VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – The B.C. tourism industry got some welcome news on Monday — the provincial government announced a $10 million grant for destination marketing organizations (DMOs), the not-for-profit groups that promote tourism to their regions.
DMOs rely on money raised by the Municipal and Regional District Tax (MRDT), which is charged to visitors by hotels and other types of accommodation. Due to travel restrictions brought in amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been incredibly difficult for DMOs to generate funds.
“The tourism industry is a major economic engine and job creator for people in B.C., but the impacts of COVID-19 have left the industry struggling,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture.
“We are supporting the tourism industry today to make sure we can welcome visitors to explore Super, Natural British Columbia when it is safe to do so.”
The tourism industry generated more than $20 billion for the province in 2018, and is a major support for families throughout B.C.
DMOs help connect visitors to B.C.’s communities, highlighting small towns to large metropolitan areas.
The local tourism sector has been one of the hardest-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the province, investing in the tourism sector’s recovery now will help create jobs and stimulate economic growth.
“This welcomed funding announcement will give many of us that ability to remain operating and plan for the future. It is excellent news,” said Nancy Small, chair of the BC Destination Marketing Organization Association.
The association represents the 59 DMOs throughout the province that use the MRDT for tourism marketing projects and programs in B.C. The $10 million provincial grant is expected to help DMOs retain crucial staff and offset some expenses from October 2020.