04/17/2013 09:04 EDT | Updated 06/17/2013 05:12 EDT

Nova Scotia government sets up tourism committee to help struggling region

YARMOUTH, N.S. - The Nova Scotia government is spending $1 million to set up a committee to help promote tourism in southwestern Nova Scotia.

Tourism Minister Percy Paris made the announcement Wednesday in Yarmouth.

Dwindling tourism has been a hot topic in the region since the province cut funding for a ferry service that once linked the province with Maine, resulting in the demise of the service in December 2009.

Paris says the new committee will include local community, tourism and business leaders.

Yarmouth Mayor Pam Mood will lead the seven-member tourism team.

"The team is committed to highlighting and enhancing those things that make our part of the world so special," she said.

The minister also said the province is renewing its efforts to find an operator to run a ferry service in Yarmouth.

Last month, Paris said bids by two potential operators were rejected because they did not meet the criteria for a viable operation.

Another expert panel has already recommended a ferry service should be up and running by the end of 2014.

Paris said the deadline for a decision is June 20.

The province is offering up to $21 million over seven years if a viable operator comes forward.

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