According to the Tourism Association of BC, over 100-thousand jobs in the sector have been temporarily or permanently lost due to the pandemic.

The sector is seeking a 680-million dollar stimulus recovery package from the BC Government.

Chair, Vivek Sharma told businesses are facing some increased costs after re-opening.

“Any businesses that have re-opened has had to do at a significant cost to change the way they do business bringing in barriers, personal protective equipment, and implementing ways of doing contactless operations, all of that comes at a cost.”

Sharma added several businesses have been ravaged because of COVID-19.

“Ten percent of our restaurants have closed permanently and another 50% are expected to close if they don’t get any assistance. Hotel occupancy has been down about 65% for June over previous years.”

“We need to get strategic on how we aid industry now and when we came up with this amount we broke it down into three categories so that we know how the aid is required.”

The three components are:

A Working Capital Recovery Grant ($475 million) to help sustain and maintain solvency for businesses that have prospects to return to profitability in the medium term (i.e. 18 months). This could include the provision of low or no-interest loans with an extended payback period. As the timing and magnitude of out-of-province visitors are uncertain, the immediate priority would be to sustain businesses that normally rely on these visitors and generate significant revenues for the visitor economy, as well as businesses that play central roles in attracting visitors to a community or a region.

Support for Adaptation Costs ($190 million) that would provide funds to: help businesses adapt their operations to the health and safety requirements of COVID-19 and protect their workforce, visitors, residents, and local communities; and develop innovative ways of delivering tourism experiences to augment and accelerate recovery.

Support for Developing Resilient, B.C.-focused Supply Chains ($15 million). The goal would be to support industry subsectors (accommodation, attractions, transportation, food services, and retail) refocus their supply chains and forge new relationships with B.C. suppliers, to create supply chains that will not only promote recovery over the next 18 months but also contribute to the industry’s resilience going forward.

Destination BC’s projection for this year is a 69% decline in tourism revenue from the $20.4 billion generated in 2018 to $6.7 billion in 2020.