TOURISM, CULTURE AND HERITAGE–Multi-million Dollar Investmentfor Tourism Nova Scotia’s tourism industry has been given a multi-milliondollar boost for marketing, product development and assistingregional tourism initiatives. Tourism, Culture and Heritage Minister Rodney MacDonald announcedtoday, Dec. 6, an additional $15 million investment that willensure that tourism continues to be an important economicgenerator and a competitive player in a global industry. “We are investing with confidence in an industry that willcontinue to help grow the province’s economy. The impact fromthis new investment will be felt by tourism for the next threeyears and beyond,” said Mr. MacDonald. “The Nova Scotiagovernment is committed to partnering with the industry to makedramatic advances in tourism development over the next decade.The industry’s vision is to double tourism revenues by 2012.” Each year, tourism returns millions of dollars in tax revenues tothe province and municipalities. Most of that money comes fromoutside of the province. “This is a timely and significant investment which clearlydemonstrates the government’s partnership with industry,” saidScott MacAulay, chair of the Tourism Partnership Council. “Itwill certainly help us implement our 2005 tourism plan and opens up new opportunities to attract more visitors to the province.” 2004 has been another challenging year, with mixed results fortourism in Atlantic Canada and around the world. However,preliminary estimates show Nova Scotia is faring relatively well,with visitation up five per cent and revenues up one per cent at$1.29 billion. Even with more visitors this year, room nightssold in the province are estimated to be down by two per cent. “The additional investment announced today provides tourismoperators with renewed optimism,” said Nicholas Carson, chair ofthe Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia. “This is exactlywhat’s needed to ensure tourism in this province remainscompetitive. Many other provinces and countries are makingsubstantial increases in their tourism investments; we have tokeep up.” Despite mixed results for this year, there were positivehighlights: international air visits were up 28 per cent over 2003 with a number of airlines adding weekly flights from Europe; cruise ship visits were up 27 per cent and the cruise season is now running between April and November; the Acadian celebrations and the Tall Ships drew thousands of visitors to the province; Cape Breton was designated the number two travel destination in the world for sustainable tourism by National Geographic’s Traveler magazine; Halifax International Airport became the first airport in the world to earn SuperHost status, an internationally recognized customer service training status that focuses on communication, customer service, attitudes to service, and interaction with customers; Annapolis Royal took first place and a gold award in the International Awards for Liveable Communities; and it was agreed that a long-term marketing plan, partnership plan and sales plan will be implemented in the 2005 Tourism Plan. 2005 holds out the promise of a strong year for tourism in NovaScotia. The East Coast Music Awards will be held in Sydney thisFebruary; Glen Arbour in Hammonds Plains will host the LPGA Tourthis July; and the 400th anniversary of Port-Royal will becelebrated.