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Posted: March 13, 2022

B.C. launches three-year plan to revitalize tourism

The B.C. government announced March 11 it has launched a new three-year roadmap for rebuilding and revitalizing tourism, with aims of creating jobs and opportunities for people and communities in every part of the province.

The renewed Strategic Framework for Tourism responds to the call to action from the sector to support its recovery from COVID-19. It outlines a roadmap for a more resilient tourism sector by rebuilding to 2019 levels by 2024, a Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport media release stated.

Requested by B.C.’s tourism industry leaders and the Tourism Task Force, the update of this framework focuses on provincial priorities of putting people first; lasting and meaningful reconciliation; equity and anti-racism; a better future through fighting climate change; and a strong, sustainable economy that works for everyone.

“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.”

“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.”

The province is spending $1 million toward investments in event-bid preparation and sponsorships to attract large-scale arts, culture, and sport events, and public conferences and exhibitions.

Investing now in event programs will kick-start the events industry’s recovery and will position B.C. as a safe, world-class, event-hosting jurisdiction once again. This is in addition to the $8 million government 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 ministry outlined.

The Tourism Task Force emphasized how challenging it has been for industry to find the skilled workers it needs. This is why government is 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, now in development, will prioritize students who are Indigenous, immigrant or refugee applicants, as well as those from rural or remote locations, and people with accessibility needs. More details will be provided soon.

The government has 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.”

Richard Porges, CEO of Destination BC said, “Spending more time and money in B.C. compared to domestic travellers, international visitors are vital to the industry’s strong recovery. As the world reopens for travel, this additional funding will enable Destination BC to be even more effective in the incredibly competitive market for international travellers, bringing more tourism dollars to businesses in every corner of the province.”

“We look forward to revitalizing tourism, creating jobs, and building capacity and opportunities for Indigenous communities and businesses. Our industry has collaborated and found innovative solutions, and we look forward to a solid roadmap for recovery with the Strategic Tourism Framework,” said Brenda Baptiste, chair of Indigenous Tourism BC.

The Strategic Framework for Tourism 2022–2024: A Plan for Recovery and Resiliency.

e-KNOW file photo


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