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Ferry Connection to the United States

September 13, 2022

September 13, 2022

Honourable Tim Houston
Premier of Nova Scotia
1700 Granville Street
P.O. Box 726
Halifax, NS B3J 2T3

Dear Premier Houston:

We are writing in response to the recent comments related to the ferry connection to the United States via the Bay Ferries CAT for the 2022 operating season.

As a result of successive mismanagement by former governments including abrupt cancellation of the service for 2010, subsequent agreements with Nova Star for two years, terminal changes and the global pandemic, this important tourism and trade link has operated for a single season since 2018. Rebuilding this marine highway to the lucrative United States market will take time and confidence that the service will exist as a dependable route.

While we applaud your government’s efforts to ensure public investments represent the best possible deal for Nova Scotia, the immediate and negative commentary to media does nothing to support the investment or instill confidence for both tourism and trade.

This has been an extraordinary time for Nova Scotia tourism businesses who are making valiant efforts to rebuild from two years of devastating losses. With continued global uncertainty, high fuel costs and consumer confidence at an all time low, off the cuff comments regarding current passenger counts, “we will shut it down,” has real and immediate impacts on business confidence. The appropriate response would have been to state that government will consider all of this in the proper context and at the proper time, considering the overall investment, priorities, marine infrastructure and market potential. Of course, this should be in context in a post-COVID environment.

Premier, since you assumed office, your government has signalled positive support for the Nova Scotia tourism Industry, and it is greatly appreciated and noted throughout the province. The most recent announcement earlier this year of a new tourism strategy led by TIANS and Tourism Nova Scotia was an incredible acknowledgement that tourism is important to you and will play a critical role in the economic future of the province. Our transportation links and infrastructure to provide access will be key considerations in a new strategy. Measured evaluations of our current approach and innovation, in repositioning Nova Scotia as a destination, will be crucial to ensuring our success in a competitive global market.

Tourism lost $3.2 billion over the past two years; resulting in a significant reduction in tax revenues for the province. Our collective focus needs to be on reclaiming our position as Nova Scotia’s #1 Service Export.

According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) tourism has the highest multiplier in the economy; for every $1 invested, another $3.2 is generated on main street. Economic activity driven through rural entry points changes the landscape for the province.

While Governments tend to look at decisions in terms of election cycles, this does not serve the broad interest of the province. We need an intermodal strategy that looks at access points and infrastructure in a way that considers our geography, market trends, current needs and future potential.

We ask that you encourage your Ministers to take a more measured and thoughtful approach on this issue and have discussion with those of us in the sector that understand the intermodal ramifications of the link and how this might or might not be part of a new approach to tourism.

We offer our continued support and assistance. Thank you in advance for your consideration of our concerns.


Wes Surrett

Darlene Grant Fiander
TIANS President

cc Honourable Kim Masland, Minister of Public Works
Honourable Pat Dunn, Minister of Communities, Culture, Tourism & Heritage
TIANS Board of Directors