Nova Scotia’s Canadian Signature Experiences

Canadian Signature Experiences Program

CSE Program Overview

Co-managed by the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) and thirteen provincial/territorial marketing organizations (PMOs) across Canada, the Canadian Signature Experiences (CSE) program features a collection of visitor experiences that are best aligned to deliver internationally on the CTC’s Canada Keep Exploring brand promise and drive international sales to Canadian tourism businesses. Celebrating a made-in Canada visitor experience, the collection represents large and small companies, rural, urban and remote experiences and visitor experiences that are offered to mass and niche markets.

A Canadian Signature Experience is a purchasable visitor experience that responds to travellers’ desires to venture beyond the beaten tourist paths; one which dives deeper into Canada’s natural environment and/or authentic, local culture that connects with people and enriches their lives. It engages visitors in a series of memorable travel activities, revealed over time, that are inherently personal, engage the senses, and make connections on an emotional, physical, spiritual, intellectual, or social level.

The CSE program places emphasis on travel trade initiatives.  Past experience with CSE integration efforts across global markets concludes that CSE members that are export-ready and have an established business relationship with the travel trade (receptive tours operators (RTOs) and/or in-market tour operators) are critical to the goals, objectives and benefits associated with the CSE program.  Export-market readiness is mandatory for CSEs.

The CTC and Tourism Nova Scotia (TNS) will integrate the CSE collection into respective travel trade, marketing and media initiatives to raise awareness of Nova Scotia’s CSEs where it is advantageous to do so.

CSE Program Objectives:

The CSE program objectives are to:

  • Help change perceptions of travelling within Canada in the international marketplace and broaden the view of what Canada has to offer as a destination;
  • Align Canadian tourism operators with the CTC’s corporate strategy; with Canada’s tourism brand; and with the experiences travellers are seeking.
  • Create demand for Canada by highlighting export-ready travel experiences that meet target travellers’ interests as identified by the CTC’s Explorer Quotient (EQ) research;
  • Drive international travellers down all the consumer path-to-purchase by showcasing compelling Canadian experiences in CTC and PMO marketing, social media and travel trade initiatives where it is advantageous to do so.
  • Raise the bar and stimulate new product development and packaging with industry to create travel experiences that respond to Canada’s target travellers’ motivations;
  • Increase the number of small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) in international markets.

Benefits for Tourism Operators

Experiences in this collection are helping Canada win more international travel business, which is the biggest benefit of the program.  Of course, there are also marketing benefits for tourism businesses that are part of the Canadian Signature Experiences collection.  The program will give tourism experiences that qualify (based on the program criteria a chance to reach key international audiences by way of CTC and TNS marketing, media and travel trade initiatives that cover the international markets they invest in. These initiatives use the very best approaches in a number of different channels, including social media, travel media relations and consumer marketing campaigns. Our program and campaigns have the potential to influence visitors and increase the number of international visitors likely to book a trip to visit CSE tourism businesses.


If you have a unique and differentiated travel experience to offer and are export-market ready, the CSE program may be an excellent fit for you. After meeting guidelines for a NS experience, and meeting export ready criteria, we invite you to follow the CSE Application Process:

CSE Application Process

If you are export-ready and interested in raising the profile of your Nova Scotia tourism experience through the CSE program, please refer to the following application protocol:

Review & Consider Your Fit

  1. Tourism operators interested in learning more about the CSE program and the application process should first consult the CTC’s CSE website, which includes links to a CSE Backgrounder, CSE Program Eligibility Criteria, Export-Ready Criteria, CSE FAQ guide, current CSE members and the CSE Application Guide.

Take the Quiz

  1. If you feel that your experience meets the program criteria as outlined in the CTC’s CSE Program Eligibility Criteria document, take the CSE Pre-qualifying Quiz to determine if your business is ready for the CSE program.
    1. If you answered “Yes” to all of the questions on the CSE Pre-qualifying Quiz, forward a signed copy of the quiz to the Nova Scotia Tourism Agency contacts identified below to indicate your interest in the program and request your application form.
    2. If it is determined that your experience is a fit for the CSE program and your business satisfies the established eligibility criteria, an application form will be forwarded to you.  
    3. If you answered “No” to any of the questions on the quiz, your business is not ready for the CSE program at this time. The Nova Scotia Tourism Agency’s development and travel trade staff are available to discuss your experience and current export-market readiness, and offer guidance.

Contact Tourism Nova Scotia

  1. Following a successful pre-qualifying quiz, complete the CSE Application Form available from TNS. TNS's contacts (see below) are available to assist you with the application process and answer any questions you may have. Consult the CSE Applicant’s Guide for further information.

Submit Application

  1. Submit your completed CSE Application Form to TNS contacts for evaluation.
    1. If your application is reviewed favourably, the TNS will recommend your application to the CTC for approval. TNS and the CTC will conduct a final review of the application and render a decision. Please allow up to six weeks for a decision to be made.  
    2. If TNS determines that your application does not meet the CSE program criteria, it will not be forwarded to the CTC. TNS will provide constructive feedback.
  2. The CTC will notify successful applicants that they have been conditionally approved, and will enter into a Conditional Acceptance phase in order to ready the tourism operator, TNS and the CTC to announce the new CSE member, and to ensure the operator is ready to answer inquiries and execute the sale.
  3. Once the requirements for conditional acceptance have been met, the applicant’s acceptance into the CSE collection will be confirmed by the CTC, and will remain confidential until the CTC issues a formal announcement to industry. Refer to the CSE Application Guide for the list of requirements to be met during the Conditional Acceptance Period.
  4. The CTC will announce the new CSE member in consultation with TNS. Prior to the announcement, the CTC will create a webpage for the CSE to be posted on the CTC’s Canada Keep Exploring Website, prepare the announcement and coordinate communications with the PMO and tourism operator, and arrange translation of materials. TNS will feature the CSE on the “experiences” section of, and promote as advantageous to do so.

Please contact us with any questions about the CSE application process:
Heather Yule
Acting Manager, Development

Kim Jardine
Manager, Sales and Media