Industry and government have launched a tourism plan that addresses the realities of the current global tourism market and sets new directions to ensure Nova Scotia remains competitive. The plan, called New Realities, New Directions, was developed through the industry-led Nova Scotia Tourism Partnership Council. It was launched today, Dec. 4, at the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia’s annual summit. “The Tourism Partnership Council has developed a solid, research-based plan that focuses on delivering exactly what our customers are looking for in vacation experiences,” said Len Goucher, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Heritage. “It’s an innovative, ambitious plan that will take a number of years to implement. It sets new directions to ensure our industry adapts to change, and continues the long-term trend of growth.” Nova Scotia welcomed nearly 1.9 million visitors by the end of October — on par with the same period in 2005 — and room nights sold were up two per cent provincewide. The preliminary revenue estimate for the year is $1.31 billion, an increase of 1.7 per cent over 2005 and on par with 2004. “The leveling off of our visitor numbers reflects the new realities in our global tourism industry,” said Patricia Lyall, chair of the Tourism Partnership Council. Today’s travelers have less time, want more value and want experiences that match their passions, so we have to adapt our product and our marketing.” “We developed the new multi-year tourism plan with three key strategies to keep Nova Scotia competitive in the face of these changes.” The courtship strategy will make fuller use of the Internet with innovative ways of luring potential customers to novascotia.com, giving them engaging samples of Nova Scotia experiences, and making it easy to buy more tourism products online. The gateway strategy takes advantage of the trend of increasing air travel. Marketing will focus less on large geographic areas and more on target cities with air access to Nova Scotia, such as Washington, New York, Calgary and Frankfurt, while travel by road and ferries will still be promoted. The third strategy is building Nova Scotia’s tourism brand around the core experiences that match customers’ passions, such as food, wine, music and history. New Realities, New Directions can be found on the Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage website at www.gov.ns.ca/dtc .