VICTORIA, B.C. – Non-essential travel restrictions has caused the tourism industry in the province to struggle to navigate the provincial and federal supports in place and figure out how they can be applied to small, seasonal businesses.
Cheryl Macarthy and Dave Jorgenson own the Frog on the Bog gift shop and guest accommodation properties in the town of Wells and have felt the impact on their businesses immediately.
Macarthy and Jorgenson have been using the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast (CCC) Tourism Resiliency Program and have found the experience to be a very positive one. Even though Macarthy and Jorgenson felt isolated at the start of the pandemic, through this program they have access to one-on-one support with a program advisor from the CCC. With the help of the CCC, they were able to stay informed on what government aid was available to them, along with access to tool kits, research, training, and COVID-19 reopening protocols. These resources were a big help in their successful application for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.
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“The gift store has a strong, local reputation as a must-visit retail attraction, so we have some confidence that we will survive through our tremendous regional support,” Jorgenson said.
Since the store has reopened, they’re ramping up purchasing products from regional and local artists and artisans to help support their community.
The BC Tourism Resiliency Network is available to help support the 19, 000 tourism-related businesses in the province and is delivered through BC’s regional destination management organizations. This network was supported through an additional $600, 000 from the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture. These organizations have extensive knowledge of the tourism sector and the local challenges as well as strong relationships with tourism operators.
To date, over 1,192 tourism businesses have registered for the BC Tourism Resiliency Network, and more register each week. In 2018, tourism generated $20.5 billion in revenues for the Province. The tourism industry also helps to create jobs for over 161, 500 residents of the province.
For more information or to register you can visit the BC Tourism Resiliency Network.