Tourism Sun Peaks supports task force funding request

Provincial tourism task force has called for creation of a $95 million Emergency Fund for Tourism

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Tourism Sun Peaks (TSP) is throwing its support behind the recommendations of the provincial tourism task force appointed in September of last year, noting the financial challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in for local businesses. 

“The need for additional financial support was clearly articulated,” said TSP president and chief executive officer Arlene Schieven in an email to SPIN. “The tourism industry has been extremely hard hit by the pandemic and there are many operators who need support but who did not meet the criteria for the previous programs.” 

Among the recommendations included in the 27-page report released in early December is for the province to double the $50-million it set aside for the tourism industry in September, and for this money to be used for the creation of a $95 million Emergency Fund for Tourism (made of new and existing funding), as well as a $5 million fund specifically for Indigenous businesses.

Schieven noted current travel recommendations have had a negative impact on the local tourism industry. 

“The peak holiday season is an extremely important time for Sun Peaks businesses,” she said.  

“This year will look very different and we anticipate that business levels will be half of what they would normally be at this time of year.” 

Looking forward, the report stated it’s unlikely that significant demand for tourism will return before 2022 and it will take even longer for revenues and employment to return to pre-COVID levels. 

The report also includes a number of recommendations, including the development of a safety certificate program and prioritizing innovative ways to lift travel restrictions. 

The tourism industry is thought to generate over $20.5 billion in revenue and employ some 160,000 people in B.C., according to the report. 

You can read the whole report here.