CELEBRATION of Lights, outdoor music festivals and art shows are some of the events people can look forward to in the coming year, with support from B.C.’s Tourism Events Program.
“I am thrilled to see festivals, live music and sporting events ramping up in B.C.,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport, on Wednesday. “It’s been a long two years for everyone, and I know that our artists, performers and athletes can’t wait to showcase their talents once again. The Tourism Events Program helps promote these events so they get the local, national and international attention needed to attract visitors to communities and be a magnet for tourism throughout the province.”
The government is investing as much as $5 million to support events between October 2022 and September 2023. The Tourism Events Program aims to strengthen B.C.’s reputation as a top tourism destination and increase tourism benefits to communities.
“The Tourism Events Program funding was instrumental to us, as it allowed us to explore various avenues of marketing so we could reach a wider audience,” said Sue Judge, artistic director of Coldsnap, the Prince George winter music festival. “The funding has no doubt helped us grow our audience, even with pandemic-related restrictions. Coldsnap 2022 was a hybrid event with both live and online components, and it was tremendously successful.”
Applications to the Tourism Events Program will be accepted starting April 27 until May 31. While historically an annual program, it was paused in spring 2020 due to pandemic restrictions and guidelines limiting gatherings.
Successful past recipients include:
* Surf Canada National Championships and Canadian Olympic Trials, which saw the selection of Canadian athletes for Tokyo 2020, where surfing made its Olympic debut;
* Women Deliver 2019 Culture Night, which showcased B.C.’s culture and entertainment at the world’s largest conference on gender equality and the health, rights and well-being of girls and women;
* Honda Celebration of Lights in Vancouver, which is known as the longest-running off-shore fireworks festival in the world and welcomed more than 1.25 million attendees;
* Sunfest Country Music Festival in Lake Cowichan, which attracted thousands of music fans from all over the world; and
* Crankworx Whistler, which brought together the best athletes in the mountain bike community to compete in a variety of elite competitions.
The program supports events that aim to drive visitation from outside local areas, align with key tourism strategies and broader government priorities, demonstrate financial sustainability, and support diversity and reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.
* In 2020, the Government of British Columbia provided $1.9 million to support 28 events and festivals in B.C. communities through the Tourism Events Program, which was paused due to COVID-19.
* In 2019, the last year before the pandemic, government provided $3.9 million to 70 events.
* Tourism is an important economic driver for B.C., generating more than $7.1 billion in revenue in 2020 despite pandemic effects on the tourism sector.
* B.C. welcomed 852,783 international visitors in 2020 and 6.3 million in 2019.
Interested groups can review the program criteria, eligibility and application process online: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/