On Thursday, September 17, the BC Provincial Government unveiled their $1.5 billion economic recovery plan. The plan outlines the latest steps the Government of British Columbia is taking to help people, businesses and communities recover and come out of COVID-19 stronger and better prepared.

Below are some of the supports they’ve outlined in their plan, specific to the tourism industry and small and medium business supports.

New Tourism Task Force

A new Tourism Task Force will bring together leaders from business, labour, First Nations, and not-for-profits to seek innovative and creative new ideas on how the tourism industry in BC can be well-positioned for a 2021 tourism season. The BC government is allocating $50 million in the Economic Recovery Plan to facilitate new measures that result from the Tourism Task Force’s work.

BC Small and Medium Business Recovery Grant

The BC Government is investing $300 million for a Small Business Recovery Grant that many tourism businesses will be eligible for. Small and medium-sized businesses that have experienced a significant and sustained downturn in sales and revenue due to COVID-19 will have access to the grant, provided business owners have a recovery plan, and the ability to continue operations in a post-COVID economy.

Though the full details and application process for this grant have not yet been fully rolled out, the government has indicated that grant amounts will be scalable based on the size and annual pre-COVID revenues of the business, with eligible amounts ranging from $10,000 to a maximum of $30,000. Hard-hit tourism operators will be eligible to receive a top-up of $10,000, for a maximum of $40,000 based on overall criteria. Eligible businesses will include those with between 2 and 149 employees that have seen a COVID-related revenue reduction of at least 70% and continue to have revenues below 50% of pre-COVID levels.

We will share more information on this grant as it becomes available.

Support to Small Municipalities

The government has pledged to invest $19 million to support small municipalities who are dependent on tourism to build, adapt and diversify their tourism infrastructure. This program will create job opportunities in the communities and prepare for the future.

Targeted Tourism Development Intiatives

The government has also pledged to invest $14 million to support targeted tourism development initiatives in the six regions throughout British Columbia to help the industry recover from COVID-19.

Community Infrastructure Program

The new Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program will invest $100 million in projects that make life better for locals and improve the experience for visitors. Tourism supports in this program include a $20 million investment for tourism infrastructure projects supporting destination development. Local governments, not-for-profits and Indigenous Nations will be able to apply for project funding to help bring back visitors through investments in tourism infrastructure and amenities in communities.

Destination British Columbia Investment

Destination British Columbia will invest an additional $5 million to continue to market British Columbia domestically and secure its spot in the international tourism market. International bookings are often made one year before the date of departure.

Arts & Culture Investment

Many visitors are attracted to a destination because of its museums, galleries and theatres. The arts and culture sector has also been deeply impacted by the pandemic, threatening the ability of many venues to continue operating. The Provincial Government is investing $21 million to provide additional relief to the sector over the short term, while helping organizations adapt their operations and artistic practices to the realities of the pandemic.

For more information about the BC Economic Recovery Plan, visit https://strongerbc.gov.bc.ca/.