Nova Scotia welcomed 30,600 more visitors in the first nine months of 2012, compared to the same time in 2011, an increase of two per cent. “We are very happy with the results so far and are working to become even more competitive in the global tourism market,” said Percy Paris, Minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism. “Through the Nova Scotia Tourism Agency, we are taking a new approach to tourism and collaborating with industry on a long-term strategy to continue to build tourism and grow the provincial economy.” “The industry continues to show its resilience as an economic driver for the province,” said Darlene Grant Fiander, president of the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia. “We are looking forward to the new direction for 2013 that will bring a renewed focus on sector growth.” Year-to-date, road travel to the province increased by five per cent, while air travel was down four per cent compared to last year. For the first nine months of the year, domestic travel to the province was up two per cent. Visits from Atlantic Canada increased by five per cent, visits from Ontario were up three per cent, and visits from Quebec decreased 10 per cent. Visits from western Canada decreased by seven per cent. Outside Canada, total overseas visits were up two per cent so far this year. Results for the U.K. were up 17 per cent while visits from Germany were down 23 per cent. Visits from the United States to Nova Scotia were down two per cent. Room nights sold in the province were down by two per cent year to date. Tourism statistics vary across the province. Detailed results can be found at www.gov.ns.ca/econ/tourism/research/latest-activity-updates.asp. Nova Scotia’s comprehensive system for reporting monthly tourism statistics includes counting non-resident overnight visitors at entry points to the province and gathers the number of room nights sold from licensed accommodation operators. Tourism is an important contributor to Nova Scotia’s economy. In 2008, the industry employed more than 22,000 people and generated revenues of $1.82 billion.
OTTAWA — The federal government is hiring the former chief financial officer at one of Canada’s largest banks to help oversee its new infrastructure-financing agency.Janice Fukakusa is being named the new chairwoman of the Canada infrastructure bank.Fukakusa retired in January from Royal Bank (TSX:RY) after a 31-year career at the bank.She will now have a role in selecting the remaining members of the board of directors that will oversee the agency’s operations, as well as the chief executive.The Liberals plan to have the new agency up and running by the end of the year.Ottawa is planning to infuse the new institution with $35-billion hoping to pry three or four times that amount from the private sector for large-scale projects.But the projects have to generate revenue, meaning they would result in new toll roads or bridges where user fees finance the construction costs.The Liberals have faced questions about how much risk taxpayers will take on in projects that the bank funds, and how much independence the chief executive officer and the bank’s board will have in investment decisions.The government’s designs for the bank will give the ministers overseeing it the ability to approve or reject projects for funding. Cabinet will also be able to easily hire and fire the chief executive and board chair.A Senate committee report released Thursday called on the government to ensure the independence of the board by drawing on Canadian and international best practices in governance.The report also raises concerns that the bank could find itself in competition with other Crown corporations, despite testimony from government officials that no federal entity currently fills the role set out for the new agency.Private investors can’t access the investment tools the bank will use to help them jointly invest with the public sector on infrastructure projects, senators on the committee were told by both Infrastructure Canada and the bank’s transition office.