation. The province hopes the 2014 celebrations will create momentum for 2017, said Henderson.
“It’s going to be an increase in investment, an increase in marketing strategy, so this is only going to grow our tourism product even more in the future, and we can use that to leapfrog into 2017.”
The Charlottetown Airport also expects traffic this summer to increase as a result, said Doug Newson, chief executive officer of the Charlottetown Airport Authority.
“From the airport’s perspective, anytime Charlottetown can get on the map and get exposure like that to encourage people to come here, it bodes well for our traffic numbers.
“Tourism is obviously a key driver to our success, so the stronger the tourism season, the more success we will have as an airport.
“It’s hard to put an exact number on what the impact will be, but between all the tourism-related activities, and also with additional meetings and conventions coming to P.E.I. in 2014, we are expecting to have a banner year for air traffic.”
Airport officials have been meeting with airlines to encourage them to add seat capacity for 2014, Newson said.
“We had several meetings with them in the fall and they’re just in the final stages of finishing their summer schedules. So we should know in the next few weeks, hopefully, if they will respond to what we are anticipating to be additional demand.”
The 2014 celebrations include numerous meetings and conventions – bookings for these are up 75 per cent from this time last year – and East Coast Music Week, to be held in Charlottetown this April.
At the announcement Jan. 14 of the artists coming to Charlottetown for the music week, organizing committee co-chair Jennifer Evans pointed out the economic benefits the event would bring.
“From experience, we know this event will have a profound economic and cultural impact on our region. This event will not only provide a boost to our cities by bringing Islanders out to the many venues, (but) draw visitors to our region who will stay in our hotels, eat in our restaurants, and shop in our stores.”
Henderson said the province hopes bringing people to the Island for 2014 will prompt them to come back in the future.
“We have to give people a reason to come to P.E.I., for some specific event they have an interest in, and then that exposure to Prince Edward Island will make them want to come back again.”