CANADA, January 14 – Eligible accommodation providers and tourism operators licensed and licensed by BC Parks will now have access to subsidies to ease fixed cost pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic .
“The tourism industry in British Columbia continues to be hard hit by the pandemic. Since day one, our government has worked side-by-side with industry leaders on recovery initiatives so the industry can come back stronger than ever,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts , Culture and Sports. “This grant was a call to action from the Tourism Task Force to support these businesses in their bottom line and ensure they can thrive.”
Up to $15 million will be provided through the Tourism Accommodation and Commercial Recreation Relief Fund through three streams: one for large BC-owned accommodation providers employing more than 150 people; the second for large Aboriginal-owned accommodation properties employing more than 100 people and located on reserves; and the third for BC Parks tenure and permit holders who operate tourism businesses.
“Accommodators across British Columbia have endured years of devastating losses while struggling to meet the demands of rising fixed costs,” said Ingrid Jarrett, president and CEO of the British Columbia Hotel Association. “I would like to acknowledge the leadership, hard work and commitment Minister Mark has shown in supporting BC’s accommodation sector and making the Tourism Accommodation and Commercial Recreation Relief Fund a reality. We are grateful that this funding will help ease the pain of large hosting providers and better position our industry for recovery.
Grants for tourist accommodation and commercial recreation will help offset fixed costs for large eligible accommodation operators with property taxes, hydro costs for Indigenous-owned accommodations or assistance to tourism businesses operating on Crown land and in BC parks with tenure and park permit fees incurred in 2021.
“Indigenous Tourism BC continues to focus its work on supporting Indigenous tourism businesses to stay in business during these challenging times,” said Brenda Baptiste, President of Indigenous Tourism BC. “We value and value the collaboration and partnerships we have with industry and the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport.
“On behalf of adventure tourism operators who hold tenures or permits to use the park, assistance provided through the Tourist Accommodation and Commercial Recreation Relief Fund will assist operators working in remote backcountry areas of British Columbia,” said Katherine MacRae, executive director, Commercial Bear Viewing Association and co-chair of the Adventure Tourism Coalition. “Tenures and permits are part of our operating costs, and the relief from these costs is appreciated as we look to a renewed recovery in 2022 for adventure tourism in great and natural British Columbia.”
The provision of financial support for fixed costs was identified by the final report of the Tourism Task Force as a recommendation for businesses most affected by public health measures limiting travel and group gatherings. These supports are intended to help ensure the viability of these businesses throughout the winter and spring 2022 seasons.
This grant is another measure the province has provided to the tourism sector and builds on other support measures under the 2020-21 budget, including:
- the Small and Medium Business Recovery Program, which has supported nearly 8,200 tourism businesses with fewer than 149 employees, which have received more than $214 million in grants;
- $36.8 million, which was donated to more than 80 major anchor 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 to support 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 BC, which has been allocated to Indigenous tourism businesses, one of the fastest growing sectors of the industry.
- Large eligible accommodation providers can receive up to 25% of property taxes up to a maximum of $500,000 in the first stream;
- In the second tier, large eligible Indigenous-owned accommodation providers on-reserve can receive 100% of BC Hydro’s fees, up to a maximum of $200,000. Major accommodation providers include hotels, motels, resorts and lodges, including strata hotels.
- Eligible commercial recreation businesses can receive 100% of eligible park tenure or use permits under Tier 3, up to a maximum of $200,000.
- Tourism businesses with tenures under the Land Act or permits under the Parks Act include activities such as wildlife viewing, fishing, hunting, mountaineering, horseback riding, all-terrain vehicle hiking, white-water rafting and heli-skiing; small destination resorts such as guest ranches or ecotourism lodges; campgrounds and outdoor parks that offer activities such as water slides and ziplines.
The receipt of applications is open from January 14 to February 14, 2022. Eligibility criteria and application information are available online: www.gov.bc.ca/accommodation-commercial-recreation-fund