Province doubles COVID-19 relief funding for tourism sector

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The provincial government has doubled its relief funding for tourism operators in B.C.

Businesses will now be eligible for up to $45,000 in COVID-19 relief grant money thanks to $100 million in funding.

“This dedicated relief funding for the tourism sector will help people get through these next few months so we can welcome visitors back to our beautiful province once it’s safe to do so,” said Melanie Mark, minister of tourism, arts, culture and sport.

An additional $5 million will go to Indigenous Tourism B.C. The province said Indigenous tourism is one of the fastest-growing segments in the industry, but faces challenges like barriers to accessing financing and operating in remote locations.

“This grant might make the difference to many of us whether or not we make it through this pandemic,” said Mike Willie, owner/operator of Sea Wolf Adventures. “It is important for many reasons that Indigenous peoples participate in the mainstream economy as business owners and innovators and it provides not only economic opportunities for our communities and entrepreneurs, but can influence change politically, socially and economically.”

The province said the Indigenous tourism relief grant program will launch early in the new year.

The rest of the tourism relief grants will be delivered through the Small and Medium-Sized Business Recovery Grant program, according to Ravi Kahlon, minister of jobs, economic recovery and innovation. The ministry said it has simplified the application process to make it easier for businesses to qualify. 

The program will run until March 31, 2021 or until the funds are fully allocated, the province said.

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