Tourism Minister Lisa Beare (Hansard TV)

Tourism Minister Lisa Beare (Hansard TV)

LETTER: Minister says province supporting tourism sector

As B.C.’s minister of tourism, arts and culture, I’d like to respond to a recent column about the provincial government’s approach to supporting the tourism sector during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our government knows the tourism and hospitality sectors are a key part of B.C.’s economy. This important sector provides good jobs for people and creates vibrant communities that offer exciting experiences for visitors throughout our province. As an industry that relies heavily on people visiting from around the world, the current travel restrictions and border closures have had a significant effect on tourism businesses.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have been working very closely with the tourism sector, associations and businesses to hear directly from them on their needs and ideas for recovery. Businesses asked our government for help navigating all the supports available, assistance with ICBC, BC Hydro and tax payments, rent relief and flexibility for liquor licensing to help the hospitality sector supplement their revenue – and we delivered.

Another key part of our work is strongly advocating for the industry to the federal government. Our efforts have resulted in initial funding for tourism businesses, the federal wage subsidy program, emergency response benefit, interest-free loans and funding to encourage British Columbians to travel locally this year.

Our government is also investing in tourism at the community level so we are ready to welcome visitors back following the pandemic. We’ve provided almost $9 million through the rural community development grant program for 98 tourism-related project such as campgrounds, cultural centres and improved signage. We’re also investing $9 million in local active transportation infrastructure initiatives, many of which benefit locals and visitors alike, and partnering with the federal government on $42 million in enhancements to arts and culture centres, recreation and sport centres, boat launch facilities, First Nation longhouses and art centres, and trail systems.

We are very fortunate that B.C. is in a position for people to respectfully travel around our beautiful province. We must continue to follow the advice of Dr. Bonnie Henry to keep our curve as flat as possible so we can support tourism in a safe way.

There is no question that the tourism sector has been hit hard by the pandemic and there is more work ahead of us. We will continue to support the industry so it can come back strong in the future.

Lisa Beare

Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture

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

Just Posted

Keygan Power with brother Quintin and mom Allison while camping the weekend before Keygan’s brain hemorrhage on Aug. 2, 2020. (Photo Allison Power)
Saanich teen ‘locked inside,’ regaining speech after severe brain hemorrhage

16-year-old suffers traumatic loss of function, still plays a mean game of chess

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: Vancouver Island in a January spike while B.C. cases decrease

Island’s top doc Dr. Stanwick breaks down the Island’s rising numbers

North Saanich is giving local businesses a break by waving renewal fees for 2021. (Black Press Media file photo)
North Saanich waives business renewal fees for 2021

The municipality raised $48,000 from businesses licences in 2020

The Sooke school district has filled all spots for their French immersion and nature kinderagarten programs in 2021-2022 school year. Regular kindergarten registration is still open and available. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sooke school district gets surplus of nature, French immersion kindergarten applications

Not enough room for almost half of nature kindergarten applicants

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

Shown is Quality Foods at 319 Island Highway in Parksville. The Island-based grocery chain announced on Jan. 25 it made a $2-per-hour pay premium, implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic, permanent. (Mandy Moraes photo)
COVID-19: Quality Foods makes $2-per-hour employee pay premium permanent

Island-based grocery chain had extended increase twice in 2020

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

The North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP have arrested a prolific offender who is now facing more than 40 charges. (Black Press file photo)
‘Priority offender’ arrested in Cowichan Valley faces more than 40 charges

Tyler Elrix, 37, had a history of evading police; was ordered not to be in Vancouver Island

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)
Modelling of predicted transmission growth from the B117 COVID-19 variant in British Columbia. (Simon Fraser University)
COVID-19 variant predicted to cause ‘unmanageable’ case spike in B.C: report

SFU researchers predict a doubling of COVID-19 cases every two weeks if the variant spreads

The Brucejack mine is 65 km north of Stewart in northwestern B.C. (Pretivm Photo)
B.C. mine executives see bright gleam in post-COVID future

Low carbon drives demand for copper, steelmaking coal

Most Read