© Joggins Fossil Institute Photo
The province and tourist operators across the province are working together to attract new visitors to Nova Scotia this summer.
HALIFAX – The province and tourism operators are joining forces to attract more first-time visitors to Nova Scotia, delivering a more profitable, vibrant industry and greater prosperity across the province.
Economic and Rural Development and Tourism Minister Graham Steele released the final five-year strategy Friday, at the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia annual general meeting at White Point Beach Resort.
"We know that once people visit Nova Scotia, they tend to come back. The challenge before us is to find ways to encourage tourists to make Nova Scotia their first choice," said Steele. "Our long-term strategy will attract more first-time visitors to Nova Scotia, have them stay longer, spend more, and increase revenue and profits for the entire tourism industry."
The long-term tourism strategy focuses on five areas:
-- leadership and collaboration between government and industry
-- inspirational, strategic marketing that creates a unique and compelling brand
-- evidence-based decisions after consulting with visitors and potential visitors
-- higher-quality product and experiences that inspire visitors to travel throughout the province.
-- better access to Nova Scotia, and throughout the province
"This gives those of us who are in smaller towns a lot of confidence. Hopefully it helps spread the word so we can attract more tourists," said Ruth Mailloux, owner-operator of the Suncatcher Bed and Breakfast in Truro. "2013 already appears to be a better year than last. Because of the new long-term strategy we are already looking ahead to even more success in 2014."
Nova Scotia Tourism Agency chair Tom Ruth said since the agency was created in September, it has already started to implement much of the long-term strategy, such as a new tourism brand and marketing campaign.
"After extensive collaboration with hundreds of tourism and business leaders throughout all regions of Nova Scotia, it is very gratifying to see the final strategy adopted by government," said Ruth. "We look forward to a bright future for the visitor economy in Nova Scotia."
Goals for the long-term tourism strategy include increasing overnight visitors by one per cent each year for five years, increasing annual visitor revenues by four per cent and maintaining the number of room nights sold outside of Halifax at 2012 levels.
Tourism in Nova Scotia is a $2-billion industry, providing 24,000 jobs across the province. At a time when global travel is growing, visits to Nova Scotia are down by nine per cent over the past 10 years.
For a copy of the long-term tourism strategy, go to www.gov.ns.ca/econ/publications .