Atlantic bubble not enough to keep operators open, says N.B. tourism association
Tourism Industry Association of New Brunswick requests $50M to help keep operators in business
Tourism businesses across the province are trying to make ends meet as the summer starts to pass with border restrictions and other COVID-19 prevention measures.
The president and chief executive officer of the Tourism Industry Association of New Brunswick said the Atlantic bubble provides more hope, but it's not enough.
"Tourists coming from Atlantic Canada only account for 33 per cent of the tourists coming to New Brunswick. So there is still a lot of help that is needed for our industry for sure," Carol Alderdice told Information Morning Fredericton.
She said to keep some tourism operators afloat they are going to need government help with things such as grants or forgivable loans. The association has put together a package that requests $50 million from the government of New Brunswick.
Alderdice said the association is cautiously optimistic.
During an interview with Information Morning Fredericton, Premier Blaine Higgs said there is a meeting today to go over their requests, but it's a "big request."
"It's going to be very difficult for the province to deal with that," said Higgs.
He said he wants people to realize that New Brunswick is ahead of the country in its recovery.
"I want to work with companies, but we're going to have a very open discussion this morning about what their assets are and what they hope to achieve directly," Higgs said.
The association has received some help from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. They've provided a grant that offers free membership to everyone in the association.
"There is no way I would ever send a bill when they're all suffering so much. So I was thrilled," Alderdice said.
'Better late than never'
Alderdice said she understands why the Quebec and Ontario borders remain closed for now, but opening to those provinces would help the industry a lot.
She estimated that some operators see 65 per cent of their business from Quebec. She said peak season begins in June and ends at the beginning of September.
"A lot of our small industries depend on those 12 weeks. June, July, August, just to survive for the year."
She said about six per cent of the industry has already shut down, but they're hoping to avoid as many shutdowns as possible.
If New Brunswick opens its borders by August, Alderdice said they'll do their best to turn September and October into the high point of the tourist season.
"There will still be casualties, but we're trying to make that as little as possible."
Information Morning Fredericton