HALIFAX — In an effort to fill gaps in federal programming, Nova Scotia has promised to back loans taken by large tourism operators so they can receive better interest rates and more favourable terms at their bank of choice.

The program will be administered by the Nova Scotia COVID-19 Response Council at Dalhousie University.

“COVID-19 restrictions have hit the industry hard,” says Geoff MacLellan, Minister of Business. “Our large tourism operators are important to the growth of our sector. By helping the larger operators, small and medium operators also benefit. There are direct or indirect benefits for everyone.”

The Tourism Sector Financing Assistance Program will provide large operators access to lower-cost financing through a loan backstop. The $50-million program is designed to assist the Nova Scotia tourism sector by providing eligible operators access to debt financing, such as lines of credit or term loans issued by a chartered bank or the Business Development Bank of Canada, at more favourable terms.

Eligible tourism businesses include resort, tour and scenic and sightseeing transportation operators with at least 100 full-time and/or seasonal employees, annual revenue of at least $10 million and who have experienced revenue decline of at least 50 per cent for the period of April 1 to July 30, 2020 compared to the same period last year.

“This type of loan support could provide our company with much-needed financial stability as we adapt to this industry-wide crisis under very challenging market conditions,” says Dennis Campbell, CEO, Ambassatours Gray Line and Murphy’s on the Water. “As one of eastern Canada’s largest tourism experience providers and employers, we’re committed to working with our many partners to ensure that locals and visitors continue to be offered creative, memorable ways to explore and enjoy our province.”

Further information about the program is available at novascotia.ca.

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