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Here's what B.C. plans to do to help the tourism industry
VANCOUVER -- The province has earmarked $10 million to help one of the industries most impacted by COVID-19.
The NDP government said Monday the grant will be split among 59 non-profit organizations that promote local tourism.
The funding is meant to offset a sudden dip in travel.
Those organizations, known as community destination marketing organizations, rely on funds from municipal and regional taxes. Those taxes are charged to tourists when they book a hotel room, or other accommodation.
They're applied in addition to provincial sales tax.
Recipients of those funds include municipalities and regional districts, as well as not-for-profit businesses engaged in tourism marketing, programs or projects.
But with non-essential travel discouraged in an effort to stop the spread of novel coronavirus, the industry has suffered.
In an emailed statement announcing the funding, the Ministry of Tourism said the organizations "play an important role connecting visitors to B.C.'s communities."
The ministry says those groups represent large metropolitan centres and small towns alike, and help bring tourism dollars to those parts of B.C.
As for what's next, the chair of B.C.'s Destination Marketing Organization Association said the groups will work on "effective marketing and development campaigns" to drive visitors back to those communities.
The ministry said the funding will help the DMOs retain some of their staff, and will help to offset fixed expenses between May and October.
Tourism is a major source of revenue in B.C. each year.
In 2018, the latest data provided by the province, tourism helped bring $20.5 billion in revenue to B.C.
Earlier this month, Premier John Horgan was asked about future phases of the province's restart plan, including those that would encourage a tourism reboot.
The premier hasn't provided specifics, saying he was hesitant to get too far into it when his message, for the time being, was to avoid travelling for now.
But Horgan said he's aware of the impact, and that plans are being developed. Among what's being worked on are campaigns that will promote B.C. as a destination for Canadians living elsewhere.