Tourism sector groups say they appreciate provincial government support but funds from 2021 budget may not be enough

Budget funds not enough?

Tourism-related investments announced as part of the province’s 2021 budget are welcomed by the industry, but these measures may not be enough to save some businesses, according to the BC Hotel Association.

In a statement, the BCHA said sector groups including the Tourism Industry Association of BC, the Association of Beverage Licensees and Restaurants Canada “acknowledge and appreciate” the government commitment to support tourism recovery.

“At the same time, access to further recovery contingencies the province budgeted will be needed to help countless businesses hanging on by a thread,” the BCHA said.

In a statement, the BCHA said it’s estimated that tourism revenues have declined by over 70 per cent.

The 2021 budget, announced Tuesday, allocates $195 million to continue the small and medium sized business recovery grant program, $100 million to support tourism recovery, and $20 million has been earmarked for community destination development grants.

In addition, $83 million will be spent over three years for BC Parks to expand and improve trails, campsites, trails and backcountry infrastructure.

In a statement, Walt Judas, Tourism Industry Association of BC’s CEO, said the new money is appreciated, but they recognize some tourism businesses might not survive without more support.

“We will continue to advocate for further relief to access the unanticipated recovery measures that the Province committed to for situations such as the impending travel ban and ongoing border closures that have left our industry in a desperate state,” Judas said.

Jeff Guignard, executive director for ABLE BC, said in a statement this year’s budget shows the government is serious about supporting the business community.

“We are enormously appreciative of this quick action, but let’s be clear: B.C.’s hospitality sector is facing an existential crisis,” Guignard said.

“We will need significantly more support in the months and years ahead to avoid massive bankruptcies and job losses while we struggle to get back on our feet.”

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