The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyone. Collectively, we follow the direction of health authorities to focus on the health and safety of our staff, families and communities. We continue to share and spread the message to stay home and social distance so we can slow the spread of COVID-19 in BC.
Our relationship with Stakeholders, who are the Indigenous tourism businesses that are members with Indigenous Tourism BC, is crucial. We have been working hard to learn the impact of COVID-19 on Indigenous tourism businesses. Since March 2020, we have been:
We continue to reach out and invite Indigenous tourism business to join as Stakeholders to ensure they are included in all aspects of COVID-19 support and recovery.
Indigenous Tourism BC has been working with partners within BC and across Canada to share what we have learned about the impacts of COVID-19 and to support collaborative efforts to manage the uncertainty and financial loss of Indigenous tourism businesses during this crisis.
At this point, we understand from our Stakeholders that more support is required to survive post-COVID-19. For Indigenous Tourism BC, partnership and collaboration with our Indigenous, Federal, Provincial, tourism and health organizations will be imperative. Our goal is to share what we are learning about the impact to Indigenous tourism business, and work with partners as we move into the recovery phase.
ITBC has been in consistent communication with
We are still learning the impact of COVID-19 on Indigenous tourism businesses and, as tourism businesses in BC, including gas stations, accommodations, resorts, RV parks and campgrounds, transportation services, outdoor adventures, retail stores and gift shops, festivals and major events, artist studios, restaurants and culinary operations, outdoor adventures, golf, heritage sites, museums, and cultural centres.
Indigenous Tourism BC works with 125 Market Ready Stakeholders and the majority are small to medium sized enterprises. They are sole proprietorships, family owned partnerships, limited partnerships, corporations and community-owned businesses. Half of these businesses operate year-round, and half of them operate on a seasonal basis from May to October.
Indigenous Tourism BC is reviewing the gaps that Stakeholders are experiencing with financial relief dollars that are now available, and also tracking short and long term needs that will be required for full business recovery.
Indigenous Tourism BC is planning a significant recovery campaign, in line with Destination BC, our provincial tourism partner and with the Province of BCs Re-Start Plan.
This campaign focuses on three phases Response > Recovery > Resilience. We slowly move into the Recovery Phase and will promote a hyper-local campaign, encouraging locals to travel near-home. This campaign will accompany a Travel Responsible message, following Destination BCs Know Before You go message.
To take advantage of Indigenous Tourism BCs recovery and marketing plans, we urge Indigenous tourism businesses to join us as Stakeholders, participate in our COVID-19 Surveys and be a part of our weekly Stakeholder Calls. The next Stakeholder Call is scheduled July 8, 2020 at 10am.
As the BC economy begins to slowly re-open, Indigenous Tourism BC recommends three important steps:
As business in BC begins a gradual re-open, we need to remember the priority is the health and safety of our communities. The Province of BC has announced a phased approach in the BC Restart Plan.
Essential business only and limited travel within your community.
Restaurants, retail stores, gift shops, museums, salons, spas, parks and beaches are able to open with proper safety measures. It is critical that safety measures are in place to continue protecting our families and communities.
Hotels, Resorts, Parks and some overnight campgrounds are able to open June 1, 2020.
Many Indigenous governments across BC have implemented travel restrictions within their communities. If you operate business on-reserve, check in with local Indigenous governments to learn about their travel restrictions and share your business operations with them, especially as it relates to safety and sanitation measures.
As we take the first steps to re-open, Indigenous Tourism BC is creating a Best Practices Guidelines for the Indigenous Tourism sector that follows the directives of the Public Health Office, First Nations Health Authority, and WorkSafe BC.
WorkSafe BC has COVID-19 safety information for the hospitality sector, the retail sector and the arts and cultural facilities that will be helpful for Indigenous tourism businesses. There is also a general Guide to Reducing Risk in the Workplace.
It is critical to continue following guidelines from the Public Health Office and First Nations Health Authority to keep yourself, your customers and your employees safe.
At this time, Indigenous Tourism BC is supporting the Indigenous tourism industry through the following actions to manage the uncertainty and financial loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic.