The province is helping communities throughout Nova Scotia develop more competitive tourism products and services, attracting more visitors and offering memorable experiences to share with friends and family. Education Minister Ramona Jennex, on behalf of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism Minister Graham Steele, visited Willow Park in Wolfville today, Aug. 26, the future site of one of 16 community projects the province is supporting through the Tourism Development Investment Fund. “Nova Scotia’s long-term tourism strategy is designed to help us attract more first-time visitors who will stay longer and spend more, especially those who enjoy outdoor, culinary and cultural activities,” said Ms. Jennex. “Supporting Nova Scotia communities to make upgrades, improve facilities, and enhance their downtowns will help attract visitors who will come back again and again, and also benefit local residents and their families.” The Tourism Development Investment Fund was recently revamped to align with the new tourism strategy, and is made up of two programs, First Impressions and Competitive Edge. The province is providing $517,323 in funding through the two programs this year. With support through the First Impressions program, the Town of Wolfville will purchase and install bike racks, and develop and implement a wayfinding plan to help visitors easily find local businesses and tourism opportunities. “Wolfville is already a key tourism destination for Nova Scotia,” said Wolfville Mayor Jeff Cantwell. “This support from the province will enhance the visitor experience, and leave people with a lasting impression of Wolfville as a recreational, cultural and culinary destination.” First Impressions is a companion to the province’s recently relaunched community revitalization program, Mainstreet 2.0, and supports the development of attractive, distinctive and visitor-friendly downtowns. Competitive Edge helps develop new, or enhance existing, tourism products and experiences in Nova Scotia’s most competitive destination areas. “A strong tourism sector is key to helping grow our economy and create good jobs for people in communities across Nova Scotia,” said Nova Scotia Tourism Agency CEO Patrick Sullivan. “We are working strategically with our industry partners to improve Nova Scotia’s competitiveness in the global market and achieve long-term tourism growth.” Applications for the Competitive Edge program are accepted throughout the year, subject to funding availability. The First Impressions program is now closed for 2013. The next application deadline is March 2014. For more information on the Tourism Development Investment Fund, please visit http://novascotiatourismagency.ca/tourism-development-investment-fund .