Appointees to the B.C. Tourism Task Force delivered their final report to the provincial government on December 9. Titled The Future of Travel: Positioning B.C. to Accelerate Recovery and Growth it outlines urgent recommendations to help B.C.’s tourism industry recover from the impacts of COVID-19 and encourage long-term growth in the sector.
Unifor Western Regional Director Gavin McGarrigle was among a select group of 11 panelists tasked with composing a balanced blueprint for government support for an industry that generates $20 billion in revenues and employs more than 160,000 British Columbians.
Over the past three months, the task force studied best practices from other jurisdictions and considered the effectiveness and gaps in the various provincial and federal relief programs. The task force also heard testimony from experts in the industry.
“It’s hard to undersell the impact the pandemic has had on workers connected to the tourism and hospitality sector,” said McGarrigle. “All levels of government must act swiftly to reduce the impact on workers and ensure that the industry can thrive when the economy exits the slump caused by the pandemic.”
The task force’s report was received by tourism minister Melanie Mark. The provincial government has allocated $50 million to the Economic Recovery Plan, although the task force estimates it will take double that to properly protect workers and stimulate tourism after COVID-19.