Destination BC Bulletin: COVID-19

Updates on COVID-19

In an effort to keep industry informed on the fast-moving COVID-19 situation, Destination BC will be sending out regular bulletins in place of the monthly Directions emails for the foreseeable future. Please encourage your network to subscribe to our newsletter, and feel free to forward these emails to your colleagues and friends.

Destination BC’s COVID-19 Response

In collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, and with the leadership of Minister Lisa Beare, Destination BC has taken immediate steps to address the severe global conditions affecting local tourism. It is our goal to support industry as much as we can and provide the strongest possible outcomes for our industry once this crisis is over.

Given the extraordinary circumstances we’re experiencing across the globe in the face of COVID-19, promoting travel at this time is just not possible. We have paused all of our paid international and domestic marketing campaigns, and are actively planning a significant recovery campaign to bolster travel, tourism, and hospitality in three phases.

The three-phase approach for tourism will be implemented once circumstances change and public safety is assured. The three phases are:

  • Response
  • Recovery
  • Resilience

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Key Resource: Destination BC’s Website

We are here to support you and will continue to work with provincial and federal partners, industry partners, stakeholders, and Health Authorities to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on BC and its tourism sector. As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve here in BC, Canada, and around the world, we are working hard to provide industry with real-time updates, principally through our daily-, sometimes hourly-, updated webpage. Here you will find the current risk assessment in BC, the provincial and national response, links to reliable health resources, updates from industry partners, new developments as they relate to BC tourism, and advice on how you can support your staff during this difficult time.

Go to destinationbc.ca/news/coronavirus-update/ for more, and check back often for updates.

Latest Federal and Provincial Announcements

March 18

March 16

  • The Prime Minister announced new actions under Canada’s COVID-19 Response, including denying entry to travelers who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
  • The BC government announced new measures as part of the provincial response to the containment of COVID-19, including prohibiting events larger than 50 people.

Financial Support/Relief for Businesses

British Columbians are facing financial hardship, with employers and employees across the province affected by the downturn in business caused by COVID-19. To mitigate the impacts on individuals, businesses, and our economy, a host of resources and funding are now available.

Federal support for employers and employees announced on March 18 as part of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, includes:

  • A new Business Credit Availability Program (available through Export Development Canada and the Business Development Bank of Canada)
  • Canada Revenue Agency tax deferral payments
  • A 10% wage subsidy for small businesses
  • Emergency Care Benefit
  • Introducing an Emergency Support Benefit
  • Extending the tax filing deadline

As part of Employment and Social Development Canada, special measures have been applied to:

  •  The Work-Sharing Program
  • Employment Insurance (EI)

Other support includes:

Tourism Emergency Management Committee

Working together with the goal of supporting tourism operators to make informed decisions on guiding remaining visitors, staff, and other stakeholders through this challenging time, the Tourism Emergency Management Committee (TEMC) includes the Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture, TIABC, Destination BC, BCDMO Association, Emergency Management BC, the RDMO Secretariat, and Indigenous Tourism BC.

Many actions identified during committee meetings are in the process of being implemented and we are exploring ways to access resources or special dispensation to assist tourism operators in the immediate, short-, and long-term. Members of the TEMC are in constant conversations with government officials to inform them of the present and potential impacts of COVID-19 on BC’s visitor economy.

Destination BC’s Meetings/Events Policy

Given the current circumstances of the global COVID-19 situation, Destination BC has made the decision to cancel or postpone all non-essential travel, events, and business meetings. This decision aligns with the Provincial Health Officer’s advice regarding virus containment and social distancing. Our team will work with you to either continue the meeting by phone or online platforms, or rebook in-person events at a later time. We know this is a difficult time for our industry, and we are here to support you.

Weekly Industry Calls

Destination BC will be holding weekly calls each Thursday afternoon with cross-provincial industry partners. During these calls, we are sharing facts, trends, data from research and analytics, and updates from sectors. These calls are a great opportunity to hear more about what we know, including our plans to support industry. Please email covid19response@destinationbc.ca to participate. The calls will be recorded and made available via our COVID-19 page.

FAQ Resource for BC Tourism Businesses

We are working hard with partners and official sources, including the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, and BC’s Ministry of Health, to gather information to respond to the questions and concerns being voiced by industry.

FAQs will be posted on our website and promoted through our corporate Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.

If you have questions that cannot be answered through the various resources on our website and official channels, please send them to covid19response@destinationbc.ca and we will work with partners to address them.

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