Nova Scotia welcomed 1,652,000 visitors to the end of September — a three per cent decrease or about 50,000 fewer visitors compared to the first nine months of 2007 — while the number of room nights sold increased by two per cent or 35,000 to 2,115,500. For the month of September, visitors to Nova Scotia totalled almost 219,000, a five per cent decrease — or about 12,000 fewer visitors — compared with September 2007. “We’re continuing to monitor the tourism results closely and work with our industry partners as we plan for next year,” said Tourism, Culture and Heritage Minister Bill Dooks. For September, room nights sold totaled more than 300,000, a two per cent decrease over last September. Increases were seen in the Halifax metro and Yarmouth and Acadian Shores regions. While visitors from Western Canada were up two per cent in September, the total number of overall visits from across Canada was down four per cent. Consistent with the trend reported across Canada, there were 15 per cent or about 5,000 fewer American visitors in September. There was one per cent less overseas visitors, which is only about 100 people. The number of people travelling to Nova Scotia by road decreased by seven per cent and visits by air decreased by one per cent for the month of September. Cruise passengers are same-day visitors, so are not included in overall visitor numbers. However, there has been an upward trend in the popularity of cruising. The ports of Halifax and Sydney gather cruise statistics. So far this year, cruise passenger activity was up 38 per cent or about 45,600 at the Port of Halifax and 126 per cent or about 29,000 at the Port of Sydney. The cruise industry’s economic benefit to Nova Scotia’s tourism industry is estimated at $37 million in direct expenditures. 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 .