Valid Accommodation providers and tourism operators holding tenure and BC Parks permits will now be able to access grants to alleviate the fixed cost pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
British Columbia’s tourism industry continues to be hit hard by the pandemic. “From day one, our government has worked alongside industry leaders on recovery initiatives so that the industry comes back stronger than ever,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sports. “This grant was a call to action by the Tourism Task Force to support these companies with their bottom line and ensure their ability to thrive.”
Up to $15 million will be made available through the Tourist Accommodation and Commercial Recreation Relief Fund through three streams: one for providers of large, senior-owned accommodations that employ more than 150 people; the second for large, indigenously owned residential properties that employ more than 100 people and are located on the reserve; The third is for tenure permit holders and BC parks that operate as tour operators.
“British Columbians have suffered years of devastating losses as they struggle to meet the demands of rising fixed costs,” said Ingrid Garrett, president and CEO of the British Columbia Hotel Association. “I would like to commend the leadership, hard work and commitment that Minister Mark has shown to support the accommodation sector in British Columbia and make the Leisure and Tourist Accommodation Relief Fund a reality. We are grateful that this funding will help alleviate the hardships faced by the major accommodation providers and better position our industry in the recovery.” .
The Tourist Accommodation and Recreational Business Relief Grants will help offset the fixed costs of eligible large accommodation operators with property taxes and water charges for Indigenous-owned lodgings or assist tour companies operating on Crown Lands and in BC Parks with tenure and park permit fees incurred in 2021.
“B.C. Indigenous Tourism continues to focus our work on supporting the Aboriginal tourism business to stay operational during these trying times,” said Brenda Baptiste, President of Indigenous Tours of British Columbia. “We value and value the cooperation and partnerships we establish with the industry and the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sports.”
“On behalf of adventure tourism operators who have tenure or park use permits, Relief Through Tourist Accommodation and the Leisure Business Relief Fund will help those operators operating in remote areas of British Columbia,” said Catherine McCray, Executive Director. Bear Watching Trade Association and co-chair of the Adventure Tourism Alliance. “Possession and permits are part of our operating costs, and we appreciate mitigating these costs as we look to further recovery in 2022 for BC’s super natural adventure tourism.”
Providing financial support for fixed costs was identified by the Tourism Task Force Final Report as a recommendation for companies most affected by public health measures restricting travel and pooling groups. These trusses are intended to help ensure the viability of these businesses through the winter and spring of 2022.
This grant is another measure provided by the province to the tourism sector and is dependent on other forms of support through the 2020-2021 budget, which include:
* The Small and Medium Business Recovery Program, which has supported nearly 8,200 tour operators with fewer than 149 employees, and which has received more than $214 million in grant funding;
* $36.8 million, provided to more than 80 major attractions and tour bus operators through the BC Major Anchor Attractions Program;
* The Fairs, Festivals and Events Recovery Fund, which has provided nearly $30 million in support of local events, supporting 680 fairs, festivals and events in 134 communities across British Columbia;
* $53 million in community tourism infrastructure and destination development, which was invested to help BC tourism recover, create jobs and spur economic development; And
* $8 million in relief funding through Indigenous Tourism in British Columbia, which is earmarked for Aboriginal tourism businesses, one of the fastest growing sectors of the industry.
* Eligible large accommodation providers can receive up to 25% of property taxes up to a maximum of $500,000 in the first stream;
* In Track Two, applicants of eligible large Indigenous-owned accommodations on the reservation can receive 100% of the BC Hydro fee, up to a maximum of $200,000. Major providers of accommodation include hotels, motels, resorts, and hostels, including tiered hotels.
* Eligible commercial recreation businesses can obtain 100% of eligible tenure passes or park use permits under Route III, up to a maximum of $200,000.
*Tourist business with tenure under the Lands Act or permits under the Parks Act includes businesses such as wildlife watching, fishing, hunting, mountain climbing, horseback riding, off-road vehicle tours, white water rafting, and heli-skiing; small destination resorts such as guest farms or ecotourism lodges; Camping yards and outdoor amusement parks offering activities such as waterslides and ziplining.
Application is open from January 14 to February 14, 2022. Eligibility criteria and application information can be found online: www.gov.bc.ca/accommodation-