C-19 BULLETIN - October 16, 2020

CEO Message

Two recent debates have been the subject of media and water-cooler talk in recent weeks for different reasons. First, it was the debacle south of the border where the two major party leaders walked and talked all over each other for what seemed like an eternity. It was embarrassing, degrading, obnoxious, uncivilized and a waste of 90 minutes that I’ll never get back.

Then earlier this week many British Columbians tuned into an entirely civilized debate with three provincial party leaders that did their best to be respectful, stay on subject, remain calm, and generally behave other than the odd jab at their opponents’ platforms, decisions or faux pas. I must say, it was a refreshing juxtaposition to the US gong show.

For political junkies, debates are like a playoff game with opponents fighting to get to the final round. For the rest of us, these televised events are an opportunity to learn what values each leader subscribes to, what their respective party platforms offer the electorate, how the leaders account for their decisions, what direction their government would take, and more.

Aside from the fact that moderator Shachi Kurl stole the show, I found the BC election debate to be relatively informative, encouraging, and yet somewhat uneventful. That said, I was very pleased that within the first 15 minutes, the dire state of the tourism industry was acknowledged by all three leaders in the context of pandemic recovery. Sonia Furstenau, Andrew Wilkinson and John Horgan all referenced how tourism has suffered during COVID-19 and that our industry needs help in the months and years ahead.

So, in practical terms, what does that mean vis-a-vis promises by each of the parties? What are the initiatives the NDP, Liberals and Greens are proposing for tourism and hospitality businesses and workers that deserve our attention and ultimately vote? The following is a Top 10 list (in no particular order) of party promises for your review as we inch closer to election day (October 24). For the record, TIABC is non-partisan and the information on the platforms below is factual and for your information and evaluation.

BC New Democratic Party

  1. $100+ million to support the tourism sector through an investment of $19 million to support tourism dependent communities, $14 million for targeted tourism development partnership initiatives, $20 million for tourism infrastructure, and $5 million to Destination BC for additional marketing campaigns
  2. As part of the Economic Recovery Plan, continue with the Tourism Task Force and act on the ideas coming out of their work
  3. Permanently allow restaurants and pubs to purchase beer, wine, and spirits at wholesale cost instead of liquor store retail prices
  4. Permanently allow liquor delivery with takeout, allow expansion of patio areas, and cap take out delivery fees at 15%
  5. A 15% refundable tax credit based on eligible new payroll
  6. Deliver $300 million in recovery grants to support small and medium-sized businesses who’ve been hardest hit by COVID-19
  7. Implement a temporary 100% PST rebate on select machinery and equipment
  8. Expand provincial parks by creating new campgrounds, trails, and protected areas while increasing funding to improve infrastructure and protect park ecosystems
  9. A one-time $1,000 direct deposit to families whose household income is under $125,000 annually – with a sliding scale up to $175,000
  10. A one-time $500 direct deposit to single people earning less than $62,000 annually – with a sliding scale up to $87,000

BC Liberal Party

  1. Deliver emergency financing for BC businesses hardest hit by the pandemic through a loan guarantee program for BC’s more than 19,000 tourism and hospitality businesses
  2. Work with the tourism industry and municipal partners to support the development and growth of regional tourism hubs across BC
  3. Support hospitality businesses by permanently allowing liquor delivery with takeout, wholesale pricing from any liquor store, and streamlined approval of patio and outdoor dining
  4. Review ferry schedules with a goal of hourly service on high-frequency routes
  5. Eliminate the Small Business Income Tax entirely
  6. Take action to address sky-high property tax assessments on small business by implementing split assessments
  7. Implement a short-term commercial-rent relief plan that flows relief directly to tenants and supports small businesses unable to access current relief programs.
  8. Assist small businesses in adopting COVID-19 protections by providing support for personal protective equipment from WorkSafeBC surpluses
  9. Double the number of provincial park campsites in areas with growing demand
  10. Eliminate the 7% PST for one year, and then set it at 3% the following year
BC Green Party

  1. Retool the grant relief program and immediately work with the tourism and hospitality industry to establish criteria that make sense
  2. Accelerate the timeline to ensure grant money can start to flow immediately
  3. Work with not-for-profit tourism businesses, cultural facilities and attractions to develop a separate granting program that will ensure these signature businesses can survive COVID-19
  4. Work with the federal government to establish a repayable loan program for the hospitality sector and for tourism operators that exceed the criteria for the small tourism operator grant program
  5. Make the expanded patio program permanent, working with local governments and stakeholders to ensure that patio expansions are maintained in a safe and sustainable way
  6. Allocate $300 million to create a 6-month rent subsidy program for small businesses
  7. Cover 25% of the rental costs for qualifying businesses, using the following criteria: a) small business limited to $50,000 in monthly rent costs; b) simple, accessible criteria developed to support access to program
  8. Enhance funding for B.C. Parks and the Conservation Officer Service to a level that will improve infrastructure and ensure that our natural ecosystems are not being degraded
  9. Create more campgrounds to meet demand, ensuring that the creation of more sites is commensurate with expanding overall park land and does not cut into existing protected areas
  10. Set sectoral targets to ensure industry is contributing their fair share to emissions reductions

There are many other promises by each party to be sure, but I’ll leave it to you to do further research to inform your decision on who deserves to govern our province through the pandemic period and for the next four years.
Professor Margaret Heffernan once said, “For good ideas and true innovation, you need human interaction, conflict, argument, debate.”
In many respects, that’s what elections are all about and why real debates are vital. At the same time, I look forward to later in the month when the campaign is behind us and the water cooler talk revolves around what steps our new provincial government should take to turn promises into actions, particularly for the reeling tourism and hospitality industry.
Walt Judas
TIABC In the News

BC Tourism Industry Looking to Keep Sector Front-and-Center During Provincial Election Campaign
The Tourism Industry Association has sent out an election tool kit to its members with a list of questions in hopes its members will ask candidates when they get the chance. Industry Association chief Walt Judas says the questions are designed to be non-partisan.
“It’s meant to flesh out the platforms of each of the respective parties relative to tourism and hospitality. And we think it needs to be part of the discussion in this campaign,” he explains.
Does Your Business Quality for the Recently Announced Small & Medium-sized Business Recovery Grant?

We are aware that some small and medium size tourism and hospitality businesses do not currently meet the criteria for BC's Small and Medium-Sized Business Recovery Grant. However, TIABC, along with our key industry partners, is providing direct feedback and recommendations to the Province to make the program easier and more efficient to access. 

If you are a tourism business owner interested in this grant but are not eligible, please email info@tiabc.ca with your company name and a brief summary of why you are ineligible.

Small and Medium-Sized Business Recovery Grant
Topline Eligibility Criteria:
  • The majority share of the business is owned by one or more BC residents
  • The business’s sole or primary operations are located in BC
  • Has been operating in BC for at least three years prior to March 10, 2020​
  • The business is registered in BC and pays taxes in BC
  • Employs between two and 149 people in BC for at least four months of the calendar year
  • Prior to COVID-19, had positive cash flow for the last financial statement
  • Experienced revenue loss of at least 70% during March 2020 and April 2020
  • Continue to earn 50% or less of pre-COVID revenue levels
  • The business is currently operating
  • Businesses not currently operating due to a provincial health order affecting their business or sector are not eligible for the program. Businesses that only operate seasonally but that are ready to open during the appropriate season (and meet all other eligibility criteria) are considered operating

See the program website for a full list of criteria:
Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) Update

TIAC has launched a broad, industry-developed 5-Point Recovery Plan that seeks sector-specific government support to ensure Canada has a tourism industry post-pandemic:
  1. Extending CEWS
  2. Making BCAP Work for Tourism
  3. Tourism Recovery Stimulus Fund
  4. Developing an Urban Centre Support Strategy
  5. Domestic Travel Incentive
Download the plan here or visit:
Did You Know?

Only 12% of tourism industry applicants who have applied to Canada's Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) have been approved. We need significant changes to this program if it will help our businesses survive and recover from COVID.

Please visit TourismCounts.ca to send a letter to your federal MP to support a specific recovery support plan for the tourism industry.
COVID-19 Impact and Recovery Report:
Business Events

Destination Canada has released its COVID-19 Impact and Recovery Report: Business Events report. This document provides an estimate of the impacts from COVID-19 on business events in Canada. It also provides analysis on sentiment towards business events from various sources, including relevant information on travel restrictions in Canada.

Key Highlights from the report:

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was poised to be a strong year with more than 2,200 business events occurring, representing more than 1.19 million delegates and $926.81 million in direct spending. Of those delegates, approximately 29% would have been from internationally-based organizations who were planning to hold business events in Canada 

The peak months for business events travel are typically April, May, June, September and October. April, May and June have had all business events cancelled and as a result of COVID-19 the remaining domestic conferences for Q4 are now highly at risk of being cancelled. 

Q4 of 2020 represents 23% of the total planned business events, including nearly 242,000 delegates, of which more than 34% were international delegates, a total of 82,000 international delegates (~51,000 US delegates and ~31,000 from other countries). 

Although formal cancellations have not yet been provided, Destination Canada assesses that all of the events scheduled for September and October are cancelled. 

The status for 229 events that had been planned for November to December 2020 is 55% have already cancelled. The remaining internationally based organizations (US and other countries) are likely taking a ‘wait and see’ approach. However, Destination Canada assesses that these international events are going to be cancelled due to gathering restrictions, potential border closures and uncertainty of air service. 

The remaining 87 Canadian events are also deemed to have a high risk of cancellation. We will have more clarity by the next report as hotel and venue negotiations are finalized. 

2021 is beginning to see cancellations across most months in the next year
Download the full report here
Research & Insights

International Visitor Arrivals July 2020
International visitor arrivals are currently limited to essential trips only as authorized by the Canada Border Services Agency. For July, just over 14,000 visitors arrived at BC ports of entry, a decrease of 98.5% from July 2019. 
Download the July report here or visit:
BC DMO Association Update

The BC Destination Marketing Organization Association (BCDMOA) held their Annual General Meeting on Tuesday, September 29th. The AGM was held virtually, with 27 members participating. 

Chair Nancy Small reflected on the challenges to community destination marketing and management organizations resulting from COVID-19, as well as the achievements of the BCDMOA in the past 12 months that includes the launch of the organization’s website, a survey to the membership identifying the diversity of BC’s DMO structure and governance, and the appointment of the BCDMOA Chair representing DMO’s on the recently formed provincial tourism industry Task Force.
Elected to the 2020/2021 Board of Directors are; Nancy Small, Tourism Richmond (Chair), Blain Sepos, Parksville/Qualicum Beach Tourism Association (Past-Chair), Craig Nichols, Tourism Abbotsford (Treasurer), Gladys Atrill, Tourism Smithers, Dianna Ducs, Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism, Barrett Fisher, Tourism Whistler, Jikke Gyorki, Tourism Fernie, Tracey McBride, Tourism Prince George, Denise Stys-Norman, Tourism Ucluelet, Amy Thacker, Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association, and Thom Tischik, Travel Penticton.

For further information about the BCDMOA, contact secretariat@tiabc.ca or visit their website at www.bcdmoa.ca
Attention Tourism Businesses in the Kootenay Rockies Tourism Region

'How-To Workshops' for Shoulder Season and Culinary Tourism Industry Operators - No Cost to Attend.

The Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) has engaged TIABC and its provincial/territorial counterparts to help launch a pan-Canadian, capacity-building workshop series to support SMEs’ in rural and secondary markets. Originally designed to help bolster Canada’s tourism expansion in potential growth areas, the COVID-19 global health pandemic has drastically changed the tourism landscape in Canada. In response, TIAC has pivoted the design of the workshops to reflect the new tourism reality for most operators.

These workshops will now assist small and medium tourism operators and other tourism organizations across the country in developing strategies to maintain their businesses, and develop winter and shoulder season and culinary experiences.

Canada has much to offer visitors in all seasons - not just the summer months - and in regions beyond our gateway cities. Canada also holds all the ingredients to be a global culinary destination but is not currently recognized as a culinary tourism leader. These workshops will be tailored for tourism operators in the winter and shoulder seasons and in the culinary sector, so that they are ready and able to attract visitors once Canada is ready to welcome them again.

Workshops for the Kootenay Rockies region will be taking place Wednesday, October 21st & Thursday, October 22nd. These sessions offer capacity building content and strategy development, with a focus on:
  • Support for rural and secondary market tourism: Currently, only three provinces and their largest cities are the primary destination for the vast majority of visitors coming to Canada.
  • Support for winter and shoulder season development: Despite Canada being known for its winters, only 1% of activities are winter-based, which creates challenges for tourism operators trying to optimize the use of talent and capital investments.
  • Support for culinary tourism development: Approximately one fifth of spending by international travellers in Canada is on food and beverage. By increasing visitor demand for local food and drink, food tourism contributes to the long-term sustainability of local agriculture, food systems, communities and culture.
  • With a variety of ongoing and shifting travel restrictions, there is opportunity to attract domestic travellers to destinations outside of the major urban centres - and to expand marketing to international travellers as soon as it is safe to do so.

Registration is now open until Oct 21, 2020 - Register HERE

For additional information on the benefits of the workshops, please visit: 
In Case You Missed it...
BC Election Toolkit 2020

TIABC, ABLE BC, BCHA and Restaurants Canada are among the largest tourism and hospitality sector associations in British Columbia, representing hundreds of thousands of employees and businesses throughout the province.

Together with our partners and stakeholders, we have been working with all levels of government, particularly at the provincial level, to address the enormous challenges our sector has faced since the start of the COVID-19 crisis.

With the unexpected variable of a provincial election in the middle of a pandemic, our individual and collective efforts become even more important. Informing, educating and questioning candidates of all parties on the issues and needs of the tourism and hospitality industry is paramount to government decisions on recovery efforts post-election.

This Election Toolkit is your guide to ensure our sector's voice is both heard and understood by those running for office, and that each party is prepared to address the issues and opportunities to help tourism and hospitality rebound in the months and years ahead.

Download the Election Toolkit here or on our website at:
Some Good News!

Feel like reading some good news for a change? Then check out TOTA's The Good News(letter)- remarkable stories of resiliency, innovation and community. The October 9th issue features

Maeghan and Jared Summers are the proud owners and operators of the Noble Pig Brewhouse and its sister property, Forno on 5th, both located in Kamloops.
Hospitality & Tourism Business Recovery and Financing: Strategic and Tactical Decision-Making

Join the Tourism and Hospitality Resource Forum of Royal Roads University, online on October 22nd at 1 pm for their next panel discussion, Hospitality & Tourism Business Recovery and Financing: Strategic and Tactical Decision-Making.

The COVID-19 situation has substantially changed the market for hospitality and tourism industry business owners and operators. Significant adjustments to their operations have been necessary to remain open and traditional markets have declined in most instances. Even with support measures in place by Government, the financial pressures faced by many businesses are acute. Our panel discussion will focus on the financial challenges at this time and the strategic and tactical decisions that small, medium and large hospitality and tourism industry owners and operators may face with a focus on business recovery and financial stability. 

For discussion:
  • The impacts businesses are currently facing and in particular possible financial pressures and the relationships with lenders and investors when experiencing significant revenue declines. 
  • The tactics that owners and operators can deploy now in their relationships with creditors and investors and the strategic decisions in the business recovery process 
  • If a business is facing potential insolvency or is contemplating closure, what are some of the key considerations? 

Gary D. Powroznik, FCA, CIRP, LIT is the Founder and Managing Director of G-Force Group.– Focusing on the strategic and tactical decisions that businesses may face in distress situations and the options that may be available to them.

Ralph R. Miller, CPA, CA, CBV, CHA, CHAE, President Inntegrated Hospitality Management Ltd. – Focusing on the operating challenges in the hospitality industry and the various measures that may be necessary to maintain market and financial stability.

Moderated by Steve Kleinschmidt, RRU associate faculty, Past Vice-Chairman Asset Management, and President of the Marco Polo Hotel Group.

Details for joining the Panel:

This panel is an initiative of the Tourism and Hospitality Resource Forum of Royal Roads University, a volunteer initiative to support BC's tourism industry. For more information on joining the Resource Forum for free or about this event, please contact Geoff Bird at geoff.2bird@royalroads.ca
Tourism & Hospitality in a Time of COVID

Hosted by the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade
November 2nd, noon.

The economic rebound of British Columbia hinges on the recovery of critical economic sectors such as tourism and hospitality.

Prior to the pandemic, tourism contributed $8.3 billion to provincial GDP and employed more than 160,000 people. For our region and province to recover, it is essential that government provide support measures to help the industry overcome and rebuild from the devastating impacts of COVID-19.

The keynote speaker and panellists will discuss the short- and long-term measures, programs and priorities that will help tourism-reliant businesses survive today and transform our region for the future.
October 21

TIAC Congress (virtual, free event)
November 17 & 18

November 25
TIABC's C-19 Bulletin is published every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

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.