(Scott Carrier photo)

B.C. tourism industry seeks $680M to rebuild after pandemic

Tourism Industry Association of B.C. says the funds could save as many as 100,000 jobs this year alone

B.C.’s tourism and hospitality sector believes it should receive more than one-third of a $1.5-billion COVID-19 recovery package pledged to the province by the federal government.

A statement from the Tourism Industry Association of B.C. said a coalition of more than 19,000 tourism and hospitality businesses believes the sector should be allocated $680 million to help ease the impacts of the novel coronavirus.

The association said the funds could save as many as 100,000 jobs this year alone and provide immediate assistance to businesses hardest hit by restrictions on travel and limits on gatherings.

It said data from 2018 shows tourism and hospitality brought $20.4 billion in direct visitor spending to B.C. and generated billions more in goods produced and services provided.

Association chair Vivek Sharma said existing stimulus packages aimed at overall economic recovery are helpful, but they aren’t enough to revive a sector in which 300,000 jobs were affected at the height of the pandemic.

Sharma said the association is proposing a three-part recovery starting with $475 million for no-interest loans or other supports to businesses with the potential to return to profitability over the next 18 months.

A further $190 million would help tourism businesses adapt their operations to health and safety requirements, while $15 million would support the accommodation, attractions, transportation, food services and retail industries as they rebuild shattered supply chains.

The association, which presented its proposal to the B.C. government last week, also recommends an industry-government committee to finalize funding and monitor program outcomes.

“For decades, tourism has been a strong and consistent economic engine for the province and significant source of employment in every B.C. community,” Sharma said in the statement.

“What we are asking for is a return on the investments the tourism and hospitality sector has made to the provincial and national economy over those decades.”

Tourism Minister Lisa Beare declined to set a dollar figure for how much of the province’s stimulus funding she believes should go to the tourism sector.

She said only that the provincial government is working closely with the sector and will incorporate its feedback along with more than 10,000 responses from the public on how B.C. should spend the $1.5 billion earmarked for economic recovery.

The province has already worked with the industry to expand patios, cut retail liquor mark-ups for the hospitality sector and create a job matching network for tourism industry personnel who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic, she said.

“We’re going to keep listening to the sector and what their priorities are,” Beare said.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Volunteer rescuers train for helicopter exits at Alberni Valley Regional Airport

More technical rescues mean Alberni Valley Rescue Squad members must keep up specialized skills

Three active COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island

Since July 24, Central island has had five new cases, North one, South none

Coulson Group makes donation to Alberni Valley Hospice Society

Hospice Society holding raffle to make up for lost revenue during COVID-19

Alf Todd on a mission to fight Parkinson’s disease

Todd and group hope to raise $10,000 riding bikes to Port Alberni

Work begins on mural near Harbour Quay

Mural will depict the creation story of Tseshaht First Nation

Man arrested after stabbing incident at makeshift camp near Vancouver Island mall

RCMP in Parksville report 28-year-old man taken into custody without incident

Canucks ride momentum into NHL playoff series against defending Stanley Cup champs

PREVIEW: Vancouver opens against St. Louis on Wednesday

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

One dead as fish boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

Landlord takes front door, windows after single B.C. mom late with rent

Maple Ridge mom gets help from community generosity and government

42 more people test positive for COVID-19 in B.C.

The province has recorded no new deaths in recent days

Joe Biden selects California Sen. Kamala Harris as running mate

Harris and Biden plan to deliver remarks Wednesday in Wilmington

Lawsuit launched after Florida child handcuffed, booked and briefly jailed

Suit alleges “deliberate indifference” to what should have been handled as a behavioural issue

Most Read