The provincial government will invest $53 million to help B.C.’s tourism industry recover from revenue lost due to the pandemic. The funds should be sent in February and March of next year, according to a press release from the province.
“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,” said Glenn Mandziuk, CEO of Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association.
The support will include $19.4 million for tourism-dependent communities to build and adapt infrastructure to COVID-19. Another $20 million will be available to local governments, First Nations and non-profit organizations to develop local tourism infrastructure and services.
The province’s five regional destination management organizations will each get $2.3 million to invest in regional tourism development projects, including improving access to scenic routes, marking points of interest on highways and supporting the development of more Indigenous tourism experiences.
B.C.’s six tourism regions will receive $13.6 million for job creation and economic development projects.
“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,” said Melanie Mark, minister of tourism, arts, culture and sport.
The Parksville Qualicum Beach Tourism Association estimates 40 per cent of local businesses report tourism spending is either their primary or secondary source of income.