As provincial health authorities slowly and methodically lift travel restrictions, it was critically important for Tourism Richmond to understand Richmond residents’ thoughts and feelings about visiting local businesses and welcoming visitors back to the city. It was also important for us to understand what future visitors from nearby communities would be looking for, once they were ready to visit the city again.
As such, Tourism Richmond ran the first wave of the Resident Sentiment Survey for five days from May 28 to June 1, to gauge these two sentiments. Below are some of the top three findings, as well as an overview of our methodology.
Methodology and Respondent Information
Tourism Richmond ran a Sentiment Survey which collected responses on several COVID-19 related tourism and local business questions. Responses were gathered through community outreach, an email campaign, social media posts and organic website traffic.
85 per cent of all responses received were from BC residents, with 48 per cent of all respondents being Richmond residents. A total of 494 survey completions were collected, but due to the small sample size, results from outside British Columbia are excluded in this report.
#1: Overwhelming Support, but Low Comfort Levels
All respondents expressed overwhelming support for local businesses post-pandemic (94 per cent), and half of Richmond respondents reported being comfortable visiting local businesses or attractions once they reopened, prioritizing outdoor activities or dining in at a restaurant. Of the top concerns cited, 79 per cent of Richmond respondents were most concerned about being in large crowds or big groups of people, followed by a fear of exposure to COVID-19.
#2: Expectations of Businesses Post-COVID
The survey asked respondents to think about what they would expect Richmond businesses to do differently post-COVID-19. Unsurprisingly, a high percentage of respondents expected businesses to have various safety measures in place, ranging from a limited number of patrons in a business, higher usage of physical distancing equipment such as plexiglass barriers, use of personal protective equipment and more.
#3: Welcoming Visitors to Richmond
Now and through July and August, respondents are feeling more comfortable welcoming visitors from nearby communities and from other parts of BC, rather than those from other parts of Canada. This is understandable given the survey was conducted just after Phase 2 of the province’s restart plan was enacted.
As we progress along the restart plans with guidance from Provincial Health Officials and Destination British Columbia, Tourism Richmond will continue to do resident sentiment surveys. These survey results will help inform our recovery planning for tourism moving forward.