Resorts across the province, including Revelstoke Mountain Resort, have been temporarily shut down due to COVID-19 concerns. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)

Tourism industry advocate calls for emergency fund in wake of COVID-19 cancellations

Claims losses amount to hundreds of millions of dollars already

The Tourism Industry Association of B.C. is calling for government intervention to prevent a collapse of the visitor economy as a result of COVID-19.

With massive travel cancellations that include flights, hotel bookings, conferences, events, and closures to resorts such as Whistler-Blackcomb, Silver Star, Revelstoke Mountain Resort and others, losses amount to hundreds of millions of dollars already and will soon represent billions of dollars unless senior governments provide some form of financial relief to help businesses survive, said a news release from the association.

READ MORE: Canada to close borders to most foreigners, but not to U.S., to slow spread of COVID-19

“We know that many businesses have already cut staff with more layoffs expected this week,” said Alroy Chan, chair of the association. “While some tourism operators have cash reserves to remain open for the time being, it won’t be long before they close down permanently. Others are shuttering their businesses immediately. It’s a dire situation until we receive some help from senior levels of government.”

READ MORE: Revelstoke Mountain Resort closing due to COVID-19 fears

The association is looking to senior levels of government to establish an emergency tourism contingency fund to help operators mitigate the impact of the crisis. It also calling for other measures to help businesses, such as temporarily suspending land tenure fees and employer health taxes, as well as providing loan payment relief.

The association is also recommending that the federal government waive the seven-day waiting period to collect employment insurance for temporarily laid-off employees and extending the temporary lay-off maximum beyond 13 weeks.

READ MORE: Study says few workers have paid leave, qualify for EI if off job due to COVID-19

Tourism in British Columbia generates upwards of $19 billion in revenues annually through more than 19,000 (small) businesses that employ over 330,000 people. The industry has enjoyed record-setting growth in recent years and has become the province’s third-largest business sector.


 

@RevelstokeRevue
editor@revelstoketimesreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusTourism

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cougar caught on camera in Lake Country

A Lake Country resident caught a cougar prowling near their home

Province responds to City of Revelstoke’s food security motion

The city and Union of BC Municipalities put forward the motion last year

COVID-19: Revelstoke students describe life during pandemic

Most wonder what the future will be like

YMCA Okanagan offers care for children of essential service workers

Priority will be given to children aged 5 to 12 years old

COVID-19: How Revelstoke schools are tackling the virtual classroom

Technolgy is offering students choices in learning

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

Smiles, honks and waves as teachers stage parade for their students

Classrooms are closed, but kids and teachers manage to connect

B.C. sorting medical equipment sales, donation offers for COVID-19

Supply hub has call out for masks, gowns, coronavirus swabs

Summerland winery sold for $5.2 million

Property overlooking Okanagan Lake was on the market 160 days

B.C. records five more deaths due to COVID-19, 45 new cases

A total of 838 people have recovered from the virus

Easter Bunny added to B.C.’s list of essential workers

Premier John Horgan authorizes bunny to spread “eggs-ellent cheer” throughout province

Travellers returning to B.C. must have self-isolation plan or face quarantine: Horgan

Premier John Horgan says forms must be filled out by travellers

Major crimes investigating sudden death of North Okanagan child

The 8 year old was flown to Kelowna General Hospital and died hours later

More than 400 animals have been adopted amid pandemic: B.C. SPCA

People are taking this time of social distancing to find a loyal companion through the animal welfare group

Most Read