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Tourism - Why It Matters

July 28, 2021

As the hardest hit sector, Nova Scotia’s tourism industry is beginning the rebuild after 16 months of economic devastation. Tourism lost $1.7 Billion in revenue last year and is still down 20,000 jobs from a high of 50,000 in March of 2020. In a normal year, tourism would contribute over $450 Million in tax revenue for governments – this is why it matters. Tourism is a revenue center for the province, enabling governments to pay for social services including health care, education and infrastructure investments.

What other sector contributes to government tax coffers like tourism? We need to do what we can to attract new investment and allow the industry to reach its full economic potential. Tourism is a main street industry and, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council, has the highest multiplier effect in the economy. For every $1 invested in tourism another $3.2 is generated in the community.

Tourism enhances the social, cultural and environmental health of Nova Scotia towns and cities; it plays a key role in the revitalization of our rural communities. The growth of quality wineries and craft breweries, the repurposing of historic buildings for new business ventures, the expansion of agri-tourism and the opportunity to showcase our diverse cultural strengths provide enormous potential for economic growth and reconciliation.

The announcement of $18.2 Million in government support for Nova Scotia’s tourism industry was welcome news. However, what we need going forward is a comprehensive growth strategy that considers how tourism, in its truest form, can play a pivotal role in connecting and supporting all sectors of the economy. Tourism does not just happen – it is purposeful – the most successful destinations in the world understand the interconnectivity between tourism, trade, immigration and investment.

COVID-19 has been devastating on many fronts. It has highlighted weaknesses in a number of our social structures, but it has also provided an opportunity for a reset and we should ensure we take that opportunity, on all fronts, to do things better.

This year, we can all support local and enjoy a Staycation in our own province while helping entrepreneurs rebuild their business. As we head into the provincial election, there is an opportunity to broaden the discussion around what our future will be; it really is time to make Tourism part of the conversation.

What can we do better, differently, and how can we enhance the quality of life for all? Tourism will play a significant role, as we move into a post-pandemic era that has fundamentally shifted values and priorities. Now more than ever – Tourism Matters.

Darlene Grant Fiander is the President of the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia (TIANS).