Next Friday, the Atlantic tourism bubble will burst and Atlantic Canadians will be free to visit one of the four provinces without isolating themselves – and many will. The people who run hotels, restaurants, campsites, gift shops hope for the best.
But even with the new freedom to travel, it seems that provincial governments hope that people will stay close to home.
Nova Scotia has launched a marketing campaign encouraging people to spend their money at home.
Joann Fitzgerald says the province wants to encourage people who traditionally spend their tourism dollars outside of Nova Scotia to redirect spending on stays.
“Visit places and restaurants and accommodations and experiences (that you) have never done before,” said Fitzgerald. “I think that’s where it will help make an impact. ”
Fitzgerald also says that about a third of tourism revenue comes from people who live in the province.
“There is already an idea of people in Nova Scotia who want to spend your money here anyway,” said Fitzgerald.
But there are signs that it could be difficult all summer.
The COVID-19 pandemic poses a major threat to the entire maritime tourism industry.
Restaurant owner Lil MacPherson says fellow Nova Scotians need to pass by and give tourism a big boost this summer.
“I really hope we learn to invest in ourselves locally – in every way,” said MacPherson.
John Campbell, who runs the Sou’Wester restaurant in Peggy’s Cove, is expecting a bad summer.
“My forecast for the year is expected to be down by around 60%,” he said.
In New Brunswick, business leaders cross their fingers and hope that the Atlantic bubble will open the door to much-needed economic growth.
“Perhaps now that our borders are open and traffic is free, we can see that confidence increase,” said John Wishart of the Greater Moncton Chamber of Commerce.
The Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador sent a tweet on Thursday asking Newfoundlanders to stay close to their homes and support the local economy.
Not to be outdone, the Premier of Nova Scotia also turned to Twitter to urge Nova Scotians to rediscover their own province.
“We really need to invest in ourselves and put our money back in our own province and employ our own staff,” said MacPherson.
If these things happen, MacPherson says the tourist season may not be as bad as many fear.