Tourism Ups and Downs

Back to article »

  • Why do we always seem to look to our provincial government to take the lead on promoting tourism to our province? We have a wonderful product to sell to Canadian, American and international tourists and now at apparently attractive prices. Would it not make more sense for those wanting to make a living through tourism to do the needed research, marketing, investing, etc. perhaps through an industry association? Isn’t this the way businesses are supposed to work in a capitalist system? I am skeptical whether any government employee, no matter how sincere or dedicated, will do as good a job when it is someone else’s (the taxpayers’) money at stake.

    Steve Chipman | September 15, 2015 | Reply

  • Does the low Canadian dollar encourage Americans to travel to Nova Scotia or Canada as a whole? We know that in 1972 a whopping 33000 Americans visited Nova Scotia during the tourist season despite the Canadian dollar being $1.02 U.S. Do Americans really have any idea of the value of the Canadian dollar or the Japanese yen or the Mexican peso or any other foreign currency? Probably no more idea than Canadians have of the value of the peso or yen relative to the Canadian dollar. The difference is that generally Canadians are aware of the value of our dollar against the U.S. dollar which encourages Canadians to travel in Canada this year rather than the USA. Why there has been no research to answer these questions remains a mystery….and tourism advertising efforts by government refuse to advertise the low value of the Canadian dollar as another reason for Americans to visit Canada/Nova Scotia

    Allan Rodger | September 15, 2015 | Reply

  • Unfortunately the reasons behind why tourism is up or down remain speculative at best because no effort has been made to research this…many visitors I talk to claim they came because of Instagram..seeing friends’ photos of photogenic Nova Scotia on social media made them eager to see the place for themselves…The government’s involvement in tourism has been in a state of constant flux and reorganization since 1971…now they have set up a crown corporation funded by taxpayers’ dollars accountable to a chairman and board of directors..many of whom are beholden to the government for various loans and grants to their tourism businesses…If the government wants tourism to be taken seriously as an industry in this province the first thing it has to do is provide accurate,timely and complete data on the nature of the industry..and if they are unwilling to do this.. hand this task over to Statistics Canada or some organization that will …And the goal of doubling tourism revenue in ten years was first implemented in 2003 to double revenue by 2014..and now it has been reintroduced…it is all very interesting!

    Allan Rodger | September 14, 2015 | Reply

  • The government can’t have it both ways when they make their so-called “deals” . They want to take credit for everything that goes well but then no responsibility when things go wrong ,especially financially . What did their proposal call say about subsidizing the ferry and what does the contract say? We know some pieces of the puzzle ,I think . It was supposed to be a 7 year “deal” , yet that 7 years of subsidy was advanced in the first year . If so, the government made the choice to break their own contract and break their confidence with all other bidders because they changed the deal after the award .
    Now we are advancing more money, but don’t recall hearing there was a new contract.
    Now, what “security” did the province obtain in exchange for it’s millions in subsidies ?
    Do we have a mortgage on the ferry ? Never heard we did .
    Do we have a legal terms of repayment document like a mortgage/promissory note with the company ? Are any of the company officers personally liable to NS to repay any of the subsidy?
    The next element is the whole rationale for the ferry and how that fits in financially to the tourism revenues and expenses of government but also to the revenues and expenses of the tourism business owners, especially those in accommodations ,who are really the largest investors and who sell the most valued item ,the rooms .
    Tourism is measured year by year in NS , but there is much talk about years past and doubling revenues in 5-10 years , yet there is no real tracking that is publicized by government to show the full picture .
    Government subsidizes many more things in tourism than the ferries .You do not see a reporting of all these subsides . Government collects a room tax , over and above the sales tax, the only industry with such a Second Tax, yet again, there is no accounting published . The point being , we really have no idea what we are spending on tourism , let alone who is getting all the money, and what are THEY producing ? Government closes two tourist bureaus at two ferry landing /provincial entry points with no financial rationale . Government allows an underground economy of maybe 1000-1500 rental units to grow ,and looses millions, and says nothing. No one even knows what the room tax generates in money, but it is in the million annually, and no one really knows where it goes and if it is well spent . Why ? There is/are no tenders calls/bidding process to get the money , and to a degree the subsidies have been paid out year after year for maybe the last 10 years, and no accounting back to the tourism business owners that collected the money,and increased their rates, all under the guise the money would help boost sales. This has gone on under three -four different governments/premiers/ministers and not one peep from a municipality . It ‘s just too much of a coincidence that all this happens and no audit sees it and no heads have rolled .

    peter s | September 14, 2015 | Reply

  • The government does not have a clear business plan as to what role it is playing , wants to play when it comes to tourism . Over the last 10 years, governments have made many changes that have not had a positive effect overall. We had a central reservation service called “CheckIn ” that was really very similar to a central booking system as offered by Air B&B , VRBO, Canada Stays, Booking .com , etc . The NDP stopped that without any analysis or attempt to build that into a profitable business . Even worse , we lost years of valuable client and sales data and a data base that could tell you exactly who did stay in Nova Scotia . In 2006 , the Department tried to stop licensing accommodations and now we hear that the new Marketing crown corporation has started another study of licensing , and the announcement smells of the same predetermined objective . Tourism is an export product. The municipalities and the province reap huge returns in exchange for meagre investments in tourism . Minister Sampson said in 2014 licensing caused a $30,000 loss but did not say it is the key to a reeve of over $200 million .In fact , for 10 years they have been facilitating a huge growth in an underground economy claiming it is too hard to enforce . Yet, with today’s technology you can verify if a property is legal or not in about 20 minutes sitting at a desk . If we want to pretend we are selling product , we need a fair and level playing field , not the two tier tax system we have now . There is no one clear financial document that shows all the revenues and all the expenses of tourism at a provincial level , let alone a municipal level, yet government keeps saying we have a $ 2 billion gross revenue they want to double to $4 million . Statistically we are selling far less product than we did in terms of room nights sold since we did back in 1999 -2000, with accumulated losses almost every year. They claim occupancy rates are improved but do not reveal that the number of businesses and rooms have not increased . You never hear of a real tourism season ( May to Oct) calculation or rural to urban calculation. Ferry? How much did they look at what ferries serve NFLD and the BC coast . NO cruise ship ferries there . You can’t play with one part of the puzzle without assessing its effect on all the parts .

    peter s | September 11, 2015 | Reply

  • If my memory serves me correctly, the NDP stopped the CAT ferry service because of a $5 million yearly subsidy; and yet the present government seems to be happily subsidizing the present ferry to the total tune of about $40 million to date. Maybe we should see if we can get the CAT to come back.

    Ron Gilkie | September 11, 2015 | Reply

    • Wish I had thought of that

      Bill B

      Bill | September 11, 2015 | Reply