A sample of tourism operations in Nova Scotia shows the Nova Star ferry between Portland and Yarmouth is having an impact.

The ferry ran only a partial season this year carrying 59,018 passengers.

It's no surprise tourism businesses in Yarmouth say the ferry has resulted in increased sales, but even those outside the immediate area say business is picking up because of the return of a New England-Yarmouth service. 

In Shelburne, about an hour's drive down the South Shore from Yarmouth, they're happy to see the return of the ferry at Mackenzie's Motel and Cottages.

Office manager Paulette Atwood said when the CAT was running, they had to turn guests away and send them to the competition.

As a result, Mackenzie's bought that rival, Wildwood Motel, but then the CAT was cancelled. That made for some tense times as business dropped.

But now that the Nova Star is running, even in a shortened season, Atwood said business is up 25 per cent this year. She said it has meant hiring more staff to handle the additional business. 

"We needed to have extra cleaners. We needed to have another office admin to help us run the other facility. Having people come across on the ferry has done nothing but good for us," said Atwood. 

Atwood said they now employ 11 people, putting more money back into the local economy.

She said other businesses are benefiting, too.

"While they're here, they're going to do things here. They're going to do things in this area, use other facilities like laundromats or whatever's available for them to do, so it can only be positive," said Atwood.

She's hoping as ferry business grows, it will grow the town too.

"I'd love to see this place back the way it was when I was growing up. Shelburne was a busy, busy spot."

'We want it to remain and we want it to be successful'

About an hour away in the other direction, Hedley House in Smith's Cove, Digby County, didn't see much ferry traffic at the start of the season but Manager Joanne LeBlanc said as the summer wore on, business was up 10 to 20 per cent.

In the central part of the province, Ann MacCormack, co-owner of the Tulips and Thistle B and B has no firm numbers but she said she's had "quite a few" guests who arrived on the Nova Star.  

At the other end of the province, in Cape Breton, Catherine Lamey owns and operates the Cabot Trail Motel, outside Baddeck on the Trans-Canada Highway.

She said, "While I can't say I had new business because of the ferry, some guests have used the ferry."

Lamey already knows her business will benefit next year, because half of the bus tours booked for next year have extended their stays, thanks to the ferry.

"They usually would just do two nights and do the Cabot Trail but they're going to extend it now another night and take in the Fortress of Louisbourg, so the extended stay to me is just as good as new business," she said. 

Lamey said it's going to take time to establish new ferry business. She said bus tour operators need to have confidence that it's going to be there in two years time.

She is already taking bus tour reservations for 2015 and 2016.

"Right now  when they're putting their packages together they're looking at costs and routes and they need to know the ferry will be there," she said. 

All of the tourism operators who spoke with CBC News said they hope the ferry is given a chance to succeed.

"Absolutely, we want it to remain and we want it to be successful," said Atwood.