HALIFAX -- The Nova Scotia government announced support for the province’s struggling tourism and accommodation sector on Tuesday, in hopes that it will help the industry prepare to welcome visitors back to Nova Scotia.

Labi Kousoulis, the Minister of Inclusive Economic Growth and Minister responsible for Tourism Nova Scotia, says the $18.2 million tourism restart package will provide operators with new grant programs and marketing support.

It will also offer tourists more outdoor public attractions and free admission to the 28 sites included in the Nova Scotia Museum system, and the two sites of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia un July and August.

“We want Nova Scotians and visitors to choose to spend their vacation time and dollars here,” said Kousoulis. “We’ve worked with the sector and developed a restart package that will re-energize communities and help our operators prepare to open their doors and attract customers to the many unique experiences that Nova Scotia has to offer.”

"On the other hand, it's a great jolt that we can get from this to do some targeted advertising to get some people here and hopefully save our summer," said Ron Miller, a hotel general manager.

Two grant programs were announced Tuesday, which include:

TOURISM ACCOMODATIONS RESTART CUSTOMER ATTRACTION PROGRAM

The province’s Tourism Accommodations Restart Customer Attraction Program aims to help registered tourism accommodations develop and implement tailored marketing activities to encourage overnight stays. Eligible operators will receive a grant of $1,000 per room for the first 10 room, and $500 per room for each additional room.

THE SMALL TOURISM OPERATORS RESTART PROGRAM

The Small Tourism Operators Restart Program offers a one-time grant payment of $5,000 to tourism businesses that were affected by COVID-19 restrictions, but did not qualify for previous provincial programs.

Government says the grant will help operators with advertising and other restart expenses, such as purchasing personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies.

An additional $3 million will also be used for Nova Scotia's marketing campaigns, which are "designed to attract visitors through television advertising, videos, radio sports, social media, billboards, display ads and search marketing tactics.”

One of those campaigns includes the Do More campaign, launched by the province on Tuesday. The province says the goal of the campaign is to “remind Atlantic Canadians that Nova Scotia has much to offer, and deserves more than one trip.”

"We have so much to offer people of all ages," said Darlene MacDonald, the acting CEO for Tourism Nova Scotia. "From tidal bore rafting to winery tours, to our beautiful Halifax waterfront to the Cabot Trail, and all of the amazing arts, culture, and outdoor experiences in between. There is no shortage of things to do in Nova Scotia."

According to the province, prior to the pandemic, Nova Scotia’s tourism industry generated $2.6 billion in tourism revenues, and supported 40,000 jobs across every region of the province.