VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — The Indigenous Tourism Association of BC is welcoming the provinces offer to provide up to $1-million grants to help “anchor” attractions and tour bus operators surviving the pandemic — even if the program won’t directly impact the association.
Chair, Brenda Baptiste, says these attractions are key to bringing visitors to their businesses. So while these grants don’t benefit their 400 members and other tourism operators directly, helping large anchor attractions helps everyone in the grand scheme of things.
“There is a trickle-down and we’ve had support for the smaller businesses certainly there could be more to be done we’re still in the middle of restrictions – travel restrictions – which has a huge impact on the Indigenous tourism industry and the tourism industry as a whole,” she says.
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Baptiste explains larger anchor attractions are critical to the tourism industry because they also drive people to the smaller tourism attractions, such as Indigenous businesses like boat excursions on the coast, or tour companies around Metro Vancouver.
“So it is it’s very important that we continue to support them.”
As people plan their summer holidays, she hopes they include attractions big and small.
“We need to start looking at reopening plans; we need to look at supporting those anchor attractions to get people moving throughout the province and then push them to the other smaller attractions throughout this province.
But she also cautions that some communities are choosing to remain closed to protect their residents, and reminds people to check if communities are welcoming tourism before they go – as some will continue to limit visitors amid the pandemic.