More details on huge cuts to the tourism department by the Blaine Higgs government were revealed during questioning of the Minister of Tourism, Heritage and Culture, Robert Gauvin, before the Standing Committee on Estimates in April.
Liberal critic for the department, Jacques LeBlanc, discovered that two Visitor Information Centres (VIC) would be closing, including the one in Aulac.
“Frankly, I find it baffling that the Minister would choose to close the VIC in Aulac,” said the MLA for Shediac-Beaubassin-Cap-Pelé. “Not only is it a beautiful centre, it’s located at the entrance of the province, right before the New Brunswick and Nova Scotia border. It’s simply essential.”
It was also revealed during Estimates that Murray Beach provincial park will soon be managed by the private sector.
“They completely cut the operations budget for Murray Beach” declared the MLA. “As of 2020, the Provincial Park will be in the hands of a private company.”
While the decreased budget for Tourism, Heritage and Culture is of great concern to the critic, Jacques LeBlanc is especially apprehensive about the way the Minister is dealing with the subject.
This comes only months after the renovation projects at the Memramcook Institute were suddenly cancelled.
The tourism department saw 40 per cent of its budget slashed in the most recent budget.
“We think tourism is a growth sector for the province, an economic opportunity that can create many jobs for New Brunswickers,” LeBlanc said. “Research shows that every dollar invested in tourism returns three times the value to the overall economy. We need to grow the economy and create jobs in New Brunwsick and the minister has done a poor job of explaining how these cuts make any sense.”