Thousand Islands tourism industry rebounds, optimism stays strong

COLLINS LANDING —    1000 Islands – Better. That’s the sentiment of most 1000 Islands region tourism operators replying to an annual survey about the 2021 season. More than 80 percent of responding businesses reported that they were satisfied or pleased with tourism business in 2021.

The annual survey issued by the 1000 Islands International Tourism Council queries New York and Ontario businesses that generate sales from visitors. More than 175 operators in the region responded, giving high reviews to their own business and the overall regional performance.

American operators were more positive about 2021 than Canadian – 78 percent compared to 39 percent – and the most favorable reviews came from the camping, retail and agritourism/craft beverage sectors.

Optimism among operators remained strong. In 2020, operators remained upbeat about the future of regional tourism. For 2021, an even greater amount of businesses – 84 percent – reported optimism for the future of the region’s tourism economy.

“For most tourism operators, 2021 was a rebounding year, and in some cases, surpassed pre‐pandemic business. Tourism in the 1000 Islands region has been at the front of the recovery due to myriad of factors that make this destination desirable following the outbreak of Covid‐19,” said Corey Fram, Council Director of Tourism. “It’s a testament to their hospitality that our operators delivered great service to high demand while dealing with many challenges.”

Just 18 percent of businesses reported disappointment for 2021 compared to nearly half of 2020 responders at 46 percent.

“We know there are sectors out there who are not fully ‘back’ yet and they are owed our support so we can fully return, economically speaking, from the onset of the pandemic,” Fram said.

The survey includes questions that have been asked in a similar manner for more than 20 years. While it does not represent a scientific sample, it illustrates trends across a variety of tourism segments including attractions, lodging, restaurants and more. For 2021, responses were received from 177 businesses in New York and Ontario.

A full copy of the summary review and results can be viewed on the Council’s industry website at alongside previous results and other studies.