Doris Neuert (from left), Dorothy Unrau, Ellen Wiege, and Paul Couturier were among the many people who enjoyed the volunteer appreciation evenings that took place at the Tourism Discovery Centre in Williams Lake this spring. Neuert, Unrau and Wiege are part of the Monday lunch preparation team at the Seniors Activity Centre. Wiege is also the 55-plus BC Games co-ordinator for Williams Lake. Couturier teaches yoga at the Seniors Activity Centre. Gaeil Farrar photo

Province commits up to $200,000 to wildfire-affected Cariboo Chilcotin tourism industry

Government and CCCTA to work closely together to identify tourism recovery needs in the region.

  • Aug. 18, 2017 5:00 p.m.

The Province is providing the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association (CCCTA) with financial support of up to $200,000 to help with tourism-related impacts from the B.C. wildfires, announced Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Lisa Beare, while meeting with business owners and tourism operators in the Cariboo region today.

“The wildfire season has been devastating to British Columbians throughout the province,” Beare said in a press release. “The tourism industry within the Cariboo Chilcotin is no exception.

”Many tourism businesses in the region are losing income and, in some cases, losing property due to the wildfires during the peak revenue-generating summer season. The funding that our government has committed to the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association will support the ongoing recovery of the industry in the region and will hopefully mitigate the economic impacts to the rural communities in this beautiful part of our province.”

The government and the CCCTA will work closely together to ensure the funding targets the tourism recovery needs identified in the region. The province is currently assessing the needs of those affected by the wildfires in order to support them in the best way possible in the days and weeks ahead.

“The tourism industry is a key economic driver for the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast region,” CCCTA chair Ande Kuerbis said in the release. “We look forward to working together with the provincial government and Destination BC as we continue to develop and grow our industry’s potential. Today’s commitment is a first step on our long-term recovery plan for the tourism sector.”

Tourism is a major economic driver in B.C., employing 127,000 people within the province, supporting nearly 19,000 tourism-related businesses and contributing $7.4 billion toward the province’s gross domestic product.

Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology said, “Small businesses, including many from the tourism sector, have been impacted by this year’s historic wildfire season in B.C., which is why the Province is providing support to help them during this challenging time. Today’s funding, coupled with the emergency small business funding announced earlier in the week, is an important step toward assisting the people and business owners living in the Cariboo Chilcotin region.”

Destination BC, the industry-led Crown corporation that markets British Columbia globally as a tourism destination, is developing a provincial wildfire tourism recovery plan that will also support the tourism industry by working in close collaboration with the regional destination marketing organizations. The campaign has helped keep travellers informed on the areas in B.C. that are currently affected by evacuation alerts or orders, while ensuring tourists know that B.C. remains open for business in many parts of the province that are not affected by fires.

“Tourism businesses in the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast region normally host travellers from around the world, sharing our vast wilderness and extraordinary experiences with global explorers,” said Marsha Walden, CEO, Destination BC. “These industrious businesses, most of which survive based on the peak summer season, have been hit hard by wildfires and need support to welcome the world back once the fires are contained.”

Quick Facts:

• Over 95 per cent of tourism businesses in the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast is provided by small businesses.

• The region includes iconic natural destinations, such as the Great Bear Rainforest and heritage destinations, such as Barkerville Historic Town and Park.

• In 2015, the tourism sector paid $4.5 billion in wages and salaries within B.C.

Learn More:

Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association: www.landwithoutlimits.com/

For information on small business emergency preparedness: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/preparedbc/small-business-preparedness

Funding for small businesses impacted by wildfires news release: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2017FLNR0231-001440

Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association is an industry-led not-for-profit Destination Management Organization that works collaboratively with stakeholders to develop and promote a responsible tourism industry in the Cariboo, Chilcotin and Central Coast of British Columbia. For more information about the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast tourism region, please visit: www.landwithoutlimits.com

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