Many in Nova Scotia’s tourism industry are celebrating the return of a high-speed ferry to Yarmouth and anticipating the return of American tourists to the province.

Inn owner Michael Tavares says the phone has been ringing non-stop since the announcement last week, and that the economic benefits justify the $33 million the province has agreed to pay Bay Ferries.

“They’re looking at the cost going out for the boat, but they’re not taking into account the incredible amount of taxation that’s created for the province by way of HST,” says Tavares.

Yarmouth Mayor Pam Mood says the 10-year deal with Bay Ferries will drive investment in the community and could bring business back to areas that were hurt by the loss of the ferry.

“We’ve had a lot of business owners who would love to invest more funds, of course, in their businesses, and they couldn’t do that until there was a long-term deal,” says Mood.

But while the tourism industry celebrates the return of American passengers, some seafood exporters say the fact that the Cat won’t carry commercial trucks is a missed opportunity.

Wade Nickerson owns Yarmouth Bar Fisheries and says he exports about 50 per cent of his product to the United States. He says the industry needs more options to get their product to market.

“Nova Scotia is an exporter. Our lobsters and groundfish business and swordfish is worth millions upon millions,” says Nickerson.

Meanwhile, PC MLA Chris d’Entremont says he’s concerned the ferry’s new crew will be all-American.

“Generations of families have worked during the summer on a ferry, whether it was the Bluenose at the time, or Scotia Prince, or even the Cat,” he says.

But Mood says she’s confident the ferry service will generate other jobs and enough economic spinoffs to benefit the entire region.

The town will hold a meeting early next month to bring together businesses and government to discuss how to make the region a true tourist destination.

The new service is expected to run from June 15 to Sept. 30 with daily departures from Yarmouth and Portland, Maine, at 8 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. respectively and returning to Yarmouth at 9 p.m.

The ferry can carry 282 cars and 866 passengers.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Sarah Ritchie