Dear Accommodation Community,
Separated into four stages, the plan aims to protect the health and safety of the public while allowing controlled meetings and events within purpose-built venues such as hotels and convention centres to take place – kick-starting BC’s devastated tourism sector, getting industry workers back to work, nurturing the mental health and wellness of British Columbians, and fostering business growth and innovation.
With strict industry compliance, professional planning and management, and ongoing dialogue and cooperation with our province’s health authorities, the BC Meetings & Events Restart Plan can support the survival of the accommodation industry.
While the meetings and events industry is composed of hotels, restaurants, convention centres and other meeting venues, the sector supports a diverse mix of businesses that include Destination Management Companies (DMCs) Professional Conference Organizers (PCOs), meeting and event planners, event rental companies, caterers, audio visual and lighting service providers, decorators, etc.
Each year, business events generate $4 billion+ within British Columbia; loss created by COVID-19 has had a significant economic impact for the province and resulted in tens of thousands of lost jobs. Approximately 80% of businesses within the sector are considered small and medium sized businesses that have been devastated by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of these businesses lost between 85% and 100% of projected annual revenues last year.
Furthermore, the BC meetings and events industry is an integral part of the larger-scale tourism sector that nurtures a diverse array of individuals from all socio-economic backgrounds regardless of age, gender, sexual preference, or ethnicity. Approximately 50 percent of industry employees are women, 30 percent are immigrants, and up to 30 percent are youths. Additionally, the industry accounts for 28% of employment reported by Indigenous peoples within British Columbia.
In the same way that schools, restaurants, hotels and grocery stores have adapted to operate safely, meetings and events have also adapted by implementing appropriate physical distancing, health and safety measures, contact tracing and enhanced crowd control protocols to successfully plan and execute events for under 50 people, as outlined in stage one of the plan.
Though now is not the time to gather, it is the hope of the BC Meetings and Events Industry Working Group, that this plan be seriously considered in the reopening of British Columbia to support industry recovery and the overall wellbeing of British Columbians in every corner of the province.
President and CEO
British Columbia Hotel Association