C-19 BULLETIN - September 18, 2020

_______________________________________________________________
Summary of Yesterday's Recovery Package Announcement & Industry's Response

In TIABC's Special Edition C-19 Bulletin yesterday, we provided an update on the government's announcement of the new Stronger BC for Everyone: BC’s Economic Recovery Plan.

Learn more online at: strongerbc.gov.bc.ca

Read the government media release at:

View the government backgrounder here.

View the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Fact Sheet here

View media release from TIABC and our industry sector partners (ABLE BC, the BC Hotel Association, Restaurants Canada, the Adventure Tourism Coalition, the Greater Victoria Tourism Rescue and Recovery Task Force, and the Metro Vancouver Tourism and Hospitality Response and Recovery Task Force) here

Missed yesterday's Special Edition of our C-19 Bulletin? View it here
_______________________________________________________________
Industry Leaders, Experts
Named to Provincial Tourism Task Force

Ten business and industry leaders have been appointed to a new task force focused on reigniting B.C.’s tourism sector and enhancing its long-term competitiveness.

Members of the Tourism Task Force have varied backgrounds including business, labour and the not-for-profit sector. The groups will seek innovative and creative ideas from stakeholders, experts and the public about how to help B.C.’s tourism industry recover in the short, medium and long term. The group will also solicit input on how the industry can become more sustainable in the future. A final report will be presented to the minister by Dec. 31, 2020.

Tourism Task Force members include:
  • Tamara Vrooman, president and CEO, Vancouver International Airport (chair);
  • Walt Judas, CEO, Tourism Industry Association of BC;
  • Brenda Baptiste, chair, Indigenous Tourism BC;
  • Nancy Small, chair, BC Destination Management Organization Association, Tourism Richmond;
  • Ingrid Jarrett, president and CEO, BC Hotel Association;
  • Rod Harris, adjunct professor, Royal Roads University;
  • Glenn Mandziuk, vice-chair, Minister’s Tourism Engagement Council, and president and CEO, ‎Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association;
  • Richard Porges, interim president and CEO, Destination BC
  • Amy Thacker, chair, BC Tourism Regional Secretariat, and CEO, Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association; and
  • a representative from the Labour sector, to be named.

The Province is allocating $50 million in the Economic Recovery Plan to implement new measures that result from the Tourism Task Force’s work.
_______________________________________________________________
Rent Relief Coming for (eligible) Outdoor Adventure Operators

The Province is stepping up to help eligible outdoor adventure businesses, fishing and hunting lodges, guest ranches, ecotourism lodges, seasonal campgrounds and other commercial recreation operators during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Holders of Land Act tenures and Park Act permits that are commercial recreation operators may qualify to have the annual base rent they pay to the government waived for one year. About $1.36 million has been earmarked for rent forgiveness, which benefits 592 Land Act tenure holders and 443 Park Act permit holders.

Many commercial recreation operators in backcountry areas of Crown land have continued to be significantly impacted by travel restrictions and other factors during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Patio, Service Area Expansions, Sale & Delivery of Packaged Liquor Extended

The Province is extending temporary measures to support the restaurant and hospitality sector.

The extensions allow for expanded service areas, such as patios, and for the sale and delivery of unopened liquor products with the purchase of a meal by food and liquor-primary licensees.
In May, the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) began permitting food-primary, liquor-primary and manufacturer licensees such as wineries, breweries and distilleries to apply for a Temporary Expanded Service Area (TESA) authorization through an expedited, no fee, online process.

All TESA authorizations were originally set to expire on Oct. 31st. However, the Province has made amendments allowing for their extension to Oct. 31, 2021.

Translink, BC Transit and BC Ferries to Receive Funding Relief

The Safe Restart Agreement will see TransLink, BC Transit and BC Ferries receive one-time operating funding relief. This will protect service levels across the province and ensure services remain affordable as part of BC’s Restart Plan. TransLink will receive $644 million, BC Transit will receive $86 million and BC Ferries will receive $308 million. Funding provided to BC Transit will be used to support municipal partners who receive fare revenue as part of the provincial-municipal partnership to deliver BC Transit services throughout the province.
_______________________________________________________________
New Public Health Order Released
for Hospitality Sector

More than a week after Dr. Henry issued verbal orders ending on-premise liquor sales at 10 pm, the written public order is finally available.

This public order is addressed to: restaurants, coffee shops, cafes, cafeterias, and food primary and liquor primary establishments, including pubs, bars, lounges, and nightclubs, liquor manufacturing facilities that have tasting rooms, lounges, and private clubs.

This order does not apply to events as defined in the Gatherings and Events order, or to meetings or conferences held in hotels or anywhere else.

This order repeals and replaces the order made on July 31, 2020 and confirms Dr. Henry's oral order on September 8, 2020, with respect to nightclubs, liquor sales, and sound.

For the full list of conditions, including physical distancing, background music, contact tracing, and seating requirements, please read the public order.
_______________________________________________________________
An Excerpt on Tourism from Yesterday's Government Announcement

During yesterday's Government Announcement about the new Economic Recovery Plan, reporters asked both Minister James and Premier Horgan questions about plans to support the tourism industry. Below are two excerpts:

Reporter: In terms of the tourism plan, the industry had asked for a lot more money than what seems to be in this document. Can you tell us about why that decision was made because it's quite far from what they were asking for?

Minister James: As you can imagine there were requests from, I think probably every group in British Columbia around resources. But we know how critical tourism is; the premier and I -- I represent Victoria, the premier is also in the region -- know firsthand the challenges facing the tourism industry. But we also know that this is a long-term issue that is going to have to be addressed so we have put supports in place in tourism for one, a task force as the tourism industry requested, to bring together leaders to look at both short-term and long-term plans.

Tourist operators also requested that they see grants, not another loan. Many of them have applied for loan programs through the federal government; they've asked for a grant program and we've got that in place. The Small Business Grant Program will apply to tourism and has a top-up so tourist operators will get a top-up of $10,000 on those grants.

We're also providing supports for marketing, for businesses themselves both from a provincial point of view, a regional point of view and local communities so there are opportunities for local communities hard hit by the tourism drop to be able to actually apply for grants to look at how they both expand tourism opportunities, but how they also improve the kind of infrastructure they have in their communities. It's a very comprehensive approach and more to come -- because of the work the task force is going to do, we will have a chance to build things into Budget 2021 as well.

Reporter: In the same harbour as the Coho ferry is the Prince of Whales whale watching, and I know that they were hoping for more money. They're upset that they're not getting more, and they're probably one of many businesses in the tourism industry that are upset. I know there's the $300 million for small and medium businesses as well that adds to the hundred million, but what would you say to these businesses, some of which may not make it through the winter because they're not getting enough support in the tourism industry?

Premier Horgan: Well, I would say that we have been working with the federal government since the beginning of the pandemic to try and fill gaps. I refer back to my response to the notion of not enough people coming to Vancouver Island, to B.C., to enjoy the extraordinary vistas, the attractions, the destinations. That's been a critical challenge, not just for whale watching in our community, but for attractions and destinations across B.C. This is tough, tough times for that sector. We've put in place programs that will help get them through the next short while, and we'll continue to work with them through the task force to make sure that we've got budget 2021 locked down, to continue to assist until we can find a time where we can welcome people from around the world to come back to BC and enjoy the many attractions and destinations that we have here.
_______________________________________________________________
Government Announcement
Generates Media Coverage for Tourism

'A far cry from what is needed': B.C. tourism businesses react to new funding
If we are going to bring tourism back, if we’re going to generate the kind of revenues we have in years past, we have to have those businesses around,” said president Walt Judas.

B.C.'s COVID-19 economic recovery plan includes $660M in business tax incentives
"As the premier said, it's a good start," said Walt Judas, CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of B.C

Industry worries how B.C. hotels will survive despite loans, grants for hospitality sector
It’s a very good start. We appreciate that the Province recognized the needs of the tourism and hospitality sector with specific measures to help address major challenges including liquidity,” says Walt Judas of the Tourism Industry Association of BC.

Province’s $1.5 billion pitch falls short on the immediate needs of many small businesses, says Canadian Federation of Independent Business
Tourism Industry Association of British Columbia CEO Walt Judas sounded a stone of appreciation while being clear that more support is needed. 
“It’s a very good start," he said. "We appreciate that the province recognized the needs of the tourism and hospitality sector with specific measures to help address major challenges including liquidity. We are also counting on additional funding to help our industry as part of Budget 2021.”

The fall of 2020 will entail a sustained media relations effort by TIABC
to tell the tourism industry story and respond to government announcements.
_______________________________________________________________
Industry Requests Extension to Federal Support Programs

TIABC and the Metro Vancouver Tourism and Hospitality Response and Recovery Task Force have written to Minister Joly regarding federal support programs.

The letter outlines the request for further extension of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program, as well as a revised version of the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program, and a second intake of the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) program to help tourism and hospitality businesses remain solvent and work toward recovery.

Download the letter here.

All of TIABC's COVID-19 correspondence, submissions, and government responses can be viewed on our website at: 
_______________________________________________________________
Advocacy Partners at the National Level
Launch Coalition of Hardest Hit Businesses Campaign

Yesterday was the official launched the Coalition of Hardest Hit Businesses. The coalition microsite is now live, alongside an open letter to Minister Freeland, a send a letter tool, and pre-written social media content.
 
Television cameras from Global, CBC, and CPAC, as well as the Globe and Mail joined a press conference in Ottawa, while a group of 30 journalists from across the country participated in a virtual press conference.
 
Next, the Coalition is stressing the need thousands of letters sent to Members of Parliament - every coalition member is needed to help make this possible.
 
Please visit www.hardesthit.ca to send your letter and amplify this message on social media through your networks. The Government does respond to public opinion and everyone has a part to play in building that pressure.
_______________________________________________________________
Big Changes in Government
What Does This Mean for National Advocacy Efforts?

In ‘normal’ times, it would be unusual for our federal Members of Parliament to not be meeting regularly in Ottawa at this time of year. However, as the country is still struggling with the impacts of COVID-19, we have become accustomed to a constant stream of announcements and efforts from Ottawa, with nearly daily announcements on a new or improved initiative to help stabilize the economy. 

With the government prorogued for nearly 6 weeks, the governing Liberals have essentially hit the pause button on the government. However, this doesn’t mean that there is not a lot going on behind the scenes. The Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) and other sector organizations, continue to push the message to the federal government and opposition parties that #TourismCounts.

_______________________________________________________________
COVID-19's Impact on National Tourism Numbers

For international arrivals, June results from Statistics Canada show more of the same – a 98% decrease in visitors over last June, and overall visitation to Canada this year is down 72% for the year. Numbers are expected to remain at these levels until border restrictions ease.

Better numbers can be seen in tourism employment. Bolstered by further easing of COVID-19 related restrictions in areas across the country and more domestic vacationing in the summer months, employment in tourism sectors increased by about 200,000 jobs. However, employment levels are still far below what would be considered ‘normal’ levels.

Visitor spending for the first quarter of 2020 is available through Statistics Canada, and shows the early impacts of the pandemic on the sector, with total spending (both domestic and exports) down 14% over 2019.

_______________________________________________________________
BC Weekly Domestic Overnight
Visitor Insights

Note: British Columbia declared a provincial state of emergency on Wednesday, March 18th.

The week of April 19 (Week 11) saw the largest drop in domestic Overnight Visitors in British Columbia, dropping 81% from the previous year. Findings are consistent across all BC Subregions.

The Week of September 6th saw the highest number of Domestic Overnight Visitation in British Columbia since the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic, increasing by 2.6% compared to the same week in 2019.

While Overnight travel is significantly down compared to 2019, an upward trend in movement and overnight stays on a week-over-week basis was apparent during Weeks 12, 13, 14, 16, 17, 18, 20, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 31.

All of the BC Regions saw a decrease in visitation from Week 31 (August 31 September 6) to Week 32 (September 7-13), with the exception of the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast, which saw an increase.

The Cariboo Chilcotin Coast, Kootenay Rockies and Northern BC saw an increase in visitation
compared to British Columbia, the Thompson Okanagan, Vancouver Island and Vancouver, Coast
& Mountains saw a decrease during Week 32 (September 7-13).

Download the full report here
_______________________________________________________________
Update from
Grayline Westcoast Sightseeing

With much thought and consideration Gray Line Westcoast Sightseeing has made the difficult decision to pause Hop-On, Hop-Off Tours starting September 17th and all guided tours on September 24th, for the remainder of 2020.

We were only operating a few days per week, but the volumes are low and not going to get any better at this point in the season. After discussions with our hotel partners and other customers, it no longer made sense to continue. We will be taking the fall/winter months to strategize and plan exciting tours and experiences for Spring 2021.

Vancouver is resilient and we will focus on our strengths and expertise
to be a strong presence in our versatile tourism industry.

Our Call Centre will be closed effective October 2nd and voicemail and emails will still be monitored and answered. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us at 604-451-1600 or reservations@glwcs.com.

We are extremely grateful and thankful for the support we have received during these very unique summer months. Stay safe and we will see you in 2021!
_________________________________________________________________
Manage your Online Presence: Tripadvisor and HelloBC.com
September 30th and January 13th
Walk through the process step-by-step to claim, create, and optimize your business listings on Tripadvisor and HelloBC.com. 

Get Your Local Business on Google Search and Maps
October 7th and January 20th
Explore Google My Business and connect with customers through Google Search and Maps. Get hands-on help creating or updating your business profile in this Grow with Google Webinar. 

Get the Most Out of Your Website
October 14the and January 27th
Whether you’ve had a website for 10 years or you’re just getting started, discover how to create a search-friendly website that drives user action and supports your goals. 
_________________________________________________________________
October 2nd

October 7th
(call for Board Nominations open until September 11th)

CCCTA/TOTA AGM & Conference
October 26th-27th

September 21st-25th

November 17th-18th
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.