Of all the cute – and partially creepy – terms that have crept into the vernacular in recent weeks, ‘bubble’ is probably my favourite (describing now as ‘Covidic times’ is a close second).
From the original bubble boy of Seinfeld fame to bubble families, bubble neighbourhoods, bubble cities – everyone wants to be in a bubble.
There was a good story on the Economist radio this week about inter-jurisdictional tourism bubbles. Apparently Australia and New Zealand are negotiating one now. Even France and the UK have been in discussions about it.
New Brunswick is in the position of having no Covid-19 (or, let’s say, virtually no Covid-19) but so is PEI and Newfoundland and Labrador. Even Nova Scotia has mostly tamed the beast.
Why not a regional tourism bubble?
I’ve had the opportunity to do some consulting work on the Rock in the past couple of years and it is a beautiful place with good food, scenery and people. PEI is impressive too. But so is New Brunswick.
I have made the case here for a real push on staycation – and that is underway. I would like to go even further and have ‘mayor challenges’ where the mayor of one city or town encourages her or his residents to visit another part of the province for a few days or a week or two and the other mayor vice versa. This is not a traditional move and mayors will be uncomfortable but if it stirs up economic activity and gets people moving it will be good for the economy.
Should we extend to PEI and NL (maybe NS)? I would say yes – particularly if those provinces agree to co-marketing around the region. If 10,000 NLers come here and 10,000 NBers go there – that’s good for both.
I realize that lots of folks will not be on the move this summer. That’s fine. People should respond to this thing however they want. If their bubble only includes home and Costco, so be it. But we are virtually virus free and there is no reason that people shouldn’t get out there and enjoy Atlantic Canada – practicing some simple rules for social distancing, sanitation, etc.
I reiterate my view that New Brunswick doesn’t necessarily have to lead here but it should at least learn from best practices around the world.
I had my first two face-to-face meetings (presentations) this week. It was a little awkward but, in the end, we are social creatures and it is better to meet people in person for most engagements – particular important ones like my meetings this week.
Although I will say I might need to get fog free glasses. I kept fogging up.