Further supports for B.C.’s embattled tourism industry are on the way from the provincial government.
In a new release, the provincial government announced a renewed strategic framework for tourism and is investing $1 million toward investments in event-bid preparation and sponsorships to attract large-scale events.
Both Premier John Horgan and Tourism Minister Melanie Mark have openly expressed their desire to bring the FIFA World Cup, the Invictus Games and the Winter Olympics to B.C. over the next several years.
Federal tourism minister Randy Boissanault was asked at a March 10 news conference if B.C. will have a supportive partner at the federal level in attracting these kinds of events in the future.
“We welcome these kinds of events and it’s fantastic when many different Canadian cities can get together to host,” he said. “If we have a city and a province in alignment [to host events] then the federal government is an enthusiastic partner. As minister of tourism, I want to see us stimulating the visitor economy in many ways.”
B.C. is showing early signs of success in attracting major events. Vancouver will host the 2022 TED conference in April which will feature speakers like Elon Musk, Bill Gates and Al Gore among several others.
The $1 million fund is in addition to a recently announced $8 million fund to bring back business events and conferences in B.C.
Another piece of the province’s strategic framework is funding training for people who want to work in the tourism and hospitality industry. The province announced $2 million for post-secondary education and training to support B.C. students who enrol in tourism and hospitality certificate, diploma or degree programs, tourism-related apprenticeships, and trades training and development programs.
On top of that, the province is doling out $6 million through 2024 for Destination BC to market B.C. as a destination of choice to international travellers.
“We are very enthused about the Province’s further investment in tourism recovery,” said Walt Judas, CEO, Tourism Industry Association of BC. “These funds come at an opportune time as our industry looks to rebuild our workforce, products and service levels to once again welcome guests from all over the world in the months and years ahead.”
This new funding builds on the $570 million the provincial government has invested in propping up the tourism sector throughout the pandemic. In the 2022 provincial budget, almost $25 million was set aside for destination development, International marketing, business events and conferences recovery, marquee event bids and tourism training.