B.C. has launched a three-year roadmap for rebuilding and revitalizing the province’s tourism industry.
The province is allocating $1 million toward investments in event-bid preparation and sponsorships to attract large-scale arts, culture, and sport events, and public conferences and exhibitions. The roadmap focuses on reconciliation, equity, anti-racism, fighting climate change and a strong, sustainable economy, according to a media release by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport.
“B.C. is a world-class destination, and we know the pandemic has hurt tourism,” said Melanie Mark, minister of tourism, arts, culture and sport. “As the world opens up again, we’re working together to rebuild and revitalize this critical industry that adds so much to our planet, our people and our shared prosperity.”
The renewed Strategic Framework for Tourism is a response to calls from the tourism sector to support its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. It outlines a roadmap for a more resilient tourism sector by rebuilding to 2019 levels by 2024, according to the release.
“Every single person connected to the tourism industry has demonstrated incredible fortitude and leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mark said. “I have been constantly impressed by the dedication and hard work of tourism operators and staff to pivot, realign their businesses and take care of each other. Now, together, we’re going to build back stronger by making our mark to ensure B.C. is first in line to benefit from pent-up demand for world-class tourism experiences.”
This funding is in addition to the $8 million recently announced for the Business Events and Conferences Restart Fund to help restart business travel by attracting and hosting business events, conferences and exhibitions.
The government is also investing a further $2 million for post-secondary education and training to support B.C. students who enrol in tourism and hospitality certificate, diploma or degree programs, tourism-related apprenticeships, and trades training and development programs.
This program will prioritize students who are Indigenous, immigrant or refugee applicants, those from rural or remote locations and people with accessibility needs, according to the ministry.
The government also committed $6 million this year through 2024 for Destination BC to market B.C. as a destination of choice in the highly competitive international market.
“We are very enthused about the Province’s further investment in tourism recovery,” said Walt Judas, CEO, Tourism Industry Association of BC. “These funds come at an opportune time as our industry looks to rebuild our workforce, products and service levels to once again welcome guests from all over the world in the months and years ahead.”
This funding builds on the $570 million the B.C. government already invested in recovery supports for the tourism sector, including the Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery Grant and the Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant that are providing funding to nearly 8,200 tourism and hospitality businesses. The funding has supported programs such as the Festival, Fairs and Events Recovery Fund, Tourism Accommodation and Commercial Recreation Relief Fund, business support through Indigenous Tourism BC, and tourism infrastructure development.