Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. (Destination B.C.)

Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. (Destination B.C.)

B.C. visitor centres get help with COVID-19 prevention measures

Destination B.C. gearing up for local, in-province tourism

B.C.’s 130 community-owned visitor centres are getting help with COVID-19 physical distance measures to help them welcome tourists from around the province as summer season unfolds.

Destination B.C., the province’s Crown tourism marketing agency, has announced up to $1,000 for each centre to provide for extra sanitation and physical distance indicators for centres. Currently they’re focused on “tourist in your own town” efforts to direct people to amenities that are open, such as museums, galleries, cultural sites as well as parks and open spaces.

Destination B.C. has redirected its usual international marketing campaign and Super, Natural B.C. ads to promote #exploreBClocal during the coronavirus pandemic travel restrictions.

“As we head toward summer, we want visitor centres in communities all around B.C. to feel ready and willing to showcase their local areas, when the time is right,” said Marsha Walden, CEO of Destination B.C. “This one-time grant to support health and safety measures ensures visitors, staff and volutneers can feel comfortable interacting with others.”

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Destination B.C. is also providing weekly Youtube updates for tourism operators. The latest one contains an update on the early bleak forecast for B.C. tourism, forecasting tourism revenue of $6.7 billion for 2020. That’s a 40 per cent improvement on the initial estimate when airlines and borders were shutting down around the world, but it’s still a far cry from the 1.5 billion industry revenue in 2019.

Camping demand is up, as are fishing licences and other indicators that B.C. residents are preparing to spend their holiday time and money within the province. Vacation spending that would otherwise go to cruises and other international travel is likely to stay in B.C. this year.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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