The province announced $1 million in funding Friday to help communities invest in bid preparation and sponsorships to attract large-scale arts and sporting events as well as public conferences and exhibits.
The funding is part of a three-year roadmap to rebuild a tourism sector battered by two years of pandemic restrictions and closures and position British Columbia as a safe, world-class event-hosting jurisdiction.
The $1 million is in addition to the $8 million the province recently announced for the Business Events and Conferences Restart Fund to help restart business travel by attracting events, conferences and exhibits. .
The funding is part of the province’s tourism policy framework and responds to industry calls for a more resilient tourism sector by restoring to 2019 levels by 2024.
In total, last month’s provincial budget committed about $25 million for destination development, international marketing, the resumption of business events and conferences, marquee event offerings and tourism training.
“British Columbia is a world-class destination, and we know the pandemic has hurt tourism,” Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport, said in a statement. “As the world opens up again, we are working together to rebuild and revitalize this essential industry that adds so much to our planet, our people and our shared prosperity.”
The province is also investing $2 million in post-secondary education and training to support BC students enrolling in tourism and hospitality programs, tourism-related apprenticeships and vocational training and development. The program, currently under development, will prioritize students who are Indigenous, immigrant or refugee applicants, as well as those from rural or remote areas and those with accessibility needs. More details will be provided soon.
The province has also committed $6 million this year through 2024 for Destination BC to market the province globally.
“We are very excited about the province’s additional investments in reviving tourism,” Walt Judas, CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of BC, said in a statement. “These funds come at an opportune time as our industry seeks to rebuild its workforce, products and service levels to once again welcome guests from around the world in the months and years to come.”