Iconic Nova Scotia tourism sites to get $6M for upgrades

Provincial Business Minister Geoff MacLellan says the goal is to revitalize each site to improve the visitor experience.

Peggys Cove to get $2M, Halifax waterfront to receive $1.5M and the Cabot Trail to get $1M

Peggys Cove is one of the five sites that will receive money under the new Tourism Revitalization of Icons Program. (Cassie Williams/CBC)

Nova Scotia, keenly aware of tourism's importance to the provincial economy, is sprucing up Peggys Cove, the Cabot Trail and three other iconic sites.

Under the new Tourism Revitalization of Icons Program, the $6 million in spending will go toward:

  • Peggys Cove — $2 million.
  • Halifax waterfront — $1.5 million.
  • Cabot Trail — $1 million.
  • Bay of Fundy, including Annapolis Royal — $750,000.
  • Lunenburg waterfront — $750,000.

Provincial Business Minister Geoff MacLellan said the goal is to revitalize each site to improve the visitor experience, but it's not yet clear how the money will be spent.

"Beautification is one aspect of it but ... this is more about infrastructure development," he said. "Getting buses in and out of Peggys Cove efficiently, having access to the best trails on the Cabot Trail and making vast infrastructure improvements on the waterfront in Lunenburg."

The announcement took place Wednesday at the visitor information centre in Peggys Cove.

MacLellan said the impetus for the program comes from the province's lofty goal of reaching $4 billion in tourism revenues by 2024.

The three-year program will be administered by Tourism Nova Scotia, which is to begin working with partners to identify the best plan for each site.

Develop Nova Scotia will lead the planning and implementation of tourism infrastructure enhancements at Peggys Cove, which will include consultation with community and business groups.​

The Town of Lunenburg, N.S., is known for its colourful waterfront. (Gary Yim/Shutterstock)

MacLellan said the government sees tourism as one of the pillars of the province's economy. He said the sector, which employs around five per cent of the province's population, has seen steady growth over the last four years.

"That's due in large part to the natural attractions that we have here, but also the tremendous work by industry," said MacLellan.

"We are seeing potential and growth, but also with many of the emerging regions that want to vie for tourism dollars and the visitors that come along with it, we've got to make sure we stay on top of these things."

MacLellan said the province hopes to spend more money in the future on rejuvenating other iconic destinations.

Earlier this year, the Tourism Department released figures indicating a record number of tourists came to the province last year.

It said 2.4 million people visited Nova Scotia in 2017, an increase of nine per cent over the previous year. Visitation by road was up seven per cent, while visitation by air increased 13 per cent.

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With files from CBC News