C-19 BULLETIN - March 31, 2020


As you are aware, with nearly three quarters of British Columbia’s 19,000 tourism and hospitality businesses considered to be small enterprises, there is grave concern that a huge percentage won’t survive a prolonged crisis without some form of assistance.

In fact, the formula to ascertain whether a business will survive or not is pretty simple: No customers + no revenues + uncertain timeline + monthly fixed costs = mounting liabilities and closures.

While TIABC is not privy to any company’s financial statements to know if survival is possible, we do hear from many small operators…like the ones below…whose stories paint the picture of a grim future (no names have been included to protect privacy).
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Normally at this time of the year, our seasonal campground (which typically opens in mid-May) is taking daily reservations. However, over the last two weeks we have had a total of five reservations and deposits paid along with a number of cancellations.

We’re only in our third season and depend on these deposits to prepare us for our upcoming season. We have zero cash flow and need financial support. We only have a four and a half month season and our campground is the sole source of my income. We have campground related expenses consisting of high insurance, vehicle and equipment lease payments, and my salary. As it is coming to the end of our winter, revenue from 2019 is depleted.
 
In our first year we felt the effects of the forest fires. Last year was a very wet season, and this year the potential loss of our European and American guests because of COVID-19 will set us back yet again. If this season does not happen, or even a late start, there is a good chance that we will close completely as we will have a tough time recovering. 
 
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Our business is unique in that we don’t open for high season until May 1 st . We do all of our business over five months. Winter is not a big producer and cannot be relied on for catching up.
 
The next 30 days are critical. I expect we will get more cancellations and this is when it will get tough. Our mortgage and other fixed costs will be unmanageable if we have cancellations or have to close.
 
One issue we are facing is backlash from the local community if we allow guests from other areas to come and stay. We have already had comments from locals stating that we had better not put our bottom line first.
 
We have a limited company. My wife and I are the only employees. If we can open in May, we will have business, but it will be less than normal.  If the situation worsens and we are not allowed to open our resort, then we will have no business income and no private income. We will not be able to pay the property tax and we will have no salary.
 
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The borders are closed and we are predominantly a tourist-based business. We had money to start up the season, but that has been lost due to refunding our abundant amount of cancellations.
 
Our bills are roughly $15,000 per month when we are closed. That does not include any staff or operations. Those are just our hard costs such as rent. We have zero dollars coming in now and for the foreseeable future with the borders closed and governments asking for businesses to shut down.
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As a tourism business, we face similar challenges to most others as not only have our bookings come to a full stop, we have a huge number of refund requests that are pending to be paid back to customers. This comes at a time when we are just coming out of our off-season where cash flow is negative for several months.
 
We have purchased equipment for the upcoming season with invoices coming due soon, as well as rent payments on our stores that are fully closed. With the upcoming season seemingly in complete jeopardy, the long-term commitment of rent, staff wages, and existing debt payments are our top priorities until the 2021 season is well underway and has hopefully bounced back.

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While the federal government has announced several measures to help small businesses (albeit absent of details, timelines), and more provincial assistance is imminent, we continue to hear the stories of operators whose livelihoods have, or are disappearing by the day. Our aim is to stop the carnage before it’s too late.
 
Since the bottom fell out of the visitor economy, TIABC, sector associations, destination marketing organizations, bureaucrats and others have and will continue to beat the drum on financial assistance for tourism businesses so that the survival formula looks something like this for foreseeable future:
 
No customers + no revenues + uncertain timeline + monthly fixed costs + immediate financial assistance (e.g. no interest loan, subsidy, grant, advance) = business sustainability.
 
While highly unconventional, it’s a formula that allows the visitor economy to survive until the crisis is behind us.

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Watch live on television or on Twitter or Facebook:

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Accessing Government Funding Webinar

Greater Vancouver Board of Trade
Business Resiliency Webinar Series

The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade has created a series of free webinars addressing topics that are top of mind for businesses navigating COVID-19. Register below for their upcoming sessions and to access their past webinars.

Upcoming Webinars:

Past Webinars:
 
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Destination Canada Webinar with Minister Joly

Next tourism industry webinar: 
When: Wednesday April 1, 2020 at 11 a.m. ET

Speakers: The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages; Destination Canada and Tourism Industry Association of Canada

Details: Please click the link below to join the webinar:
 
Or iPhone one-tap:
Canada: +16473744685, 935540038# or +16475580588, 935540038#
 
Or Telephone:
Dial (for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
Canada: +1 647 374 4685 or +1 647 558 0588 or +1 778 907 2071 or +1 438 809 7799 or +1 587 328 1099
 
Webinar ID: 935 540 038
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Global Meetings Industry Day April 14

Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID) was created to be an international forum for advocacy, awareness and celebration for the meetings & events industry. Each year, event professionals from around the world come together to raise the collective voice of our community.
 
In 2020, GMID will look very different. The entire industry is invited to join in and set the Record for the Largest Virtual Meeting. The event will be hosted by the heads of Meetings Mean Business Canada, India and the United States.
 
After the record has been broken, they will discuss COVID-19 and its impact on our communities, work and families. Since this situation is constantly evolving, agenda for the webcast is expected to evolve as well.
 
Please join the esteemed panel, including those from government, Business Events Canada, hotels, convention centres and the planning community to discuss the meetings & events industry from their perspectives and where we go from here.
 
This is a challenging time for our industry and it is important that we support each other and work together so that we emerge stronger together. This year, GMID needs to be about resiliency, survival, tenacity and perseverance. Please join Meetings Mean Business Canada and be part of the conversation.
 
Date: April 14, 2020
Time: Starting at 9am PDT/12pm EDT/1pm ADT

This  FREE event will be webcast and open to all. The webcast will be recorded and shared following the event.
Registration at:  gmidgoesvirtual.com
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Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada Launches Stimulus Fund In Response to COVID-19

The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) recognizes that during these uncertain times, its shared singular focus for 2020-2021 must be on COVID-19 recovery and preparing for future tourism seasons. Because of this, ITAC has created the COVID-19 Development Stimulus Fund, dedicated to addressing the impact of COVID-19 on Indigenous tourism businesses by affecting positive change.

The overall goal of this program is to assist in providing relief for Canadian Indigenous tourism businesses that are being affected by the impacts of travel restrictions and physical distancing recommendations. This program will allow businesses to prepare for future tourism seasons by allowing them to focus on things like market awareness, training qualified staff and designing sustainable business growth strategies.

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BC Aviation Council Survey Results

The BC Aviation Council is very pleased with the  Survey Results, which provide a good general industry snapshot and clearly shows that the situation is expected to get worse over the next month.

Small business has been extremely effective by simply getting their stories out. Governments are listening to these stories resulting in, for example, the wage subsidy program increasing from 10% to 75%.

The next step is to collect the aviation and aerospace industry stories and present them to governments. Please take one minute to  tell your story . This is completely anonymous unless you choose to identify yourself.

Some other updates:
  • The Federal Government has waived airport rent for the 21 airport authorities (plus Billy Bishop Airport). This supports Vancouver, Victoria and Prince George airports in BC
  • Harbour Air has suspended its scheduled passenger services and, like Pacific Coastal and others, will be operating charter services for communities in need
  • There are now domestic health checks for all passengers boarding aircraft
  • Skies Magazine is compiling a list of companies open for business. Council encourages you to join the list
  • Transport Canada has issued guidance and a comprehensive list of exemptions

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Kids at Home? 
‘Online Oceans’ Launches Just in Time to Save Parents 
(and help the ocean)

To help parents manage the new reality of weeks at home with the kids, Ocean Wise Conservation Association has launched a free online ocean literacy resource called  Online Oceans , bringing ocean-inspired crafts, activities, DIY videos, livestreamed learning, and more, to families around the world.

Highlights from Online Oceans:
*Content is updated regularly, so check back often.
 

Learn more at:
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Victoria-based Accent Inns has rolled out a special rate for health-care workers and other essential-services workers who are isolating themselves from their families at home.

Accent Inns are designed with exterior corridors, allowing guests to go directly from their vehicles to their room, and there is no central air conditioning. They are urged to take the stairs and not ride in elevators.

Housekeeping staff are using hospital-grade sanitizers and a disinfecting schedule is in place for all areas often touched, such as doorknobs, room keys, back-of-house areas and more.

Accent Inns is still taking non-isolating guests, but are housing them in separate wings of the hotels.

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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.