Transportation and access to the province are only a few issues to be addressed at a three-day Nova Scotia tourism conference that begins Sunday in Halifax.

 

Darlene Grant Fiander, president of the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia, said the industry is struggling with transportation issues and access into the province, citing Nova Scotia’s ferry service being under constant threat of discontinuation.

 

Fiander said technology has changed the way people plan and book their travels and Nova Scotia has to get with the times.

 

“The world has gotten a lot smaller,” Fiander said. “Its no longer 'they’ll buy what we have,' we have to give them what they want.”

Fiander said a new national strategy for tourism would be revealed at the conference, which is titled the Evolution of Tourism.

The tourism industry generates $1.3 billion in revenue for the province and employs more than 40,000 people.

In July, a month that hosted big events such as the Tall Ships, Paul McCartney and Kiss, the province enjoyed a 20 per cent spike in visitors from July 2008. Fiander said festivals and events are “definitely part of the whole economic engine for tourism.”

“Festivals and events are crucial. People don’t come to stay at a hotel or motel, they come to experience the place.”

The conference features a series of keynote speakers addressing ways to enhance and improve the tourism industry including David Adjey, a Food Network celebrity chef, and Michele Mckenzie, president and CEO of the Canadian Tourism Commission.