HALIFAX -- As the leaves fall, temperatures drop, and patio season winds down, the tourism industry association of New Brunswick is growing concerned about the well-being of restaurants and hotels in the province.

Carol Alderdice says the Explore NB Travel Incentive program did help lots of operators this summer, but she’s worried about their survival through the winter and a second wave of COVID-19. 

“I am very concerned about restaurants especially because they’re patios are winding down,” said Alderdice.

“I am also concerned about hotels. Although the incentive program was designed to get one room night in order to qualify, a lot of people didn’t go to hotels, they went to campgrounds or cottages, because I believe that people like to control their own environment. Although the hotels are probably some of the safest places you can go to with all their cleaning policies. I do worry about, specifically, those two sectors.”

New Brunswick’s tourism minister revealed the incentive program is going to continue through fall and winter.

Alderdice says the Association is very pleased about that, and is hoping residents continue to take advantage of the program. 

“We have a group of people, of seniors, that are used to getting out,” she said. “They take off to Florida or wherever for months at a time or weeks at a time, and they’re active seniors and they want to do things…I think that will be a new client for New Brunswick operators.”

Fredericton’s sidewalk patio season was extended by two weeks to allow restaurants more time with their outdoor seating. But that’s scheduled to end on Thursday.

Tammy Scott-Wallace says overall, the tourism season was salvaged despite the challenges.

“Going forward, I think it’s important as a new minister I’m talking to the local tourism operators. We know there are challenges, they’re undeniable,” she said. “We want to talk to those people to see what we can do to support them.”

Alderdice is encouraging residents of the province to continue what they did during the summer months – spend money, if they can, exploring New Brunswick.