Queen Victoria arrives in Barkerville during the 2019 Victoria Day weekend celebrations. Barkerville Historic Town and Park typically opens in mid-May, but this year, due to COVID-19, the expected opening day has been pushed to June 18. (Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

B.C. tourism on track for in-province travel, John Horgan says

Premier expects essential-only travel advisory to be eased soon

B.C.’s COVID-19 essential-travel advisory could be lifted as soon as next week’s cabinet meeting to allow tourist attractions to invite out-of-town guests, Premier John Horgan says.

Emerging from his weekly cabinet meeting at the B.C. legislature June 10, Horgan hinted that a decision to lift the provincial travel advisory is imminent, as coronavirus cases continue to taper off in the province. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has been monitoring B.C.’s risk as schools and businesses reopen.

“I think the likelihood of us traveling inside of B.C. is very, very high,” Horgan said. “Dr. Henry wanted to wait for two incubation periods to make sure that the positive results we’ve been seeing over the past number of weeks continue. I think that we’re going to be hearing an announcement from government based on advice from Dr Henry and her team that internal travel can begin.”

Tourism-dependent businesses have issued dire warnings about being able to survive as restrictions have stretched toward three months. Destination B.C. has a province-wide marketing program ready to go, replacing the international promotion it usually runs, Horgan said.

RELATED: B.C. visitor centres get help with COVID-19 prevention

COLUMN: Residents should explore B.C. to help tourism industry

Barkerville, the gold rush town in the Cariboo, has set a tentative reopening date of June 18, and the province is on track to allow that as long as coronavirus cases don’t spike up. Some remote and Indigenous communities have indicated they don’t want visitors, and Henry has advised that communities are free to make that determination based on their local conditions.

B.C. does not have a travel ban within the province or from other provinces, but highway signs continue to advise essential travel only, and B.C. and Alberta health ministers have urged people to avoid travelling to summer homes during the pandemic.

Horgan held out little hope of any resumption of non-essential international visitors, key to many B.C. tourism operators in previous years. And he said the travel advisory reflects the reluctance of many people to travel beyond their local area.

“British Columbians need to get out, stretch their legs, go to other places, but they’re not feeling particularly comfortable about that just yet,” Horgan said. “We’ve had great results in B.C., but when you look at other parts of the country, in fact when you look just south of us in Washington, Oregon, and California, we’ve seen a spike in cases. As we’ve been going down, they’ve started to dial back up again.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIDEO: Annual artist studio tour goes virtual on Saanich Peninsula

ArtSea converts popular event to online format with personalized artist videos

Langford boy wakes up from surgery to find stuffed puppy wearing the same cast

Hospital staff outfitted ‘Eddy’ the puppy to match the young patient

Local Flavour: Youth take the lead in Victoria’s Pollinator Leadership Team

Guest writer Thompson Hygge, summer intern with Pollinator Partnership Canada

Sewage installation to delay drivers along Sooke Road until early September

Construction starts Monday, August 10 between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Flyover at B.C. Leg to commemorate National Peacekeepers’ Day

August 9 marks biggest single day loss of Canadian lives from peace operations

QUIZ: Do you know the truth?

In what has been described as a post-truth era, how much do you know about truth and lies?

Simon Cowell breaks his back falling from electric bike

Incident happened at his home in California

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Missing teen visiting Courtenay found safe

She had last been seen going for a walk on Aug. 6

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Fitness non-profit challenges citizens to invent a game to be physically active

The campaign was launched after a study showed only 4.8 per cent of children and youths in Canada met required standards of the 24-hour movement guidelines

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

Most Read