Tourism - Outlook 2014

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The future direction of the tourism industry will be defined in 2014 by a number of strategic investments that will come to fruition. A key highlight will be the re-establishment of the ferry service between Yarmouth and Portland.

Darlene Grant Fiander, President, Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia

(Originally published in "Outlook 2014" - January 2014 issue of the Nova Scotia Business Journal)

By Darlene Grant Fiander, President, Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia

The future direction of the tourism industry will be defined in 2014 by a number of strategic investments that will come to fruition.

A key highlight for 2014 will be the re-establishment of the ferry service between Yarmouth and Portland, Maine. The Province of Nova Scotia is investing up to $21 million of financial support and we need to ensure that this investment is appropriately leveraged as we gain access to the lucrative U.S. market. The cruise ferry service will operate under the brand name Nova Star Cruises and provide daily round-trip service within 24 hours, starting on May 1. The company has estimated that more than 100,000 passengers will step aboard in the first year of operation.   

Another significant investment is the Nova Centre, a mixed-use development that will include an international financial centre, convention centre and luxury hotel, residential, retail, parking and public space. The project promises to be a game changer for Nova Scotia if we leverage the opportunity to build incremental international tourism receipts through conventions and events that we are not getting today.

As the Nova Scotia Tourism Agency (NSTA) heads into year two of operations and implements the new strategy for tourism, we should begin to see a renewed focus on tourism in all regions of the province.  

Contributing over $2 billion a year in revenue, supporting 40,000 jobs and generating over $225 million in tax revenue, tourism is crucial to the economic well-being of Nova Scotia. With continued strategic investments, tourism will significantly increase its economic impact upon the province. We are competing with new destinations every day for the same customer — we need to ensure we approach the business of tourism like other great destinations that understand its value.

Moving full steam ahead, tourism is well positioned to increase its contribution to the provincial economy if we adjust to the rapid societal changes taking place and always keep our visitors top of mind.

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Tourism Profile - Leader to Watch: Michel Samson

He is Nova Scotia’s man with a plan — a tourism plan, that is.

Meet Michel Samson, a native of Petit-de-Grat, Richmond County, Cape Breton.

If the name sounds familiar, it should be. Samson was elected MLA in 1998 at 25 years old and later was named minister of the environment, becoming the youngest cabinet minister in the history of the Province. He has since won re-election five times and was recently named minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism.

Samson is passionate about Nova Scotia’s tourism industry and says he’s excited to tackle the challenges that lie ahead.

“Our government featured tourism prominently in the campaign. We made promises and we have a vision about how we want tourism to grow in the province,” says Samson. “Visits to Nova Scotia and Canada have been in decline but global travel continues to grow. That requires our attention and swift action. We need our tourist operators to make investments that ensure we are competitive with the rest of the world.”

Samson says he wants operators to implement those industry investments towards upgrades in infrastructure, technology and modernization. He says operators also need to identify tourism experiences that will enhance each and every visit to Nova Scotia.

Organizations: Nova Scotia Tourism Agency

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Yarmouth, Portland, Maine U.S. Petit-de-Grat Richmond Canada

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