Maritime tourism sector holding out hope for upcoming summer
MONCTON -- Despite the delay of the reopening of the Atlantic bubble, some New Brunswick tourism operators are feeling rather optimistic that the season ahead will be busy. While those across the border in Nova Scotia are having a hard time attracting tourists with strict border measures in place.
Kevin Snair, the public relations and marketing co–ordinator for Hopewell Rocks is encouraging people to explore their own backyards again this summer.
"That’s what we want to see, is people taking advantage of the areas that are right here and available to them." said Snair.
Though he doesn’t have exact numbers, Snair said "there’s a steady stream of people coming into Hopewell Rocks."
In April, the province of New Brunswick announced that the Explore NB Travel Incentive Program will be re-offered again this year which means new brunswickers should be able to get a rebate on some of their summer vacation costs again. The province has yet to reveal further details on this year’s program.
While in Nova Scotia tourist attractions are currently taking a hit as the province remains under lockdown due to a high rate of COVID-19 cases in May.
"Traditional tourism businesses have had major challenges over the last year. Tourism as a sector have been really negatively impacted by all the travel restrictions," said Neil MacKenzie, with the Yarmouth and Acadian Shores Tourism Association.
"COVID has really done a lot of damage to the industry so we’ve been trying to hang on and move forward,” said MacKenzie.
Jason LeBlanc isthe owner of coastal restaurant in Ingonish, N.S. was looking forward to this may long weekend, as he says it is the kick-off to the busy season for them.
“Last year we thought, hey, this is going to be a one-year thing," said LeBlanc. "Let’s get through this and next year will be better.”
However, due to the current restrictions in Nova Scotia, restaurants are taking a hit this weekend.
"We can't open fully because of no in-dining so it’s hard on businesses and not being able to get that start right now is certainly hurting everybody.” said Leblanc.
With the number of vaccinations rising in Atlantic Canada, tourist operators hope it will allow for a busy summer, desperately needed for Maritime businesses that are struggling.