HOPEWELL CAPE (GNB) – A new initiative is encouraging New Brunswick residents to plan a staycation in the province this summer.

The Explore NB Travel Incentive program was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to stimulate the tourism industry. It will allow New Brunswickers to apply for a 20 per cent rebate on eligible expenses made while taking a vacation that includes a paid overnight stay in the province between July 15 and Sept. 30.

“This program is part of our ongoing efforts in assisting the tourism, cultural and recreational sectors to survive, recover and reimagine their future as they go through the pandemic,” said Tourism, Heritage and Culture Minister Bruce Fitch. “This rebate will not only encourage New Brunswickers to travel and discover the natural beauty and diversity of our province but to also support our industries during a period of time they need it the most.”

The incentive program will also benefit the culture and heritage sectors, as some spending in these areas will be eligible for the rebate.

The initiative was developed by the Tourism Labour Force Adjustment Committee, which is composed of industry representatives from various sectors, including the Tourism Industry Association of New Brunswick.

“We understand the province's financial situation and we appreciate the support to the industry through this travel incentive program,” said Carol Alderdice, president and CEO of the association. “It will benefit our tourism operators and other economic sectors by encouraging New Brunswickers to travel more and spend time in their province this summer.”

There are four categories of eligible expenses in New Brunswick:

  • accommodations (such as hotels, motels, inns, B&Bs and campsites);
  • food and drink (such as restaurants and food trucks);
  • activities (such as entrance fees to attractions, museums, art galleries, cultural events and outdoor adventure activities); and
  • travel (such as vehicle rentals, ferries and parking).

Residents may apply for the 20 per cent rebate on eligible expenses up to $1,000. To qualify, the applicant must be:

  • a permanent resident of New Brunswick;
  • have valid and detailed receipts from registered New Brunswick businesses; and
  • have a paid overnight stay at a New Brunswick accommodation.

A list of eligible expenses and criteria is available online.

Applications for the Explore NB Travel Incentive Program will be available online and must be submitted between Oct. 1-30.

Residents who have questions about the program, including eligible expenses and criteria, should contact the department at explorenb@gnb.ca.