Never have we been faced with a challenge like the one currently being presented as we collectively battle to slow the spread and flatten the curve of the COVID-19 virus worldwide. In our local and regional communities across British Columbia, where tourism is the largest employer and often the main source of revenue generation for our economies, people are worried for themselves, their families and their businesses.
The Honorable Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture has been proactively reaching out directly to every region in the province to understand how her Ministry and the Provincial Government can assist with the issues that are happening today, where and how we go from here, and what recovery looks like when it does arrive.
The Regional DMO’s are working closely with the Minister to provide feedback from communities and tourism stakeholders on a regular basis to ensure she is being presented a very clear understanding of what our tourism stakeholders are telling us and how that message is changing from day to day as we make our way through this together.
Please take a moment to read the following important message to every tourism business and community on behalf of Minister Beare.
Chief Executive Officer
Northern BC Tourism Association
I want to start by thanking you for your leadership in this unprecedented situation. I know you are all working in extremely difficult and quickly-changing circumstances. The impacts of COVID-19 to the tourism sector will be significant and are already being felt.
During these trying times, I want to reassure you that the entire provincial government is working around the clock to protect people’s health and to mitigate impacts to people’s livelihoods. The priority continues to be on delaying, containing and preparing the province to minimize serious illness and economic disruption.
I’ve been in regular contact with tourism sector leaders and my federal counterparts to ensure they are aware of what is happening here in B.C. The federal government has assured us that there will be support for British Columbians who have been impacted by COVID-19.
We are also working on ways to support businesses and organizations affected the most by the restrictions on travel and gatherings. I am speaking with my Cabinet colleagues daily so they are well informed of impacts to people and businesses in the tourism economy. We also know tourism is one of the most resilient industries in B.C. and I have no doubt that we will come through this together. As an industry, we must start looking ahead now so that we can be ready for when the travel restrictions lift. We are having these discussions now within my ministry and across the sector. The latest information specific to the tourism sector is available through Destination BC: https://www.destinationbc.ca/news/coronavirus-update/.
The government’s priority continues to be on delaying, containing and preparing the province to minimize serious illness and economic disruption. We must all do our part to prevent transmission of COVID-19 and I ask that you all follow the advice of the provincial health officer.
Finally, I want to take a moment to acknowledge that this is a stressful time for everyone. I encourage you all to take care of yourselves, your families and your friends during the difficult days ahead.
Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, responsible for Sport