After two summers of COVID-related travel restrictions and fewer short-term rental bookings, Carolyn Banks was excited to welcome guests back to her two rental properties near Windsor, N.S.
“We saw our calendars just start to blow up, booked so much sooner for the summer than they ever had been before,” Banks said.
Then the cancellations started to roll in as visitors realized they couldn’t find a rental car.
“It’s unfortunate for them,” Banks said. “To have your trip cancelled because you can’t get a vehicle is a downer for sure.”
Car agencies in Nova Scotia cut their fleets due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and now a surge in demand is outpacing supply as travellers scramble to book rental cars for summer vacations.
Banks has had four cancellations from people travelling to Nova Scotia this summer from out of province or out of the country because they could not secure a car rental.
She said travellers likely had to cancel other bookings within the Maritimes, too. “It doesn’t just affect us. It affects all the other people that also would have been booked for their vacation,” Banks said.
Airbnb hosts across Nova Scotia say they are seeing an increase in cancellations during peak tourism season due to the ongoing rental car shortage – especially in rural areas that are not accessible by public transportation or taxi services.
No cars available
Eva Holland and her partner are travelling to Nova Scotia for a family reunion this summer. They wanted to fly into Halifax, rent a car, and drive to the event in a rural area just north of the Nova Scotia-New Brunswick border.
Then they tried to book a rental car.
“We tried the airport, we tried every location, every company we could think of,” Holland said. “It was like, ‘There’s no rental cars available for your location.'”
Holland said they even looked at flying into Moncton, N.B., instead. “No dice there either,” she said.
After checking five or six rental companies, Holland said their options were slim. “Like, are…