Nova Scotians may now be thinking of heading to our neighbouring province for their staycations this year.
On Tuesday, New Brunswick announced all Atlantic Canadians would be able to take advantage of its travel incentive program this summer and fall.
The program allows those staying at least one night in the province between May 27 and Oct. 31 to claim a 20 per cent rebate on up to $1,000 in eligible expenses like accommodations, food and drinks, activities and travel.
Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia (TIANS) president Darlene Grant Fiander fears many Nova Scotians may now be seriously considering booking their vacations across the provincial border instead of staying here.
Her association has been calling on our province to offer travel incentives since last summer.
"It would not take much for Nova Scotia to put in a similar program to keep people travelling here," she said in an emailed statement to HalifaxToday.ca. "We need to do everything we can to support local businesses and help Nova Scotia recover economically."
She added research shows incentive programs have been quite successful in other locations.
"The return on investment is very good and the extra indirect benefit is that people that travel to a place or community spent three times as much on main streets supporting the local economy," Grant Fiander said.
"It has the highest multiplier effect in the economy according to World Travel and Tourism Council."
When asked by NEWS 95.7 fill-in host Todd Veinotte if our province would consider launching an incentive program, Premier Iain Rankin said he'd be "open to the discussions," but he's not sure it's needed.
"Last time we came out of previous waves, we had success moving people around the province, getting out to see different regions without an incentive," he said.
Last summer, New Brunswick's incentive program was only open to New Brunswickers. It's expected Nova Scotians will be able to travel to the province by July 1.
"Our product is second-to-none here for what we offer for oceanside accommodations and restaurants -- the food and beverage sector -- so I'm not sure we need a financial incentive for that," Rankin added. "But certainly government wants to be a partner on how we market that product throughout the world and in our region."
Grant Fiander said TIANS has suggested an incentive program that would extend the tourism season and encourage longer stays in the province.
"We are still hopeful we can a get a program in place for later summer/fall," she stated.
Grant Fiander added tourism has been one of the sectors hit hardest by pandemic restrictions, losing $1.6 billion just last year.
"Tourism also generates important tax revenue for the government to fund social services like health care and education and every effort should be made to help tourism get back on its feet so it can resume its position as Nova Scotia's service export," she said.