Tourism in coastal communities is an important part of the economies of all four Atlantic Provinces. With many internationally renowned attractions, Atlantic Canada benefits from many thousands of direct and indirect jobs along with billions of dollars in revenue from visitors arriving from around the world. In Nova Scotia, tourism is a $1.82 billion industry, contributing to the $646 million provincial gross domestic product (see more Nova Scotia Tourism Industry Facts, also see New Brunswick Tourism Indicators Summary Report 2013).

Sustainability and Ecotourism

More often than not, it is the natural beauty of a coastal destination or the community that surrounds it that makes it sought out by tourists. As such, the health and endurance of coastal ecosystems and communities must be a priority to ensure the sustainability of the destination. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has released the Sustainable Coastal Tourism handbook to explain how the tourism sector can coordinate effectively in the overall development of coastal zones and contribute to the long-term sustainability of these areas. In 2006, the Nova Scotia Strategy for Sustainable Coastal Tourism Development was submitted by the Nova Scotia Vision for Tourism Team. National Geographic’s Centre for Sustainable Destinations offers sustainable tourism resources for travelers and members of the industry, as well as a guide to sustainable travel destinations around the world.

Sustainability is especially important in the growing field of ecotourism. Ecotourism involves nature-based tourism where the goal of both tourists and the operator is the observation, appreciation and preservation of nature and traditional cultures. Ecotourism ideally helps protect natural areas by bringing economic benefits and new jobs to local communities through preservation efforts. Ecotourism includes many outdoor activities, attractions and wildlife-sighting that Atlantic Canada is famed for.

Source: Atlantic Canada Ecotourism

Tourism in Marine Environments

Tourism in Marine Environments is an interdisciplinary journal dealing with a variety of management issues in marine settings. It is a scientific journal that draws upon the expertise of academics and practitioners from various disciplines related to the marine environment, including tourism, marine science, geography, social sciences, psychology, environmental studies, economics, marketing, and many more.

Kejimkujik National Park Seaside

Kejimkujik National Park Seaside is a wild and isolated 22 km² stretch of coastline west of Liverpool in the South Shore region of Nova Scotia.

Iceberg Kayaking in Newfoundland and Labrador

Icebergs drift south on the cold Labrador Current until they break apart, often spectacularly, and melt in the warmer waters around Newfoundland.

Atlantic Growth Strategy

Tourism is of strategic importance to Atlantic Canada. It supports 9,600 businesses, employs 57,000 Atlantic Canadians and contributes nearly $5 billion annually to Atlantic Canada’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Tourism and the Atlantic Growth Strategy

Growing tourism is part of the Trade and Investment priority of the Atlantic Growth Strategy. The strategy was launched in 2016 by the Government of Canada and the four Atlantic Provinces as a pan-Atlantic, collaborative approach to stimulate the region's economy, support the middle class and address both longstanding and emerging regional challenges. The strategy is driving economic development in Atlantic Canada by delivering concrete and measurable results. 

The Government of Canada, through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), Destination Canada, and the four Atlantic provincial governments have worked together over the last year to develop a new, strategic approach to tourism development in the region. They will continue to work together to develop innovative ways to strengthen the tourism sector in the region.

Objectives and Outcomes

This new pan-Atlantic tourism approach will more fully align the region’s marketing, product development, and capacity building initiatives with national and provincial programs and priorities. This will help increase the reach of Atlantic Canada’s tourism industry into international markets and strengthen the industry’s knowledge, professionalism and overall performance.

Investments made through the new tourism strategy are expected to generate $200 million in export revenues for Atlantic tourism businesses over the next three years. It is also expected to grow the region’s tourism sector by 200 small-and medium-sized enterprises for a total of 9,800, and by 6,000 jobs, for a total of 63,000

Quick Facts

  • Funding for the Atlantic Canada Tourism Partnership 2015-2018 is $19,950,000 and comes from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency ($9,975,000) the four Atlantic Provinces (a combined total of $6,583,500), and the four Atlantic tourism associations (a combined total of $3,391,500).
  • ACTP is a nine-member, pan-Atlantic, international marketing initiative comprised of ACOA, the four tourism industry associations in Atlantic Canada and the provincial departments responsible for tourism in the provinces of New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
  • A recent third party analysis found that the ACTP 2012-2015 agreement’s activities generated $164.4 million in revenues for tourism enterprises in Atlantic Canada. This equates to a return on investment of $13.55 for every dollar invested in direct-to-consumer advertising and joint marketing partnership with the travel trade.

Kayak around red sandstone caves in St. Martins, New Brunswick created over thousands of years by agitating waters. 

Provincial Links

New Brunswick

Prince Edward Island

Nova Scotia

Newfoundland and Labrador

Go to top