With tourism industry on the brink, government needs to step up

VICTORIA (June 19, 2020) – BC Liberal Tourism Critics have spent months hosting virtual town halls to listen to small tourism-based businesses devastated by COVID-19, and the message has been simple – if the NDP does not take action to immediately help, these businesses will not survive.

“What we have been hearing for tourism operators has been very clear, right now there is a lack of clarity of rules, a lack of support financially, and a lack of understanding from this government as to what this industry is facing day-to-day,” said BC Liberal Co-Critic for Tourism, Arts and Culture Michelle Stilwell. “The NDP’s approach to the recovery of one of British Columbia’s most affected sectors has been tepid at best, beginning with their decision to not include a tourism industry representative in their Economic Recovery Taskforce, despite numerous calls to do so.”

Feedback from the town halls outlined the unique issues facing the industry as it begins an uphill battle for recovery. Urgent action is needed to solve liquidity and cash flow problems, meanwhile, there are still several unclear rules about what is allowed under the current phase of the pandemic Restart Plan. Areas of confusion include the status of future bookings, insurance disputes, the absence of PPE support and the lack of an industry-tailored recovery plan.

“Tourism is one of British Columbia’s largest sectors, it generates billions in revenue and employs hundreds of thousands of people — and it is on life support right now,” added BC Liberal Co-Critic for Tourism, Arts and Culture Doug Clovechok. “Impacts to the tourism sector are being felt deeply in every corner of the province, from adventure tourism operators to hotels, restaurants and roadside attractions. These businesses are facing permanent financial ruin, so where is government’s plan to support them?”

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