Province says it’s boosting tourism’s future

THE Province announced on Tuesday that it is investing in communities today to help B.C.’s tourism sector recover when they can safely welcome visitors again.

“We know these are challenging times, and we appreciate the sacrifice everyone is making to flatten the curve,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “This investment in local tourism infrastructure will help B.C. communities be ready to welcome travellers as soon as it’s safe to do so and reflects our government’s commitment to get people back to work.”

Government’s $53 million in supports, outlined in StrongerBC: B.C.’s Economic Recovery Plan to create jobs and spur economic development for tourism businesses, include:

* $19.4 million to support tourism-dependent municipalities to build, adapt and diversify their tourism infrastructure;
* Funds are expected to be sent to recipients in February 2021.

* $13.6 million for all six B.C. tourism regions to work with government to identify projects to create jobs and attract new businesses;
* Funds provided to regions and projects for consideration will be identified by February 2021.

* $20 million to develop local tourism experiences, infrastructure and services;
* Local governments, not-for-profits and First Nations are eligible for project funding to help bring back visitors to communities.

* Funds are scheduled to be sent to recipients by March 2021.

B.C.’s five regional destination management organizations each will receive $2.3 million to invest in regional tourism development. Destination BC, representing the Vancouver Coast and Mountains region, will receive $2.1 million.

Regional tourism development projects include:

* connecting tourism experiences across a region, such as creating overnight trip itineraries or identifying points of interest along highway corridors;

* supporting the development of more Indigenous tourism experiences; and

* upgrading accessibility along a scenic route.

“On behalf of our regional stakeholders, we are pleased to receive funding for the regional tourism development initiative, which is critically important to the long-term success of tourism here,” said Glenn Mandziuk, CEO, Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association. “Supported through a consultation process and existing strategies, funds will be put toward a variety of important purposes, including the development of economic-generating tourism infrastructures, Indigenous and accessible product development and creation of an industry research platform to better inform tourism operators, government and investors.”

As part of StrongerBC, the government created a tourism task force, which has brought together leaders from business, labour, First Nations and not-for-profits, to seek ideas on how to best position the industry for the 2021 season. The Province is allocating $50 million for new measures that will result from the task force’s work. Its final report is scheduled to be delivered to government before the end of 2020.

Read more about the supports for the tourism sector here: