• Regional businesses are breathing a small sigh of relief with the imminent arrival of the 'Atlantic Bubble'

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    With the region gearing up for the return of tourism through the Atlantic Bubble agreement, business owners remain concerned, but are slightly more optimistic about the future than they were before.

    That's according to the President and CEO of the Halifax Chamber of Commerce Patrick Sullivan.

    He says it has been a very difficult few months for businesses, adding when it comes to the potential hazard of a second wave of COVID-19, the public health response cannot be as drastic as it was the first time.

    He hopes we've learned enough so far to prevent such a significant shutdown from being required.

    "Using masks, using other PPE [personal protective equipment]," says Sullivan. "So I think we've learned a lot, and the economy can't deal with another shock like this.
    "And frankly, government doesn't have enough money to pay for this," adds Sullivan.
    Meanwhile, Chief Marketing Officer of Tourism Nova Scotia Joann Fitzgerald says the Atlantic bubble is great news, and their job is to convince people to explore this province.

    "A lot of times we understand people often are very familiar with one or two key areas of the province, but may not necessarily travel to other regions, and that's our job right now, to get people out, and booking, and travelling within the province," says Fitzgerald.

    She says in some ways Tourism Nova Scotia was lucky, in that the pandemic, and subsequent tight restrictions came down just before they were set to launch their out of region advertising campaign, so they were able to quickly pivot and turn their focus to encouraging Nova Scotians, and Atlantic Canadians to come here.

    "38 per cent of overall tourism revenues come from Nova Scotians but we also know there's other dollars out there within Nova Scotia and the Atlantic Provinces that people would have spent money outside, so now we're able to entice them with that exploration, and entice them to come to Nova Scotia to spend those dollars," she says. "So it's really important given we can't go out beyond [the region] at this point in time."

    The Atlantic Bubble takes effect this coming Friday July 3rd, but all regional leaders are reminding travellers they must still adhere to local entry requirements.

    Dave Heinzman