VANCOUVER -- Tourism businesses in Vancouver are hoping residents will put more money into the beleaguered industry by taking advantage of the sights and sounds of their own city while following COVID-19 health measures.

Tourism Vancouver has launched a new social media campaign called Love Vancouver, encouraging Vancouverites to get out and see the city and then post about it on social media using the “#LoveVancouver” tag.

“Go do experiences that maybe you haven’t done before and share it out with others, inspire others to get out and explore,” said Royce Chwin, president of Tourism Vancouver.

The campaign website invites residents to “Fall in love with Vancouver all over again!” and provides ideas on local activities.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing travel restrictions have wreaked havoc on tourism industries across the country, and in Vancouver tourism revenue is estimated to have dropped off by more than two-thirds.

“2019 was a record year … our visitor economy was worth $14.5 billion,” Chwin said.

“We're lucky if we're at about $4 billion for 2020. The impact has been pretty catastrophic.”

Current health restrictions in B.C. ask people to avoid non-essential travel outside of their health region as a way of curbing the spread of the coronavirus.

By encouraging residents to explore their own city in COVID-safe ways, Chwin says he hopes it will mean transmission decreases and that travel restrictions can be lifted sooner which would allow for leisure travel within the province in time for spring break.

“(We want) to invite the community back into their own city to explore in their backyard and to get people moving around again,” he said.

“At the end of the day the fundamental piece of our business relies on the movement of people, and if we can do so safely, we can help support our communities, that’s really the goal here.”