Nova Scotia welcomed more than 163,000 visitors in May — the same as May 2006 — while room nights sold were up five per cent. “We’ve done a lot of advertising and promotional events through the spring to bring more visitors to Nova Scotia this year, and we’re continuing through the summer, including more online activity,” said Len Goucher, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage. “We’re encouraged with steady visitor numbers so far this year and we’ll get a better sense of how the whole tourism season is unfolding as we get the numbers for our peak period which runs through the summer and into the fall.” Room nights sold varied in regions in May. There was a 39 per cent increase on the Northumberland Shore, likely due to a number of conferences and sporting events held in the area. There was a one per cent decrease in Halifax/Dartmouth. This region’s accommodations sector has been relatively steady with an average of 120,000 room nights sold for the month of May in each of the past few years. All other regions reported increases. There were 14 per cent fewer American visitors, which represents 2,800 fewer people over May 2006. There were 17 per cent fewer visitors from other countries, which is about 1,000 fewer people. Visitation from Ontario and Western Canada, which have been targeted with recent tourism promotions, increased by 21 and 37 per cent respectively, or about 8,000 more visitors in total. In keeping with recent trends, the number of people traveling to Nova Scotia by road decreased one per cent, while the number arriving by air was up three per cent. Nova Scotia’s comprehensive system for reporting tourism statistics includes counting overnight visitors — excluding Nova Scotia residents — at all entry points to the province and gathering the number of room nights sold from all licensed accommodation operators. Detailed tourism statistics can be found on the Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage website at www.gov.ns.ca/dtc/pubs/insights . Statistics for June are expected to be released in early August.