Resorts across the province, including Revelstoke Mountain Resort, have been temporarily shut down due to COVID-19 concerns. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

Resorts across the province, including Revelstoke Mountain Resort, have been temporarily shut down due to COVID-19 concerns. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

Tourism industry advocate calls for emergency fund in wake of COVID-19 cancellations

Claims losses amount to hundreds of millions of dollars already

The Tourism Industry Association of B.C. is calling for government intervention to prevent a collapse of the visitor economy as a result of COVID-19.

With massive travel cancellations that include flights, hotel bookings, conferences, events, and closures to resorts such as Whistler-Blackcomb, Silver Star, Revelstoke Mountain Resort and others, losses amount to hundreds of millions of dollars already and will soon represent billions of dollars unless senior governments provide some form of financial relief to help businesses survive, said a news release from the association.

READ MORE: Canada to close borders to most foreigners, but not to U.S., to slow spread of COVID-19

“We know that many businesses have already cut staff with more layoffs expected this week,” said Alroy Chan, chair of the association. “While some tourism operators have cash reserves to remain open for the time being, it won’t be long before they close down permanently. Others are shuttering their businesses immediately. It’s a dire situation until we receive some help from senior levels of government.”

READ MORE: Revelstoke Mountain Resort closing due to COVID-19 fears

The association is looking to senior levels of government to establish an emergency tourism contingency fund to help operators mitigate the impact of the crisis. It also calling for other measures to help businesses, such as temporarily suspending land tenure fees and employer health taxes, as well as providing loan payment relief.

The association is also recommending that the federal government waive the seven-day waiting period to collect employment insurance for temporarily laid-off employees and extending the temporary lay-off maximum beyond 13 weeks.

READ MORE: Study says few workers have paid leave, qualify for EI if off job due to COVID-19

Tourism in British Columbia generates upwards of $19 billion in revenues annually through more than 19,000 (small) businesses that employ over 330,000 people. The industry has enjoyed record-setting growth in recent years and has become the province’s third-largest business sector.


 

@RevelstokeRevue
editor@revelstoketimesreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusTourism

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

Just Posted

Island Health has reported a COVID-19 outbreak at Saanich Peninsula Hospital. (Black Press Media file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak hits first Greater Victoria hospital

Island Health declares outbreak at Saanich Peninsula Hospital

Athletes with Fairway Gorge Paddling Club’s open men’s staff head out on a high-tech outrigger canoe. The club raised more than $16,500 at its 2020 Wetdasche event. (Courtesy of Fairway Gorge Paddling Club)
Victoria paddling group breaks fundraising record

Fairway Gorge Paddling Club’s 2020 Wetdashe event raises more than $16,500

The Walking Curriculum gets students outside and connecting with nature. (Amanda Peterson/Special to S.F. Examiner)
‘Walking Curriculum’ crafted by former Saanich resident surges in popularity

The outdoor curriculum encourages students to connect with the natural world

Kathy MacNeil, president and chief executive officer of Island Health, Dawn Thomas, acting deputy health minister and Island Health’s vice president, Indigenous health and diversity and Chief Don Tom of Tsartlip First Nation, stand out Saanich Peninsula Hospital Tuesday morning, when they also answered questions about a new report that “widespread systemic racism against Indigenous people” in the provincial health care system. (Island Health/Submitted)
Head of Island Health says Saanich Peninsula Hospital not part of racist guessing game

Tsartlip First Nations Chief Don Tom welcomes changes following report but promises future scrutiny

Greater Victoria 4-H club member Sava Bell is all smiles holding some of the garden fresh ingredients he used to make his award-winning dish for the Field to Fork Challenge. (Courtesy Agriculture in the Classroom)
Greater Victoria 4-H members among winners in provincewide cooking competition

Field to Fork Challenge encourages B.C. youth to prepare healthy, local foods

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

A man stands in the window of an upper floor condo in Vancouver on March 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Change made to insurance for B.C. condo owners amid rising premiums

Council CEO Janet Sinclair says the change will mean less price volatility

Dave Wallace coached the Parksville Royals for 23 years. (PQB News file photo)
B.C. baseball community mourns death of legendary Vancouver Island coach Dave Wallace

‘All who knew Dave and his passion for the game will miss him greatly’

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. researchers launch study to test kids, young adults for COVID-19 antibodies

Kids and youth can often be asymptomatic carriers of the novel coronavirus

A sign is seen this past summer outside the Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
B.C. First Nation leaders await privacy commissioner decision on COVID-19 information

Release of life-saving data cannot wait, says coalition of First Nations

MLA Jennifer Whiteside is B.C.’s new minister of education. She is speaking out against Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld and asking him to resign. (Black Press)
New education minister calls on Chilliwack trustee to resign

Whiteside echoes former minister’s promise to look at options to remove Barry Neufeld

Peter Beckett. ~ File photo
Supreme Court of Canada to decide if it will hear appeal in 2010 wife murder trial

Peter Beckett has stood trial twice for murder in connection with the death of his wife, Laura Letts-Beckett

Most Read