Deadline looms to claim summer travel expenses in New Brunswick

·2 min read

As Jeff Grandy headed into this year's summer tourism season, he was worried about how badly the COVID-19 pandemic would affect his business.

Grandy is the co-owner of the Holy Whale Brewery and Buddha Bear Coffee Roaster. With locations in Alma, near Fundy Park, and in Riverview, he wasn't sure how many customers to expect, even when the province offered incentives to travel and spend in New Brunswick..

In July, the provincial government launched the Explore New Brunswick Travel Incentive Program, to encourage people to travel within their own province.

A rebate of 20 per cent was offered on vacation expenses of up to $1000.

Applicants had to be 19 years of age or over, a permanent resident of the province and have detailed receipts from travel in New Brunswick between July 15 to Sept. 30, 2020.

"I applaud them for trying and we definitely, I think we saw people because of it. So we don't have a quantifiable number exactly other than we ran out of receipt paper a lot quicker than we normally do, so I think a lot of it had to do with that." he said.

Grandy said overall the summer went better than he expected.

Submitted/Jeff Grandy
Submitted/Jeff Grandy

On Grand Manan, Kaye Small says there were a lot of visitors who had never been to the Island before.

She's the owner of North Head Campground and Hiking Park.

Although she saw more hikers, her campground numbers didn't increase.

She's not sure how many visitors used the travel incentive program.

"They got their receipts and if they used them that was their issue. A few, I would say about 50 per cent said, 'Oh yeah, maybe I'll get a rebate,' but it wasn't a hot topic with them." she said.

Time is running out for anyone who does want to submit their receipts.

People have until Friday, Oct. 30 at 4 p.m. to submit their claim.

The website for the Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture has a long list of which expenses are eligible, and what can't be submitted.

North Head Campground and Park/Facebook
North Head Campground and Park/Facebook

For example, food purchased at a restaurant can be claimed, while groceries cannot.

Jean Bertin, the communications officer for the Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture said it takes 10 to 12 weeks for claims to be processed.

Bertin says so far, the province has received 22,387 claims.

Claims can be submitted online using a computer, tablet or mobile phone.