New Brunswick offers to pay Atlantic Canadians to travel to its province this summer

As Atlantic Canadians cautiously make summer plans, the New Brunswick government wants to be a competitive choice for their calendar.

The province is extending its travel incentive program to all Atlantic Canadians – offering to pay them 20 per cent of their accommodation, transportation, food, drink and activity costs if they come to New Brunswick.

“Our visitors from Newfoundland, P.E.I. and Nova Scotia – they will go to tourismnewbrunswick.ca, they’ll visit online like any New Brunswicker would, and will have the same opportunity to apply for that rebate. We really want to invite our neighbours back to New Brunswick this year, and this is such an exciting way to do it," says Tourism Minister Tammy Scott Wallace.

The department is increasing its budget for the program, from $3 million last summer to $4.5 million this year.

People who travel between May 27 and Oct. 31 will be eligible to apply for the rebate, up to $1,000 of eligible expenses for a maximum refund of 20 per cent.

Carol Alderdice of the Tourism Industry Association of N.B. says the sector was one of the hardest hit during the pandemic and she is excited about a program that can kick start some recovery.

“I don’t think anybody knows what the industry is going to look like moving forward. It certainly isn’t going to be the industry that we were used to having and the results that we used to get. We had three years of record years, in 2017, 18 and 19…but COVID kind of stopped all of that,” Alderdice said.

“There are stats that show that we will not recover to our present level much before 2023-24, so we’re hoping it won’t take that long, but you know there’s been a lot of our operators that have actually not even been able to survive.”

New Brunswick is reopening to travellers from P.E.I., N.L., and parts of Quebec on June 7, if the province reaches its goal of 75 per cent of residents vaccinated with the first dose.

If 75 per cent of residents are vaccinated with one dose, and 20 per cent of those over 65 are vaccinated with both doses, N.B. will reopen to those in Nova Scotia and Canadians who have one dose of the vaccine, on Canada Day.