C-19 BULLETIN - February 22, 2021

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CEO Message

In this active real estate market, I regularly hear from agents who want to list my home. They seem to know that my wife and I are empty-nesters living in a house where only one of four bedrooms is regularly occupied, save for the odd visit (pre-COVID) from our kids who all live out of town. When agents come knocking, I usually respond with two questions:
1) Why would I want to sell now?
2) Where would I move to?
 
Lately some friends have suggested that we rent our nicely decorated spare bedrooms through private accommodation platforms like Airbnb. After all, they reason, thousands of people are doing it and earning extra income, as well as providing a much-needed service during COVID-19.
 
Whenever someone tells me to turn my house into a quasi-hotel, I respond with two questions:
1) What have you been smoking?
2) Why would I want strangers in my house during a time where I’m not even supposed to leave my neighbourhood (forgive the slight exaggeration)?
 
Aside from the unsolicited advice, I’m offended by the hypocrisy of anyone who admonishes others for gathering socially with their safe six yet thinks nothing of rolling out the welcome mat to transient guests for a few extra dollars.
 
Unfortunately, I’m hearing more about these types of scenarios all around the province. While many hotels and their employees sit idle due to travel restrictions and visitor misperceptions, private accommodation providers are thriving in several communities. Some homeowners appear to be giving the middle finger to government mandated health and safety regulations such as cleaning protocols, social distancing, gathering restrictions and other directives at the expense of hotels who have done everything possible to keep guests safe.
 
There are those who would argue to each his own, it’s a capitalist society. Government has no right to deny anyone the opportunity to earn money however they choose, especially during these trying times. You’ll get no argument from me except when it comes to fairness. As it relates to guest accommodation, allow me to pose two more questions:
1) Why should hotels be forced to implement and abide by strict health and safety protocols, but no one is holding private accommodators to account until a large social gathering leads to complaints and ultimately action by authorities?
2) Why are hotels so heavily regulated, licensed and taxed, yet many private accommodators don’t face the same government oversight or accountability?
 
I’m not anti-Airbnb, Flip Key, Home Away or VRBO. Heck, I’ve even stayed in private accommodations when travelling with a larger party. But I made sure the proprietors were licensed, legal, safe, and were not frowned upon by their neighbours. If homeowners are renting rooms or suites to visitors during the pandemic, I don’t think it’s too much to ask they follow the same protocols and regulations that hotels must (for those that are, I applaud you). It’s simply not right to enforce rules for one entity and not the other for essentially providing the same service.
 
As for the extra rooms in my house…they’ll remain empty until such time we can welcome friends and family from out-of-town once again. In the meantime, I’m thinking of putting my own real estate sign on the front lawn with two questions:
1) What part of the message no it’s not for sale do you not understand?
2) May I remind you that we’re still in the middle of a pandemic with no outside guests permitted to bunk in the spare bedroom of your primary dwelling?

Walt Judas
CEO, TIABC
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$500M in Additional RRRF for Small Businesses

The Government of Canada recently announced an additional $500 million in support through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) for small businesses that continue to suffer from COVID-related losses and earmarked at least 25% of the funds for the struggling tourism sector. Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) is delivering the RRRF in BC.
 
This expanded funding allows the RRRF to continue to be a backstop for eligible firms, mirroring the support offered by other programs such as the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) or the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) as they evolve to meet the needs of businesses. The RRRF is intended for businesses that do not qualify for funding from those sources and other federal COVID-relief programs, such as the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP).
 
Financial support may be available to tourism businesses that have sustained COVID-related losses since April 1, 2020 or if further losses are anticipated going forward.

For more information on RRRF and its eligibility requirements:
Email: wd.bc-cb.deo@canada.ca or call 1-888-338-WEST (9378)
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January/February 2021 BC COVID-19 Tourism Impact

British Columbia Regional Destination Management Organizations, in partnership with community tourism marketing organizations, the BC Hotel Association and TIABC, are working to understand the current and potential future impacts of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) on businesses throughout the Province.

We know that the COVID-19 crisis is having a dramatic impact on all of our tourism partners. We are working with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture & Sport to ensure there is an accurate understanding of the effects of COVID-19 on your business today and hope to take a few minutes to ask you a number of questions about the current conditions and suggestions for your recovery. 

This survey will take approximately 10-12 minutes to complete. Your personal information will be kept strictly confidential. Information from this survey will be anonymous and will be published in the aggregate without singling out any individual business.
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BC Residents Less Likely To Be Following COVID-19 Restrictions
than Other Provinces

With Spring Break only a few weeks away, a significant number of Canadians are planning at least some activities that run counter to the COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines set by their province. When looking at underlying motivators for rule-breaking, pandemic fatigue and other justifications of behaviour are common. BC residents appear to be the worst in the country when it comes to the proportion of residents who are not following all of the rules all of the time.

Read the full story at:
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BC Accommodations
Keeping Guests and Staff Safe During COVID-19

In case you missed it, TIABC has released the first in our public service announcement video series. This video was produced for the hotel sector with guidance and support from the BC Hotel Association and other partners.

Recognizing there is a demand for tourism and hospitality businesses to share steps taken to keep residents and visitors safe and healthy, as well as a need to inform visitors about what to expect when they are able to travel to BC, TIABC has invested in a series of videos that will act as PSAs educating multiple audiences about the province’s health and safety protocols, what businesses are doing to ensure their customers, guests, employees and communities are safe and protected, and to reiterate the provincial tourism marketing messaging “Know Before You Go”.

Watch the video here
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Share Your Love for BC

Share your love for BC and you could win $500* to share the love locally.

From the heart of our cities to the farthest reaches of our wilderness, there are so many places across BC that inspire connection, rejuvenation and transformation. Until it’s safe to travel again, our memories and photos can give us a renewed sense of appreciation for everything that surrounds us.

What do you love most about BC? Share it by submitting your BC photo and story. *Ten lucky people across the province will win $500 in gift cards or vouchers to spend at local businesses in their community, to help share the love. And who knows? You might just find a few new places along the way to put on your wish list for later.

Learn more at:
Enter the contest at:
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Moments of Levity

As an industry that continues to face enormous challenges during COVID-19, every once in a while it's important to share a laugh, a good story, a beautiful image, or an interesting anecdote to provide moments of levity during this most difficult time. Feel free to share your photos, etc. with TIABC to be published in our C-19 Bulletin each week.
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The Tourism Industry Association of Canada in partnership with TIABC is happy to offer these free, online webinars to tourism operators and organization on culinary tourism development. Five themed webinars will assist small and medium tourism operators and partners develop culinary tourism strategies to maintain their businesses and attract domestic visitors and international visitors once Canada is ready to welcome them again. Register today!

Attracting Culinary Tourists Webinar 
Friday, March 12th at 9:00am PT (10am MT)
This webinar will be delivered Friday March 12th as part of the upcoming BC Tourism & Hospitality Conference – registration opening soon!

Multisensory Experience Development Webinar 
Tuesday, March 16th at 10:00am PT (11:00am MT)

Partnering For Success Webinar 
Thursday, March 18th at 9:00am PT (10:00am MT)

Growing Agritourism Webinar
Thursday, March 25th at 8:00am PT (9:00am MT)

Exceeding Expectations Webinar 
Wednesday, March 31st at 8:00am PT (9:00am MT)

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The Transformative Power of a Sustainable Tourism Framework
Global Sustainable Tourism Council in Canada and Sweden

Friday February 26, 2021
7:00am - 8:15am PST

As increasing numbers of entrepreneurs, destinations, and regions build towards sustainability and resilience there is a growing interest in certification as a driver of innovative change towards a better form of tourism. Those who work in the tourism ecosystem have become increasingly aware of four letters that matter - GSTC. The work of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) has garnered a lot of attention all around the world. In this session we hear from two speakers with experience implementing the GSTC framework. Pamela will share her view as a Program Manager with GreenStep Solutions based in British Columbia - a province with a rapidly growing interest in GSTC initiatives. Kajsa will share her perspective as a tourism strategist with Region Västerbotten in northern Sweden - which is gaining a name for itself as a truly innovative region embracing sustainable destination development strategies.

This World VIUPoints webinar is an initiative of the World Leisure Centre of Excellence at Vancouver Island University. The session has an early start (7am PST) to accommodate our Swedish presenter and international audience and so a recording will be available online immediately after for those who cannot make the live event.
Zoom link: 
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Join TIAC and Twenty31 to hear Twenty31's take on high-level findings from the ‘State of Tourism in Canada during COVID-19’ dashboard report, joined by special guests to hear how they addressed some of the challenges and opportunities highlighted in the current report.

Monday, March 1st at 10am EST (7am PST)
The webinar will be presented in English and panelists include:
  • Saran, Michele A, CEO, Tourism Nova Scotia
  • Sisa Ntshona, CEO, South African Tourism

Register at:

Please note the webinar has a maximum capacity of 500 participants, and a recording of the webinar will be available on the TIAC Members' portal.
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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.