Nova Scotia resorts report healthy season despite pandemic – .

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Nova Scotia resorts report healthy season despite pandemic – .


Despite the pandemic, or perhaps because of it, resorts in Nova Scotia are reporting a successful season in 2021.
Travel restrictions earlier in the year and other pandemic measures appear to have led many people in the province to take their vacations closer to home.

Some stations even extend their season to take advantage of demand.

Trout Pond Lodge in East Kemptville would normally close to guests in late October, but now plans to stay open until mid-February.

Patrick Wallace, who bought the 13-bedroom property in 2018, said Nova Scotians have flocked to the resort despite the lockdowns and uncertainties of the past two seasons,

“In fact, we’ve never been this busy and we are just so grateful to all the Nova Scotian guests who have visited us, many, many of them, repeat customers,” he said. .

According to Wallace, about half of the resort’s guests were from overseas before the pandemic. He said the other half came from across Canada.

Nova Scotians Willing To Pay

Guests have come almost exclusively from Nova Scotia or the Atlantic bubble over the past two seasons, he said.

Wallace said the resort did not have to offer discounts and was able to maintain prices due to high demand.

He said the pandemic showed people in the province and region were willing to pay a high price for high-end “indulgent madness”.

He said the decision to keep the hotel open until mid-February was based on demand, as the year-round supply of jobs made staffing easier in the medium and long term.

“We have always felt very, very, regretful and very sad at the end of a season where you have to say goodbye to people you really care about,” he said.

“Being able to keep our team together… they’re already really good and they’re just going to get better and better. “

Paul Stackhouse, left, is the general manager of the Digby Pines Resort. Val Stackhouse is the Director of Marketing and Product Development. (Chantal Blair)

Digby Pines Golf Resort and Spa is also reporting a successful season despite the opening postponed to June 4. Its scheduled opening date was April 30.

Paul Stackhouse, the managing director, said demand for rooms, the resort’s main source of income, was high. But he said the pandemic distancing rules were affecting food and drink income.

Staffing challenges

He said the main challenge, as it was in many places, was finding staff.

“If you talk to anyone in our industry, there were a lot of managers making beds this summer,” Stackhouse said.

He attributes some of the demand for resorts like Digby Pines to people looking for chalet-style accommodations and open spaces.

He said people who would normally have gone on vacation in the past two years have money set aside to spend a vacation closer to home.

The resort would normally close on Thanksgiving weekend, but chose to stay open until the end of October due to demand.

According to Stackhouse, the station, which was originally owned by the province, is not wintered. He said it was not possible to stay open beyond October, although people called to inquire about stays in November.

There is a plan to winterize part of the hotel that will allow year-round operation from 2022.

Labor shortage

Dean Leland, owner of Oceanstone Seaside Resort near Peggys Cove, said business was back to 2019 levels despite the disruption in wedding and corporate activities.

Oceanstone Resort says business is back to near pre-pandemic levels (Bruce Bishop)

The complex, which is open year-round, continues to face labor shortages, Leland said.

He said this was the main challenge facing the industry and the problem kept him awake at night.

“A lot of the workforce issues are beyond our control and there is a lot of work to be done on the part of others,” he said. “I guess this will help solve the problem, but it won’t be an immediate solution and we all know that. “

At Milford House in rural Annapolis, which bills itself as “Nova Scotia’s oldest family-friendly wilderness resort,” General Manager Krista Vidito said it was “a hugely successful season. “.

Milford House says it has had a successful 2021 season. (Krista Vidito)

Vidito said many people who would normally have left the province for their vacations discovered the resort for the first time.

Reduced services

She said some services like housekeeping had to be cut due to the pandemic, but customers understood the situation.

“We have a really big dining room, so we were able to keep a distance, keep a spacing,” she said.

“We were very lucky that way and offered take-out for the first time and we also offered terrace service for the first time. “

The resort has 28 cabins, three of which are wintered and available year-round, even when the main lodge and restaurants close for the season.

Vidito said guests have mainly come from Halifax for the past two years, but a large number of guests have come from the United States before the pandemic.

“We’ve had a few returns this year, but for the most part we’re still looking forward to welcoming them until next year,” she said.

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