The BC Regional Tourism Secretariat (BCRTS) is working with provincial and community organisations to improve outcomes for destinations in a crisis situation.
|Wildfires, landslides, and flooding have arrived in our province. These crises have affected many regions of British Columbia in a short period of time. While prevention of these disasters would be ideal, emergency preparedness and tourism coordination is the next most effective step to ensure both residents and visitors are informed and safe.|
The Ministry of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness (EMCR) has been working with communities and across various ministries to support a coordinated approach to crises, including with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, and Sport (TACS). The Tourism Emergency Management Committee (TEMC) worked in tandem with the EMCR to assist in the development of the Tourism Emergency Management Framework. This framework outlines the roles and responsibilities of all levels of government and non-government tourism agencies (Tourism Industry Association of BC, Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, and Sport, Destination BC, Indigenous Tourism BC, BC Destination Marketing Organization Association, BC Regional Tourism Secretariat, and Emergency Management BC) and identifies how Destination Marketing / Management Organizations play a role to support and assist communities if and when they are asked.
TACS provided one-time funding to the BC Regional Tourism Secretariat (BCRTS) to support the regions’ work in implementing the Tourism Emergency Management Framework. The BCRTS is a collaboration among the following five regional destination management organizations: Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association, Kootenay Rockies Tourism Association, Northern BC Tourism Association, Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association, and 4VI (Vancouver Island). The initiative also includes Vancouver Coast Mountains.
The BCRTS is not responsible for leading emergency management efforts before, during or after a crisis. The BCRTS’ role is to ensure familiarity with the Framework and to support the creation and completion of a crisis communications plan for those who would be the key point of contact for visitors to their area (CDMOs, visitor centres, or tourism businesses). During an emergency event, the regions and CDMOs will execute their own plans to support the efforts of the community’s officials and be the tourism point of contact for all parties involved in the emergency management funnel within the community.
The BCRTS has partnered with Hatch Comms to provide communities with visitor communications support during an emergency event.
The BCRTS has compiled a basic interim template for CDMOs and tourism partners that have not completed DBC’s crisis comms training; or do not have a plan and need to submit something quickly to receive assistance. The document explains what crisis communications is, the role of a CDMO in a crisis, and the contacts of the various organizations within the frameworks of their community. The TEMC’s Emergency Communications Guidance for BC’s Tourism Industry provides more in-depth training, templates and checklists.
All of these steps should significantly improve outcomes for destinations with visitors in a variety of crisis situations by providing a singular source of accurate information. This will also support the destination’s communications and economy should they be in a nearby but unaffected destination, keeping visitors confidently flowing to areas that remain safe to travel.
The Province, Destination British Columbia, and the Tourism Industry Association of BC support this BCRTS initiative.
Northern BC Tourism Association will be hosting a community zoom meeting on Friday, July 14th at 3:30pm PST to meet with Hatch Comms and discuss the supports that are available for communities and DMO's. Register here.
|“Keeping people safe during an emergency is imperative and a top priority for our government. We are committed to working with the BC Regional Tourism Secretariat and other provincial and community tourism partners to ensure the people in BC’s tourism sector, local communities, and our visitors have resources and information in advance of an emergency, so people know where to go, what to do, and what dangers to avoid.” - The Honourable Lana Popham, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport|
|“Timely and accurate information sharing in a time of crisis is crucial to maintaining BC’s reputation as a safe and welcoming destination, and ensuring business continuity for thousands of tourism operators around the province. We can only achieve this by closely collaborating with our tourism partners and government agencies, at all levels.”|
- Clare Mason, Director, Corporate Communications, Destination BC Tourism Emergency Management Committee member