Cultus Lake Waterpark and adjacent Adventure Park have reopened on a limited basis, while some tourism businesses are more dependent on out-of-province visitors. (Cultus Lake Waterpark)

B.C. tourism industry seeks nearly half of COVID-19 recovery fund

Finance Minister has $1.5 billion to share in September

Tourist-related businesses have taken the worst effects of B.C.’s COVID-19 control measures, and they are asking for $680 million of Finance Minister Carole James’ $1.5 billion recovery fund to help them survive.

In a submission to the B.C. government released July 21, the Tourism Industry Association of B.C. notes that tourism is “the only industry almost entirely based on the discretionary movement of people,” with most of the sector shut down by federal and provincial government orders.

“The only way we can prevent generations of lost economic activity, jobs and tax revenues is by acting decisively now, with innovative and creative solutions that recognize the importance of this sector, which is the face and brand of British Columbia to the world and one of the strongest drivers of the B.C. economy,” said Vivek Sharma, chair of the TIABC.

James has indicated that the $1.5 billion recovery fund, part of the $5 billion borrowed to deal with the pandemic this spring, will be allocated in September. An online survey looking for public input wrapped up July 21, and business sector meetings will carry on for the rest of the summer.

RELATED: ‘We’re on the edge’ with 102 new COVID-19 cases

RELATED: Cruise ship cancellations have significant impact

TIABC is proposing a $475 million “working capital recovery grant” as the main strategy, to help tourism businesses return to profitability within 18 months. It would include low- or no-interest loans with extended repayment periods to bridge businesses as out-of-province tourism resumes on an uncertain timetable.

An additional $190 million is requested for adaptation costs, to help deliver tourism experiences with virus protection. Another $15 million is requested for B.C.-focused supply chains for accommodation, attractions, transportation, food services and retail.

TIABC reports the tourism sector had revenue of $20.4 billion in 2018, with 19,300 businesses and direct employment of 160,000 people.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Invasive mussel monitoring stations detect 10 boats

Boats were headed to Okanagan and Thompson regions

Elderly man who offered candy to Penticton children, doesn’t pose threat: RCMP

The man was reportedly seen at the Columbus Park Property attempting to lure children with candy

COVID-19 outbreak at Okanagan Correctional Centre, involves 3 staff

Three staff involved in possible exposure, health officials say

Summerland mayor asks for community conversation on racism

Incidents in July prompt calls for dialogue

Summerland working to reopen recreation facilities

Arena and pool are opening, but ball season will not proceed

578 British Columbians currently infected with COVID-19

Seventy-eight new cases confirmed in past 24 hours

Man who drove into music festival crowd sentenced to 14 months in jail

Several people seriously hurt during event held near Princeton

Conservation seizes fawn illegally kept captive in Vancouver Island home

A Comox Valley resident charged and fined under the Wildlife Act

Vandals put Vernon public piano out of play

Downtown instrument destroyed, but public project is not over

Pandemic could be driving more parents to get on board with flu shot: study

University of B.C. study gauges willingness for parents to vaccinate children for influenza

Salmon Arm’s first Bitcoin ATM installed in mall

The kiosk will allow people to buy cryptocurrency or sell it for cash.

Westside wildfire human caused

Blaze started as a house fire and spread to the bush

Surrey man found guilty in West Kelowna killing of common-law spouse

Tejwant Danjou was convicted of second-degree murder in the July 2018 death of Rama Gauravarapu in West Kelowna

Watchdog clears Okanagan RCMP in death of man after arrest over alleged stolen pizzas

The man died in hospital after having difficulty breathing and broken ribs

Most Read