It comes as no surprise that when the pandemic hit, one of the industries most affected is also one of the province’s biggest: tourism.
Thanks to the initiatives launched by the government and the tourism sector, innovations are also letting businesses like Williams Lake’s Willow Grove Bed & Breakfast Inn emerge from the pandemic stronger than before.
Christina Mary had only just opened in 2019, and was in the process of building her business, when COVID-19 stopped everyone in their tracks. Mary joined the Tourism Resiliency Program right away “so everything and anything that I could possibly do, I did. Connecting with the Tourism Resiliency Program has been really great because they have been sending me very helpful resources,” she says.
The Tourism Resiliency Program provided Mary with the information on the financial programs, digital marketing support and one-on-one expert support from a professional bookkeeper. The advisor and expert support helped her get her COVID plan up on her website and pointed her to the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Digital Competitive Program.
Working together to go beyond recovery
Thanks to help from the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Resiliency Program tourism-based operators like Mary are turning what might have become a disaster, into an opportunity to expand horizons and grow. The Tourism Resiliency Program focuses on supporting tourism business through providing meaningful one-on-one support to navigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, while adapting and working towards building long-term resiliency. Working together across the province, the BC Regional Tourism Secretariat is leading the BC Tourism Resiliency Network. Together, the program has helped more than 1,900 tourism businesses across the province with generous support from Western Diversification Trust and the Ministry of Tourism Arts and Culture.
The Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association is a non-profit, stakeholder-based Regional Destination Management Organization that leads tourism in development and marketing in conjunction with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture, Destination British Columbia, Destination Canada and industry partners in the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Region to help foster responsible growth of tourism to empower a resilient visitor economy. Under this umbrella, Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism leads development, sustainability, and consumer marketing. The organization provides leadership and stewardship for tourism, supply and demand for an industry that puts businesses first with the tourism industry, residents, and communities at the heart of all efforts.
Better than ever
With the help of Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism, Mary has big plans for the future. She is happy to share information and her artistic knowledge and wants to utilize the resources available in nature and live in harmony with it.
Her B&B is more than a place to stay, offering a unique blend of accommodation and art. Mary is working on putting together some classes to teach basket weaving and other traditional arts. She provides a place for local artists to sell their pieces and runs a Christmas market featuring local artists. Multi-day artists’ residencies are in the works for the future.
Mary is so thankful for the resources that Cariboo Chilcotin Tourism made available. “Everyone is so helpful and supportive and they continue to check in on me to see how things are going!”
Learn more about The Willow Grove Bed & Breakfast Inn here.
Business owners can learn more here about the CCCTA.
To learn more and sign up for support through the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Resiliency Program, visit their website at www.tourismresiliency.ca/ccctrp