The province of New Brunswick has decided to extend its travel incentive program to include all of Atlantic Canada, when the reopening of provincial borders allows.
In a release Tuesday, the province said all Atlantic Canadians visiting New Brunswick will be able to claim a rebate under the Explore NB Travel Incentive program.
It was first created in 2020 to encourage New Brunswick residents to travel within the province during the summer and early fall, and to stimulate the tourism industry amid COVID-19.
“With our reopening plan in place, I am optimistic this will be a great tourism season, for both New Brunswickers and our tourism industry,” said Tourism, Heritage and Culture Minister Tammy Scott-Wallace in the release.
“I could not be prouder of what the industry has accomplished over the past year, and how patient everyone has been throughout the pandemic. We all deserve an unforgettable summer and we can not wait to welcome our Atlantic neighbours to join us.”
The incentive program provides a 20 per cent rebate on eligible expenses of up to $1,000. Those expenses can be made while making an overnight stay in New Brunswick between May 27 and Oct. 31. Applications will be open from July 5 to Nov. 30.
The release initially said the change will take effect on July 1, but has since been revised to say it will happen when the reopening of the provincial borders allows.
The province is slated to open its borders to Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador, without the need to self-isolate, on June 7.
Nova Scotians will be able to enter the province without self-isolating on July 1, if 75 per cent of residents have had one dose of the vaccine and 20 per cent over the age of 60 have two doses.
In the release, Carol Alderdice, president and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of New Brunswick, said the organization is “extremely pleased” that the incentive program was renewed this year.
“This is a program that was recommended by industry and developed by the provincial government last year and was welcomed by both industry and residents,” she said.
“It helped support our tourism operators and provided an opportunity for our residents to truly explore and appreciate this beautiful province.”
According to the province, the tourism industry employs between 30,000 and 40,000 people and contributes more than $520 million to New Brunswick’s annual gross domestic product.