C-19 BULLETIN - May 1, 2020
In anticipation that his daughter was about to get engaged, my cousin told our family last fall to set aside the first weekend in May for the  wedding of the year.  In the months that followed, every time we got together he provided a play-by-play of how this magical day was to unfold.
 
I learned about his bespoke navy blue, pin striped, slim fit, three-piece suit that’s been hanging in his closet since December. I heard that fine wines from the Bordeaux region of France were part of the six-course menu during the reception at a posh downtown hotel. Heck, I even got to know the first names of every band member scheduled to entertain guests that evening. I knew so many details about this impending wedding, it felt like I was footing the bill. Suffice it to say, a lot of planning had gone into this single occasion for some 200+ invited guests.
 
Like thousands of other events, the nuptials were postponed until later in the summer, and even then, public gatherings like weddings, conferences and other events are up in the air depending on how things unfold in the coming weeks vis-a-vis COVID-19.
 
During a recent press conference, the Province's Chief Medical Health Officer responded to a reporter’s question by stating, “Meetings, where we all get together, conferences, those are not going to happen this year anywhere in the world.” Unknowingly and unintentionally, her remark inadvertently put the province’s meetings, conferences and events industry into further uncertainty and potential hibernation for quite possibly the remainder of 2020.
 
As you know, since the start of the crisis significant numbers of domestic and international clients have cancelled, or at the very least, postponed or rebooked events often using the force majeure clause to avoid cancellation penalties. Unfortunately many have cancelled outright. Consequently, there is virtually no meetings and events business on the books through September. At the same time, there is optimism for business in Q4 contingent on a number of factors.
 
TIABC is working with the meetings, conferences and events sector on a submission to government that seeks clarity on directives for current gathering restrictions, and offers a recommendation on a rolling plan that evaluates restrictions on events every 30 days to allow the sector to potentially salvage some business in the fall and early winter.
 
For many companies, this could be the difference between remaining solvent or going out of business for good. For thousands of people around the province who rely on this industry for their very livelihood, it could also be the difference between collecting a cheque from an employer for the foreseeable future, or one from government that will ultimately stop arriving.
 
The plan would give businesses an opportunity to manage existing contracts, reduce cancellations and focus on re-bookings, as well as work to attract new clients that are so vital to the sector’s recovery. It would also benefit municipal, regional or provincial venues and sites and help civil servants to adjust budgets and calendars, as well as re-assign staff where needed to issue permits, provide support and enforce safety guidelines for events and gatherings.
 
Of course, all of this is contingent on the meeting, conference and event sector aligning with the province’s objectives vis-à-vis re-opening segments of the economy. As per the directive by the Minister of Tourism, Arts & Culture, Lisa Beare to the tourism and hospitality sector, work has begun on extensive health and safety best practices that could potentially allow events to take place later this year.
 
For the time being, weddings, concerts, festivals, galas, meetings, fairs, conferences and multiple public events are sidelined, but with the goal that many of these activities will once again be part of our social and business calendars…hopefully sooner than later…and with the direction and approval of provincial health authorities.
 
So for now, the  royal  wedding is on hold and my dancing shoes remain closeted. At the very least, I’ve been given another few months to learn more about my cousin’s plans for this special day.
 
Best Regards,
Walt Judas
CEO, TIABC
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Weekly Updates

Each Thursday, Destination BC hosts an industry webinar to update stakeholders on COVID-19 related news and important information. This week DBC shared predictions and scenarios for travel in BC, including travel resumption scenarios and likely in-demand activities for British Columbia.

You can access previous week’s recordings on Destination BC's corporate website: 
 
As a reminder, there is a COVID-19 Hub on the Destination BC corporate website for updates and resources: www.destinationbc.ca/covid-19/update
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State of the Industry
The latest State of the Industry weekly report from Twenty31 is  now available . Download the Dashboard Report #3 here .

These reports are made possible through Canadian Experiences Fund funding.
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Metro Vancouverites Agree That the Tourism & Hospitality Sector Needs Help

A new Research Co. poll has found that 78% of Metro Vancouverites believe that restaurants, cafés and bars that employ fewer than 10 people should be eligible for a government bailout. 

More than half of Metro Vancouverites would also consent to offer financial assistance to restaurants, cafés and bars that employ more than 10 people (76%), as well as individual boutiques, stores (71%) and retail outlets that are part of a chain with five or more stores in the country (51%).  

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Roadmap and Best Practices in Re-opening
the BC Wine Industry

After weeks of intense reaction to COVID-19, the BC Wine Institute (BCWI) is looking towards the recovery phase and bringing together stakeholders, operators and industry representatives with the goal of building best practices in advance of the pending re-opening of BC wineries.

Recognizing post-COVID winery workplace and hospitality practices may never return to 'normal', there is an opportunity to bring together the spirit of innovative and industry-wide thinking in setting out practical processes that raise the bar for health and safety, and build upon the industry-leading standards in customer experience and engagement. At the core of the process will be ensuring that as stakeholders in industry, the BCWI are engaged with government in a constructive dialogue around what the phases of re-opening, and ultimately best practices, looks like and will include: tasting-by-reservation model; outdoor tasting areas; and merchandising, product displays and sales protocols, etc.

While an ultimate re-opening date has yet to be confirmed, the BCWI is committed to gathering stakeholder input with a final recommendation completed over the next two weeks. Though industry-wide participation is the preference, given the timeline and quick turnaround, initial stakeholder engagement will be drawn from directors of the various industry groups and associations from around the province.

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Hundreds of Indigenous Tourism Businesses Apply for COVID-19 Development Stimulus Fund

Over 600 Indigenous tourism businesses across Canada have applied, requesting $14.4 million from a COVID-19 Development Stimulus Fund ITAC set up in March, providing businesses with grants of up to $25,000 each to help Indigenous entrepreneurs and their businesses stay afloat during these difficult times.

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Destination Marketing Organization (DMO) Survey

TIAC is launching a survey assessing the impacts of COVID-19 on Destination Marketing Organizations (DMO) and gauging how existing tools are being accessed and what more is needed to address the needs of Canada’s DMO operations. 

All DMOs are invited to  fill out this survey  to assist in TIAC's advocacy efforts.

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Sustainable Tourism 2030
Destination Framework Launches

Helping the tourism industry build resilience in a post- pandemic world

On the final day of Earth Month, and on the one-year anniversary of releasing their Sustainable Tourism 2030 initiative, GreenStep officially launched the  Sustainable Tourism Destination Framework  to help tourism destinations measure, improve and certify their sustainability performance.

The Sustainable Tourism Destination Framework is made up of a series of criteria and indicators that are directly aligned with the UN World Tourism Organization’s “Indicators of Sustainable Tourism for Destinations” and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council “GSTC Destination Criteria.” The framework also includes indicators from the “Canadian Indicator Framework” as part of Canada’s 2030 Agenda Strategy, as well as indicators that align with “British Columbia’s Strategic Framework for Tourism.” Strategies and published indicators from other provinces and territories will also be reviewed and integrated. This means that Canadian destinations can now measure their sustainability performance based upon criteria and indicators that are relevant and aligned with international, national and provincial goals.

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Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance Webinars

Thursday, May 7 @ 1:00 pm ET

To view previous webinars, such as The Road to Recovery Starts During the Storm – Lessons Learned from Past Recoveries and Using Economic Impact Data in Your COVID-19 Recovery Strategy, visit:
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Destination Canada Webinars

Previous webinars:

  • April 28th with Ben Cowan-Dewar, Chair of the Board, Destination Canada; Charlotte Bell, President & CEO, Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC); Martin Soucy, President & CEO, Alliance de l'industrie touristique du Québec; and Beth Potter, President & CEO, Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO). Please visit this page to see a recording.

  • April 1st with the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages; Ben Cowan-Dewar, Chair of the Board, Destination Canada; and Charlotte Bell, President & CEO, Tourism Industry Association of Canada. Please visit this page to see a recording.

  • March 20th with representatives from Destination Canada, Business Development Bank of Canada, Parks Canada, Tourism Industry Association of Canada and Tourism HR Canada. Please visit this page to see a recording.

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Small Business BC Webinars

Small Business BC are hosting a series of specialized free webinars to tackle the challenges faced by COVID-19. These 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.

Visit their website for upcoming webinars, along with the opportunity to watch any sessions you’ve missed.

To view previous webinars, visit:
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Trip Advisor Webinars

TripAdvisor has previously hosted a 2-part webinar presentation for destinations, hoteliers, attractions, and others in the travel industry on the impact of COVID-19 and a recommended approach to recovery. By viewing the recorded past sessions, you can hear perspectives from Tourism Economics (an Oxford Economics company), E-Tourism Frontiers, and Twenty31 along with insights from Tripadvisor.

Part 1: Impact and Recovery Strategies for COVID-19
Part 2: Preparing for What Comes Next

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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.
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Restauranteur Overwhelmed by Generous Donations

Today TIABC received a great update about a restaurant in Delta that has a donation program for delivering meals to healthcare workers and farmers. To date they have delivered 805 meals and have had 1130 donations so far. They are getting donations in faster than they can get meals out!

The Honourable Carla Qualtrough's office connected them with The Good Samaritan Society, who were seeking meals for their tireless staff at the Delta View Care Centre, after a staffing shortage due to COVID-19. They have also helped deliver meals to local farmers who were self-isolating to protect our local food supply. And now the team are working with the United Way to expand their reach across Metro Vancouver. 

They had such an amazing response to our Pizza for Essential Services initiative that they quickly realized they could keep going in a different way. And so the "Hot Meals Program" was launched, with the goal of feeding vulnerable seniors, their caregivers and other families in need. And again, the donations poured in from the generous community. 

There is one person, in particular, they would like to thank for her contributions towards both their Pizza and Hot Meals programs. They received an order for 120 pizzas on the first day of the initiative. Since then, the contributions from this one big-hearted donor have continued, to date totalling 720 pizzas and hot meals. Her name is Catherine and nearly every week, we have received another order for 120 pizzas or meals. Catherine has never dined in Mario's or Gracie's nor does she even live in Delta! She came across a post on Facebook and she knew she could help. Catherine has led a lifetime of philanthropy, quick to give and support where needed. When we asked about her motivation to contribute to our cause, Catherine said that she hopes it inspires others who have the means to do the same. #InThisTogether
Generous donations have helped to provide pizzas for many frontline workers in Delta. We are still making the rounds regularly, ensuring all of these hard-working heroes are being well fed!  
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.