Tourism issues joint statement asking people to stay local and bend the curve

Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport; Richard Porges, interim president and CEO, Destination BC; Brenda Baptiste, chair, Indigenous Tourism BC; Walt Judas, CEO, Tourism Industry Association of BC; and Ingrid Jarrett, president and CEO, BC Hotel Association have released the following statement asking all British Columbians to stay local unless travel is absolutely essential:

“As the number of people with COVID-19 in BC continues to rise, we are asking British Columbians not to travel outside their local communities to help stop further spread of the virus.

“People working at hotels, motels, resorts, bed and breakfasts, transportation services, attractions, adventure tourism operators, Indigenous travel providers, restaurants, bars, cafes and many other travel-related businesses throughout the province are struggling following a difficult year of border closures and non-essential travel restrictions. While the tourism and hospitality sector has done an amazing job implementing rigorous health and safety pans to keep their staff and visitors safe, COVID-19 takes every opportunity to spread. Unnecessary travel is too risky right now.

“We ask British Columbians to listen to Dr. Henry and follow all provincial health and solicitor general orders.

“Each of us must make the difficult decision in our daily lives to do the right thing. We cannot gather indoors with people outside our immediate households, and we must avoid travel for leisure so we can bend the curve down again. The many people and businesses in the tourism and hospitality industry in BC need each of us to follow the rules without exception. Their livelihood depends on us all doing our part now, so some travel can safely resume this summer and set these businesses on the road to recovery. 
“Let’s support local businesses today by ordering takeout, eating with our immediate household on a patio, picking up a coffee and enjoying it at a local park, visiting a local attraction or booking a staycation at a local hotel. Now is not the time to travel for leisure and risk spreading COVID-19.

“The list of essential travel activities, which are permitted between regional zones, is included under the emergency program order, available here:

“At this time, we must listen to local communities that do not wish to welcome visitors yet. We have heard from many communities that are worried about the virus and its impact on their residents and healthcare services, and have asked people not to visit. We must respect the wishes of Indigenous communities and First Nations given the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19. Know before you go is a great resource if you have any questions:

“We are at a pivotal moment in our province and we must act now to protect the healthcare system. We must stay local now so we can get back to travelling across our beautiful province and once again welcome visitors. 

“Help us spread the message: #WeAreAllConnected; #StayLocalSupportLocal; #BCTourismCounts; #SaveOurSummer.

Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport
Media Relations

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TIABC Submits Key Response and Recovery Recommendations on behalf of 35+ Sectors – Including Golf

Tourism Industry Association of BC

Today’s announcement by Government on measures to assist residents and BC businesses is generally positive. The Province unveiled its $5 billion action plan that includes direct financial support and tax relief for individuals and businesses.

It’s important to acknowledge Minister Beare, Deputy Minister Shauna Brouwer and the Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture for amplifying our concerns and recommendations at both the cabinet table and to the federal government. The task of determining what, for whom and how much support is required is monumental at best and sobering at worst.

As much as Government is offering today, we’re awaiting further details and will look to work with the Province on tourism and hospitality-specific measures that Minister James alluded to as part of their overall plan.

As we’ve been communicating for several days now, tourism and hospitality has been particularly hard hit by this crisis. Business closures, layoffs or reduced services are occurring daily with no end in sight until this situation is behind us.

Virtually 24/7 senior tourism leaders representing businesses, sectors, destination management organizations, communities and government are actively working together and putting actions in place to help their members and stakeholders get through each day, not to mention the days ahead.

Over the past week, TIABC solicited input from multiple stakeholders ranging from the BC Hotel Association, ABLE BC, and the BC Destination Marketing Organization Association, to the Adventure Tourism Coalition, Craft Brewers Guild, and go2HR to develop a comprehensive list of recommendations for the Province to consider to assist BC’s visitor economy. The brief was submitted on Saturday.

While it isn’t the first or last submission on behalf of BC’s tourism and hospitality sector, it does provide Government with a good foundation on which to introduce tangible actions. Importantly, over 35 sectors supported the recommendations demonstrating the strength and unity within our industry.

As mentioned, in the coming days, TIABC will be looking to work alongside our industry colleagues with Minister Beare, Minister James and other members of Government on key tourism measures that can help BC’s visitor economy immediately and for the foreseeable future.

See TIABC’s submission here.
See TIABC’s news release on today’s announcement here.
See TIABC’s website for regular updates here.
See TIABC’s COVID-19 updates for the tourism industry here.