• Tourism Industry BC Update - 5/14/2020

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    May 14, 2020
    C-19 BULLETIN - May 13, 2020
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    Federal Government Update
    Regional Relief and Recovery Fund
    Today the Federal Government announced that the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) is devoting nearly $962 million to help more businesses and organizations in sectors such as tourism, manufacturing, technology, and others that are key to the regions and to local economies.
    RRRF is now accepting applications from businesses and communities. It is specifically targeted toward those that may require additional help to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic but have been unable to access existing support measures.
    The six regional development agencies (RDA) will be delivering this funding. Covering every region of Canada, the RDAs are very familiar with the economic realities of their regions and are well suited to assist workers and businesses.
    The funding will be allocated as follows: The funding announced today is part of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, which commits more than $149 billion to support Canadians and businesses through this difficult time. As other government measures are further strengthened, the RDAs will adapt to meet the ongoing needs of local businesses.
    Businesses interested in receiving support through this initiative are now invited to apply for the RRRF through their local RDA.
    ABLE BC Reporting Positive News for Hospitality Sector
    Today, Attorney General David Eby confirmed that Premier John Horgan has instructed him to move quickly on clearing liquor-related roadblocks for pubs, bars, and restaurants. 
    Specifically, the Attorney General referenced two urgent requests that are being actively explored within government: 
    • wholesale prices for hospitality licensees (i.e. LPs and FPs)
    • expedited provincial approval for patios and expanded outdoor liquor service
    These would be significant wins for our members and are essential for our industry's long-term economic recovery. 
    While ABLE BC and other industry associations on the Business Technical Advisory Panel have been working the past several weeks on expanding outdoor liquor service, allowing hospitality customers to purchase liquor at wholesale prices is one of our long-standing policy priorities.
    ABLE BC greatly appreciates the ongoing work of Attorney General David Eby, his staff, and the LCRB to support our industry in this time of crisis.
    Requested Support for Skeena Angling Guides
    The Skeena Angling Guides Association (SAGA) submitted the following letter to the Province outlining their requests to alleviate pressure on local small businesses in view of COVID-19.
    SAGA members have already lost 25% of our annual revenue. The currently announced travel advisory and closures could not have come at a worse time since the start of our guiding season in the lower Skeena watershed is mid-March for spring Steelhead and runs into the first half of May which represents about 25% of our annual business.
    In addition to this there is no guarantee that the rest of the SAGA members regular angling season (June 15 to November 15) will see the world wide control of the COVID 19 pandemic but we are hoping that sometime by June or early July things may be under control. Even if this is the case the mass hysteria created by the pandemic will have long term negative implications for international travel and consequently our business.
    We are requesting the following actions to hopefully help alleviate some of the pressure on our local small businesses:
    1.       That all classified licensing fees province wide be suspended and forgiven for the 2020 season. As well, refund those who have already paid for the 2020 season
    2.       That no mirror orders be put in place to reduce access to steelhead fisheries
    3.       That for the Kitsumkalum river the fall guiding window be extended to Nov 22 to make up for the loss of the Spring season
    4.       That no new regulations or policies be proposed or put in place that may further restrict access to fisheries in the 2020 season
    These are small requests that are within the power of the BC Government to grant that will offer significant aid to our already beleaguered small businesses. I urgently request you review and implement our requests as soon as possible. To survive we require all the economic assistance possible and the ability to access stable fisheries after the COVID-19 crisis is over.
    Indigenous Tourism BC Supporting Businesses with Emergency Relief Fund
    As COVID-19 knocks the wind out of the travel industry, BC tourism businesses are suffering unprecedented revenue losses. To help Indigenous tourism operators keep their doors open and move toward a long-term recovery plan, non-profit Indigenous Tourism BC (ITBC) has released $300,000 in aid through its Emergency Relief Fund. So far, after receiving applications from every tourism region in the province, ITBC has funded 71 businesses.
    ITBC works with 125 market ready stakeholders and the majority are small to medium sized enterprises. They are sole proprietorships, family owned partnerships, limited partnerships, corporations and community-owned businesses. Half of these businesses operate year-round, and half of them operate on a seasonal basis from May to October.
    Impacts to Stakeholders:
    • 91% of the ITBC stakeholders have had to close or operate in a limited capacity
    • 74% of businesses have had to lay off employees
    • The Indigenous tourism industry is made up of small to medium size businesses that range from two employees to 275 employees
    • 48% are seasonal businesses (May 1 – October 1)
    • 52% are year-round operations
    ITBC is reviewing the gaps that stakeholders are experiencing with financial relief dollars that are now available, and also tracking short and long term needs that will be required for full business recovery.
    Task Force Releases Rescue and Recovery Priorities for Greater Victoria Tourism Industry
    Tourism leaders in Greater Victoria endorsed a suite of measures to help the struggling Greater Victoria tourism industry through the COVID-19 pandemic. The Greater Victoria Tourism Rescue and Recovery Task Force (Task Force) is a group of twelve tourism business leaders from the hotel, transportation and attraction sectors, as well as destination marketing organizations. The priorities are outlined in a document released today. The Task Force will also update its priorities as the recovery evolves over the next 18 months.
    The Task Force has prioritized five requests for government that are critical to support tourism businesses immediately and going forward:
    • Extending the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) well into 2021.
    • Extending the 16-week period before severance is required for staff on temporary layoff, as well as flexibility on group lay-off provisions for tourism’s highly seasonal workforce.
    • Interest-free loans, grants, subsidies, or similar financial supports.
    • Support for COVID-19 safety oriented and physical social-distancing measures.
    • Redirect Destination Canada and Destination BC marketing funds from traditional international source markets to domestic source markets at the community level for the short term upon approved restart.
    Read the full letter here.
    Road to Recovery: Pulse Check
    The third economic impacts “pulse” survey is now live:
    Like previous ‘pulse-check’ surveys, we’re asking about impacts on BC businesses to date and the accessibility and usefulness of existing government supports. However, this third survey also focusses on  reopening BC’s economy   and the business community’s reaction to BC’s Restart Plan—which was introduced by the Premier on May 6th.
    By  taking this 4-minute survey you’re ensuring the voice of business doesn’t fade as we move from crisis and toward recovery.
    Vancouver Airport Authority
    Announces New President & CEO
    The Board of Directors of Vancouver Airport Authority today announced the appointment of Tamara Vrooman as president & Chief Executive Officer, effective July 1st. Ms. Vrooman succeeds Craig Richmond who announced in November 2019 that he will be retiring at the end of June after seven years leading the organization that operates Vancouver International Airport (YVR).
    Ms. Vrooman joins YVR following 13 years as president and Chief Executive Officer of Vancity, Canada's largest community credit union, as well as a nine-year tenure on the YVR Board of Directors.
    Prior to joining Vancity, Ms. Vrooman served as Deputy Minister of Finance for the Province of British Columbia where she oversaw the government's annual $100 billion borrowing and cash requirements and its $36 billion fiscal plan. Ms. Vrooman has been a leading voice in BC, Canada and abroad for sustainable finance and investing, climate change measurement and reporting, and diversity and inclusion. She was named Business in Vancouver’s BC CEO of the Year (Major Private Company) in 2015. Ms. Vrooman was recognized with the Order of British Columbia in 2019.
    Photo credit: Rob Kruyt
    Small Business BC Webinars
    Small Business BC are hosting a series of specialized free webinars to tackle the challenges faced by COVID-19. The webinars are geared at equipping businesses in our province with the skills and knowledge they need to survive the new realities of our COVID economy.
    Thursday May 14 @ 10:00 am PT
    Marketing During a Crisis: how to strike the right balance
    Friday May 22 @ 9:00 am PT
    Web Presence 101 and Customer Engagement During COVID-19
    Wednesday May 27 @ 10:00 am PT
    Strategies for Staying Resilient During COVID-19 (part 3)
    Friday June 5 @ 10:30 am PT
    How to Become an Inclusive Employer after COVID-19
    To view previous webinars, visit:
    All indicators show that there are challenging days ahead, which means marketing for small businesses matters more than ever. It's time to be proactive and attempt to drive results. eLearning University is going to focus this webinar on how to strategically market during a crisis, topics will include:
    • Finding your competitive advantage
    • Messaging that works & what to avoid
    • Where to focus efforts
    • How to drive impact
    Thursday, May 14 @ 11:00 am PT
    Marketing in a Crisis
    Use the coupon code 'TOTA' to gain free access to this webinar.
    Destination BC Webinars
    Destination BC is hosting a series of webinars to support BC’s tourism industry on the road to recovery. This series supports response, recovery, and resilience from COVID-19.
    Essential Strategies to Innovate your Visitor Experience and Offerings  
    Speaker: Joe Veneto, Veneto Collaboratory 
    Thursday, May 14 @2:00 pm PT (90 minutes)
    Planning for Doors Open
    Speaker: Eva Gutsche, Stem Consulting
    Tuesday, May 19 @ 2:00 pm PT (60 minutes)
    Managing Expectations and Reputation through Effective Communication
    Speaker: Daniel Craig, Reknown
    Thursday, May 21 @ 2:00 pm PT (60 minutes)
    Using Social Media to Support Re-opening
    Speaker: Conner Galway, Junction Consulting
    Tuesday, May 26 @ 2:00 pm PT (60 minutes)
    Building a Digital Marketing Strategy for Re-opening
    Speaker: Conner Galway, Junction Consulting
    Thursday, May 28 @ 2:00 pm PT (60 minutes)
    Learn more at: www.destinationbc.ca/recovery-webinars
    Women of Recreation, Tourism &
    Hospitality (WORTH) Webinars
    Worth is hosting a two-part Zoom series about navigating the heightened levels of uncertainty and change that many of us are experiencing today. You will be equipped with tangible tools and ideas to empower you to make this time work to your advantage.
    Monday, May 18 at 2:00 pm PT
    Making Uncertainty Work For You
    Greater Victoria Harbour Authority Town Hall
    Join Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA) CEO Ian Robertson for a discussion on the status of their operations, the return of cruise to Victoria, and what’s next for their non-profit organization. Robertson will be available to answer your questions following the presentation portion of the session.
    Wednesday May 20 @ 11:30 am PT (45 minutes)
    Using STR Data in Times of Crisis and Recovery
    Thursday, May 21 @ 11:00 am PT
    STR provides premium data benchmarking, analytics and marketplace insights for global hospitality sectors. STR is working to increase participation in their hotel benchmarking platform to provide organizations like the BC Hotel Association with the information they need to successfully lobby on behalf of their members and create effective marketing strategies to drive tourism. Join STR and the BCHA for their Using STR Data in Times of Crisis and Recovery webinar.
    Our industry is full of innovative, caring and helpful people.
    Share your stories with us and we will share them here in our daily bulletin.
    BCBusiness magazine features businesses doing good this during COVID-19 pandemic. BCIT was one of the organizations featured recently for three initiatives:
    First, mechanical engineering alumnus Jamie Haakons and interior design grad Keisha Go are giving back by using their eight 3D printers to produce thousands of free face shields and ear savers for health-care workers. So far, Haakons and Go have delivered 6,500 units.
    Second, BCIT has used its MediaWorks room, a self-service production facility before COVID-19, to print more than 2,100 ear savers.
    And third, the institution has created FEPA (Focused Education Preparation Advancing Frontline Registered Nurses), an online, self-directed, fast-track course to help health-care workers acquire the knowledge needed to support coronavirus patients. Since the free course launched, some 8,000 health-care workers in Canada and the U.S. have registered, and more than 5,000 have completed it.
    Feel free to send us your ideas on what information would be valuable for TIABC to share through our COVID-19 Bulletin going forward. Drop us a line at info@tiabc.ca.
    Visit our TIABC website for more COVID-19 information