Guide Outfitters struggling due to COVID-19 and closed borders

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SURREY, B.C.- Guide Outfitters Association of B.C. says it will be a rough year for Outfitters in B.C.

Scott Ellis, the executive director of the Guide Outfitters Association of British Columbia (GOABC) was on Moose Talks Friday to discuss the future of Guide Outfitters during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The Guide Outfitters Association of BC is a non-profit organization, established in 1996 that advocates for wildlife and the outfitting community. They offer guides for non-residents for big-game and freshwater angling.

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Ellis states that 93 percent of their clientele are international, some have been German, Scandinavian and a good share of clients come up from the United States. This means due to borders being closed from the current pandemic, this has been a difficult year for them.

There are 245 Outfitting businesses in the province, usually family operated with 3-5 employees. On average there are usually 2,500 employees working for the outfitters and around $191 million in GDP for the province.

This time of year is usually a big turn out to hunt black bears within the province. Usually, 2,200 clients will come into the province to hunt black bears with guides.

Ellis states that GOABC is looking to propose a pilot where clients can come into the province and self-quarantine on a mountain top, in a cabin, on a lake or river. The clients can be quarantining while also simultaneously doing their game hunt or activity. Ellis also states GOABC has been paying close attention to Iceland and how they are handling the pandemic and game outfitting. He also states that though the idea is just a pilot and they will do whatever the Provincial Health Officers want.

British Columbia actually offers 18 of the 30 North American big-game species.

Watch the full interview with GOABC below.

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