When the Atlantic Bubble formed last summer, New Brunswick tempted residents to opt for a staycation within provincial borders by offering a rebate on money spent on local accommodations, attractions and businesses.
With the Explore NB Travel Incentive, residents were offered a 20 per cent rebate on up to $1,000 of eligible expenses – they just had to save their receipts and file them in October.
Almost five months later, many who took advantage of the opportunity are still waiting for the province to pay up.
“The timeline was 10-12 weeks,” says Albert County resident Don Coleman, who filed his receipts in the fall, “obviously we’re more than 12 weeks into the wait time.”
Coleman’s not mad about the delay – in fact, he has nothing but nice things to say about the program.
He says the announcement of it really encouraged a trip to St. Andrew’s last summer.
“We thought ‘wow, that’s a really fabulous idea that the government’s put into place, it’ll give us a little bit of a break on our adventure,’” says Coleman.
Turns out he’s one of over 20,000 New Brunswickers taking advantage and the province is struggling to sift through the applications.
But the Province does say that the process is underway.
“Rebates have begun to be issued and our team will continue working diligently every day to get rebates in the hands of eligible applicants as soon as possible,” says Tourism, Heritage and Culture Minister Tammy Scott-Wallace in a statement posted to the program’s webpage.
A spokesperson for the department tells Global News part of the delay has come from application errors.
“The team is working in great detail with applicants who had challenges submitting the correct receipt to help them rectify the situation,” says Communications Officer Jeremy Trevors.
“This takes time and for this reason, it is difficult to predict completion rates.”
Despite the delays, Coleman says he won’t hesitate to take advantage of the rebate if it’s offered again for summer 2021.