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Message from Tourism Nova Scotia CEO Michele Saran

Friday, March 20, 2020

In the past several days the federal and provincial governments have announced unprecedented measures to help contain the spread of COVID-19.

While these measures are necessary, we know the entire tourism industry is under great pressure to make decisions about business operations and marketing efforts in the midst of many unknowns. 

As the provincial tourism marketing organization, we will do everything we can to provide you with information and updates to help you make informed decisions about your marketing and business activities.  

Tourism businesses are very important to Nova Scotia’s economy and we know this is an overwhelming and uncertain time for business owners and their employees. 

The Department of Business, through a rapid response team, is working collaboratively with business associations from across Nova Scotia, along with Tourism Nova Scotia and other Crown corporations and provincial and municipal partners.  The focus is on preserving the cash flow of small business, including increasing access to credit, and deferring fees and expenses whenever possible. The provincial government web site ( will be updated shortly with details of actions the provincial government is taking to support businesses, so check back soon.  

For a list of federal and provincial programs, tools and resources available to businesses, along with up-to-date information on COVID-19, visit This web page is updated daily as new information becomes available.  

Our business development team is available to help you navigate newly announced and already existing programs and resources to support you in moving through and beyond this situation. 

Our research team is working to develop scenarios that will estimate the possible impact of COVID-19 on tourism demand, and the resulting possible impact on provincial tourism revenues in 2020 and 2021.

We know that tourism demand will be constrained for the foreseeable future, and it will take some time before potential visitors feel ready to travel again. We need to be ready to go back into key markets at the right time. To that end, Tourism Nova Scotia’s research team will be working with national and provincial partners, as well as commissioning research, to develop indicators that will help us understand future travel intentions, and provide insight into when tourism activity from our key markets is likely to resume in Nova Scotia. These indicators will inform Tourism Nova Scotia’s marketing decisions. They may also help you with your business planning.  These activities are a priority and we’ll share them with you when they are available.  

At this time, all marketing campaigns in our key markets of Ontario, Quebec, Northeastern US, UK, Germany and China are on hold until further notice.

In order to be effective in the short and long term it is important to approach marketing strategically, based on the scenario and leading indicator insights mentioned above. The most important goal for tourism marketing organizations at this time is to maximize tourism marketing budgets to ensure the strongest recovery possible.  

Here are some things to consider: 

-    Tourism Nova Scotia is focused on export tourism growth, meaning we work to boost tourism spending from outside the province.  Nova Scotia’s tourism industry recovery and sustainability depends on export tourism.  

-    86% of all non-resident visitors come from Canada. That is where the majority of our marketing investment is currently made, and any adjustments to our approach will be based on research. 

-    Much of our marketing in international markets like the US, Germany, UK, and China is done in partnership with Destination Canada, the four Atlantic provinces through the Atlantic Canada Agreement on Tourism, tour operators, Halifax Stanfield International Airport and other partners. We will be working collaboratively with all of our partners and in-market representatives to determine next steps.  Air access to Nova Scotia will be an important consideration moving forward.

-    About one-third of tourism revenues are generated by Nova Scotians travelling in NS. Building Nova Scotia’s tourism confidence is a key pillar of our strategy.  Earlier this year, TNS began working with our agency of record to develop a tourism confidence campaign targeted at Nova Scotians. The campaign aims to inspire pride in all the incredible things Nova Scotia has to offer as a vacation destination.  We see great potential for this campaign to lift the spirits of Nova Scotians and encourage more “stay-cations”.
With the constant stream of information and updates being circulated, we want our communication to contain helpful and new information each time you hear from us.  

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions. Shared communication and alignment will help us all move forward together. 


Michele Saran, CEO
Tourism Nova Scotia