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: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/24287.

“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: www.hellobc.com/know-before-you-go.

“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.


Contact:
Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport
Media Relations
250.208.4309

Connect with the Province of B.C. at: news.gov.bc.ca/connect.

BC Golf Industry Association Meets New Group Of MLAs

by Jeff Sutherland at Inside Golf

AGA-BC has spoken to sitting provincial governments before but this time it was to any who were hearing about the value of golf for the first time…

May 28th marked the fourth time that the Allied Golf Association of British Columbia (AGA-BC) has hosted a Golf Awareness Day for the BC Legislature. This time, however, it was NDP’er Ravi Kahlon (MLA for Delta North and Parliamentary Secretary for Sport and Multiculturalism) who headed a group of 30+ fellow backbenchers who got an update on golf’s relevance to the people of BC and to the province’s economy as well.

During the information portion of the luncheon, AGA-BC representatives used an industry scorecard to explain the topics they wanted to highlight.

During his opening statements, AGA-BC president Trevor Smith explained how the scorecard worked, “Golfers in the room will instantly recognize the birdies on the Scorecard where we feel we are doing exceptionally well; pars, where we are performing as we should be, and bogeys – areas we have identified for improvement together with government.”

Birdies were earned in three areas:
– for economic impact where golf provides 44,000 jobs, generates more than two billion dollars in economic activity and accounts for $465 million in tax revenues
– for environmental stewardship where the industry is extremely pro-active in developing IPM (integrated pest management) best practices and setting tough environmental standards.
– in promoting golf as a sport for life where playing 18 holes equates to walking more than 10 km and playing the game can add five years to your life.

Three bogeys were awarded as well including one related to the promotion of BC as a golf destination where according to AGA Board member Trisha Larsen who represents the British Columbia Golf Marketing Alliance,”… the U.S. market remains largely untapped.”

Water was also cited as a concern with the industry wanting to ensure supply at reasonable rates giving themselves a bogey for work still in progress.  The Western Canada Turfgrass Association’s executive director, Jerry Rousseau talked about the “California Model” where courses in that state were actually able to use less water than regulators were asking when given the control of when and where to apply it.

MLA Ravi Kahlon - AGA-BC Golf Awareness Day 2018

BC’s amateur organization, British Columbia Golf brought some of their SNAG equipment used in the “Playgrounds to Fairways” programs and MLAs took advantage of the chance to swing some “golf clubs”… some of them for the first time. Shown is North Delta MLA Ravi Kahlon who showed a prowess consistent with an Olympic athlete.
IMAGE CREDIT JEFF SUTHERLAND / COURTESY INSIDE GOLF

From the response of the attending MLAs, it was clear that this like much of the information presented was new. Even the fact that golf is Canada’s #1 participation sport was a surprise to some.

But it was clear that Ravi Kahlon and his fellow MLAs were hearing the message.

While this info session may have been a departure for many of the attending MLAs, it appears their perception of the industry may be changing.

In a short address, the two-time Olympian in field hockey acknowledged golf’s value to tourism and its potential for getting more women more active and involved in sports stating their position as “…looking forward to continuing the conversation around tourism as well as the water issues.”

One of the attendees, Liberal Doug Clovechok, MLA for Columbia River-Revelstoke, addressed the Legislative Assembly of BC the next day on National Golf Day, May 29th and invited the members opposite to a match!