July 15, 2024

Advancing Business Excellence

Pioneering Corporate Success

8 in 10 Atlantic tourism operators expecting little growth amid soaring summer costs

Halifax, June 25, 2024 – Tourism operators in Atlantic Canada do not expect to see an increase in revenue this summer, according to a new survey from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). Approximately a quarter (26%) of businesses across Atlantic Canada said that their business’ financial health relied on a successful tourism season. 

“It’s concerning to see possible signs of stagnation within the tourism and hospitality industry,” said Duncan Robertson, Senior Policy Analyst for Nova Scotia at CFIB. “It’s a sector that was hit especially hard during the pandemic but has been recovering steadily each year. As the cost of doing business soars, small businesses need an environment that will allow them to keep up.” 

In addition to the cost of doing business, the rising cost of living for the average Canadian has a trickle-down effect on Atlantic Canada’s tourism industry. Earlier this year, The Globe and Mail reported that 46% of Canadians are travelling less than they did in previous years due to rising costs. This travel drought is echoed in the May edition of CFIB’s Monthly Business Barometer®, with over half (55%) of hospitality businesses across the country citing “insufficient demand” as a main limitation on sales and production growth. 

“It’s a major industry in Atlantic Canada. There are thousands of small businesses that collectively employ over 100,000 workers. With the financial situation of their business being the primary concern for one in five small businesses owners, governments need to support small businesses in the tourism sector to protect an integral aspect of Atlantic Canada’s economy,” Robertson said. 

To help ease the burden of rising summer costs during a period of limited growth for small businesses, CFIB urges the federal government to return the $70.1 million in carbon tax rebates owed to all small businesses in Atlantic Canada. Additionally, CFIB is pushing provincial governments to cut the provincial gas tax to encourage local travel by lowering movement costs throughout the region. 

CFIB also recommends the following to help tourism-reliant businesses succeed during this summer season: 

  • Reduce the small business tax rate to 2% and increase the income threshold from $500,000 to $700,000 to help small operators catch up 
  • Improve the marketing and promotion of Employment Support Programs to small businesses to address labour shortages in the tourism sectors
  • Municipal governments should eliminate patio fees so businesses in hospitality sector can make the most of summer 

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:  
Duncan Robertson, CFIB  
[email protected]  

The data referenced in this news release was gathered through the June Your Voice 2024 CFIB online, controlled-access survey – Final Results, Active dates: June 6-19, 2024. Results based on responses from 139 CFIB members who are owners of Canadian independent businesses, from all sectors and regions of the country. For comparison purposes, a probability samples with the same number of respondents would have a margin of error of +/- 2.17%, 19 times out of 20. 

May Business Barometer®: May findings are based on 602 responses from a stratified random sample of CFIB members to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received from May 8 to 15. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 4.0 per cent 19 times in 20. Every new month, the entire series of indicators is recalculated for the previous month to include all survey responses received in that previous month. 

About CFIB 
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 97,000 members across every industry and region, including 10,200 in Atlantic Canada. CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings. Learn more at cfib.ca.