Pictou-Advocate-opinion

Great tourism season in province could have been so much more

Opinion

To the Editor:

Tourism is up in Nova Scotia:  way up in some areas. A low dollar, cheap fuel and wonderful weather have people on the move.  Great news!

But … while the McNeil Liberals furiously pat themselves on the back, they should be kicking themselves in the pants.  Conditions were ripe for a bumper tourism year and they blew it. With a little leadership and planning, tourism could be literally through the roof.

Instead, people in the industry are quietly reaching out and sharing their frustrations. There are so many gaffs on the tourism file that even I am (almost) at a loss for words.

Think about what our visitor information centres have been through, how desperate our beaches and parks are for investment and the power of smart, strategic advertising. In short, think about what well-spent tourism dollars could have accomplished.

Now, think about a Liberal Cabinet that has slashed those budgets and instead thrown $25-30 million in the air “hoping” on a ferry (without even reading the contract). They blew it.

We need a sustainable plan for Sou’West Nova, not a knee-jerk political reaction designed only for electioneering.  There is so much that can be done to grow this province but, short-sighted decisions like those made on the tourism file remind us how far we have to go.

It’s time to stop throwing money at things and hoping for results.  I don’t have any philosophical issue with the concept of a ferry or other international link for Yarmouth but I would certainly be re-negotiating the terrible Liberal deal and delivering something to the taxpayers of Yarmouth and beyond that is sustainable and that is part of a strategy to really build tourism.

Meanwhile, the Liberals put all of your eggs in one poorly-constructed basket. You deserve better.

Tim Houston
MLA for Pictou East

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