Midnight Musings from our CEO
Once again it has been a very challenging week for the entire world and we know, here in the Thompson Okanagan, it has been extremely difficult for all of our tourism industry, small and large.
Over the course of the past several days, our TOTA team together with members of the regional Community DMO’s, have reached out to you by phone to discuss the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on your business and to find out how you are personally coping through this time.
We appreciate your willingness to share your thoughts, questions, and concerns with our teams and want to ensure you that this collective information is being provided directly to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture as well as Destination BC.
In the coming weeks, we will continue to reach out to as many of you as possible, as well as circling back to some that we have already spoken with as the situation continues to change and unfold. If we have not yet contacted you and you would like to update us on your particular situation, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, with your name, business, and phone number and we will make sure to connect with you.
Things are moving and changing quickly, and we want to be able to assist you in getting the answers to the questions you have as quickly as possible. Please continue to reference our website and the Destination BC website.
Stay safe, stay heathy, be kind.
Glenn Mandziuk, TOTA President & CEO
This week’s message from our Minister of Tourism, Arts, and Culture – the Honourable Lisa Beare.
I want to start by thanking everyone who has provided feedback, offered support, and stayed engaged as we gather information about the impacts of COVID-19 to communities, businesses and people.
I continue to brief my Cabinet colleagues frequently and your feedback has helped me paint a fuller picture of the impacts of COVID-19 on the tourism sector. We are considering the needs of your communities at every stage of the planning process for mitigation, relief and eventually, recovery.
We are living through both a health crisis and an economic crisis, and I know people are worried about what the future holds. We have been working around the clock to protect people’s health, but we’ve also announced relief measures for businesses and people.
On March 18, the federal government announced a package for businesses and workers. These measures will offer some relief of the economic stress, but we know more will be needed. On March 23, the provincial government announced the B.C. COVID-19 Action Plan, which builds on the federal government’s strategy and represents our first step to provide relief to people and businesses in British Columbia.
The B.C. COVID-19 Action Plan has several measures that will offer some immediate relief to the tourism and hospitality sectors. These include delaying several tax filing and payment deadlines for personal income tax, EHT, PST, MRDT, motor fuel tax, and carbon tax.
Businesses will also benefit from government’s announced 50% cut in the provincial school property tax rate for commercial properties.
People who have had their income affected by the outbreak will soon be able to apply for the BC Emergency Benefit for Workers for a tax-free one-time payment of $1,000. That is in addition to the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit. As well, the federal government has introduced a temporary wage subsidy up to 75% and is providing additional business financing support through its Business Credit Availability Program.
For more information about supports for businesses and workers, click here.
As the tourism, hospitality and culture sectors are amongst the hardest-hit by this pandemic, we are working on sector-specific supports to help you come back strong in the future. I will be sharing more details about this in the coming weeks.
Tourism is one of the most resilient industries in B.C. I’ve seen you overcome great challenges like wildfires and floods. Your leadership and your swift response to this unprecedented situation is a sign of your strength and it gives me confidence that, together, we will get through this and welcome the world once again to beautiful B.C.
Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, responsible for Sport