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TIANS Responds Budget 2021

Tourism - An Opportunity to Rebuild Nova Scotia’s Economy

March 26, 2021

Pre-COVID-19, Tourism in Nova Scotia generated $2.6 billion in revenue, providing over $400 million in annual tax revenue for governments to support healthcare, education and infrastructure investments. In 2019, tourism revenue fell to $900 million, a loss of $1.6 billion and the respective tax loss. Tourism was the Industry hardest hit by the pandemic, as measures to contain the virus led to near cessation of tourism activities around the world and, according to Destination Canada, it will take 3-4 years post pandemic to reach 2019 levels.

Atlantic Canada and Nova Scotia were more acutely impacted by tourism losses as travel restrictions unique to this region added further negative impacts. A s of February 2021, Nova Scotia tourism job losses are still over 20,000 workers.

The 2021 Provincial Budget unveiled some previously announced supports and some new welcomed measures for specific sectors within tourism.

While existing Federal COVID-19 supports such as CEWS and CERS are keeping businesses propped up, it is now time for the Province to support a strategic and holistic approach to recovery and rebuilding for Nova Scotia’s tourism sector. The 2021 Budget did acknowledge that tourism will need support over the coming year – we could not agree more! However, it is time for government to reconsider the value proposition tourism offers, as it faces mounting deficits. Tourism can be the fuel for the economic engine of the province; for every $1 invested another $3.2 is generated on Main Street. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, tourism has the highest multiplier effect of any sector.

As we embark on a reopening of sorts, we should not be reverting to ‘business as usual’. A broad sector approach, strategic investments and policy adjustments for Nova Scotia’s tourism industry will ensure the economic, social, cultural and environmental health of the Province. We have some major challenges with airline and motorcoach infrastructure, access, business solvency, and global competitiveness.

Jurisdictions across Canada are committing to sector-wide tourism recovery plans and initiatives to take advantage of the domestic visitor, who will be our primary market for the foreseeable future. Nova Scotia should be leading the pack with its enviable reputation as a safe destination, an advantage that is time sensitive as other destinations begin to open up. A travel incentive and confidence campaign connected to our story could be a practical and measurable investment to kick start a regional flurry of tourism activity.

TIANS looks forward to the ongoing and meaningful dialogue that will continue to support tourism’s rebuilding back to Nova Scotia’s #1 service export.

Budget Highlights:

  • $7.3 million for the Tourism Accommodations Real Property Tax Rebate Program Part 2 through the Nova Scotia COVID-19 Response Council fund to support Nova Scotia’s hotel, motel, and inn operators, who have been hard hit by the global pandemic
  • $1.1 million to continue the digital content marketing program to support tourism operators implement customized digital marketing campaigns
  • $529,000 continued funding to support the RADIATE Tourism Program to help businesses and organizations develop and promote compelling travel packages to local and Maritime travellers
  • Continued funding to revitalize provincial tourism icons, including Peggy’s Cove and the Halifax Waterfront
  • $1.2 million to support the hospitality industry by expanding the 10 per cent Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation discount to include bottled and canned beer, cider and ready-to-drink products
  • $1.3 million for the first year of a new five-year Nova Scotia Quality Wine Strategy