The announcement of free Discovery passes on December 1, 2016, lasted for two weeks resulting in BC Parks website crashing with 900,000 people planning to visit national parks this year. The unexpected increase of interested visitors are not only Canadian but travelers from around the world.
According to the website, “over 100 parks, in over 120 frontcountry campgrounds, with approximately 6,000 frontcountry campsites” will be open in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary. While the excitement of expected travelers is on the rise, there are conservationists that are concerned about the expected increase of traffic and wildlife.
After speaking with BC Parks’ Spokesperson David Karn, he mentioned that during the “January 2nd launch, we saw approximately 300 reservations made that day in over 20 parks that are currently open for reservations.” For those interested in booking a reservation David explained, “we expect higher volumes from mid-January onwards when more parks are open for reservations.” The parks located close to Surrey are Golden Ears, Rolley Lake, Cultus Lake, and Sasquatch Provincial Park.
If you are interested in reserving a campsite on BC Parks website, book four months in advance to help you plan ahead. Please keep in mind reservations are on a first come first serve basis. Click here for more information if you are interested in finding out opening dates for other parks across the province. While you have a chance, book your visit now on the BC Park website.
The South Shuswap Chamber of Commerce Rallies in Support of Tourism
Blind Bay, BC – In a unique tourism year that was likely to be impacted by the COVID 19 pandemic, a Chamber of Commerce in the BC Interior knew that they had to do something to support their tourism businesses and to lessen the potential financial and economic hardship on their small community.
When British Columbians started to flatten the curve two months ago, there was a tiny window of opportunity to warmly welcome visitors to the region while still following the recommendations of Dr. Bonnie Henry and the Provincial Health Office. With the help of a small grant from their local government, the Tourism Committee for the South Shuswap Chamber of Commerce went into immediate action, embarking on a videography project. The contract was awarded to Mimi Huser of MH Productions to produce three unique tourism videos, each highlighting a distinct demographic.
“In May, we put out the welcome mat for our tourists and seasonal neighbours via social media. Pictures just don’t do our area justice and we wanted to showcase all that we have to offer,” said Karen Brown, Executive Director of the South Shuswap Chamber of Commerce. “Our Tourism Committee, consisting of Mark Lane of DreamCyle Museum, Monica Seys of Shuswap Marina, Robyn Cyr of Brabyn Business Solutions, Margaret McCormick of Authentic Experience Consulting and Michelle Mackay of Mackay Marketing, reacted quickly. Due to the hard work of that committee and the impressive work of MH Productions, we were able to produce a series of three-minute videos in less than a month.”
The videos, individually labelled “Relax,” “Connect” & “Play,” follow storylines showcasing experiences enjoyed by different demographics. “Relax” dials into the 50+ retirees and semi-retirees and provides a relaxed look at lake life, “Connect” focuses on multi-generational families meeting in the Shuswap to connect and create lasting memories together and “Play” hones in on adventurous Millennials enjoying action-packed activities.
“It is safe to say that our tourism operators have been going full throttle and recording a good summer so far. The videos, coupled with our earlier #KindnessIsContagious campaign, have provided a sense of safety and welcome for our visitors,” said Lynn Ewart, President of the South Shuswap Chamber of Commerce. “There is a ‘calm’ surrounding this year’s summer vibe with everyone being respectful to one another and following safety protocols in place. We are very proud of that.”
About the South Shuswap
The South Shuswap area is conveniently located on Highway No. 1, just a quick four hour drive from the Lower Mainland, and situated along the stunning southern shores of Shuswap Lake. The communities within the South Shuswap include Blind Bay, Notch Hill, Sorrento, Tappen, Eagle Bay, Skimikin Lake, Sunnybrae, and White Lake.
The area is influenced by its Indigenous heritage and boasts a flourishing arts and culture scene, great dining, live music, and a large artisan community. The breathtaking landscape, multi-use trail system, and fabulous beaches are amongst the main attractions. The region is also home to three fantastic wineries, breweries, and four marinas.
For more information, please visit the South Shuswap Chamber of Commerce Visitor Page on our website at http://www.southshuswapchamber.com/visitor-information.html
Visiting Vancouver in the New “Normal”
Visiting Vancouver in the New “Normal”
2020 sparked a lot of disappointment for those who like to travel. The unfortunate reality of COVID-19 was that many people were stuck at home for months on end. Currently, travelers entering Canada must isolate for 14 days. However, Canada has loosened its restrictions on traveling within the country.
Vancouver has always been a must-see destination. It has some of the most picturesque landscapes in the world. This unique place has mountains, ocean, and a bustling city. There is something for everyone.
In this article, we will look at visiting Vancouver during these unpredictable times.
Traveling to Vancouver
The safest method of transportation is by car. This way travelers are able to limit their interactions with others. However, this is not feasible for many Canadians. Domestic flights continue to run throughout the country.
Both Air Canada and WestJet have created procedures to improve sanitation. Both airlines have also limited seating. Passengers must wear a face mask on board.
Travelers who exhibit any signs of COVID-19 will not be allowed on the flight. Furthermore, those who are subject to a health order may not board the flight.
Traveling Within Vancouver
There are many types of transportation options available in Vancouver. However, physical distancing is now mandatory on all forms of transportation.
The SkyTrain is the most convenient way to travel around Vancouver. All of the lines continue to run on schedule. However, there is reduced capacity. The fare gates only allow a certain number of people to enter or exit. This is to support physical distancing on both the platforms and trains. Travelers should plan ahead to ensure they reach their destination at a reasonable time.
Vancouver buses also have restricted capacity. Customers are encouraged to use seats when possible. The buses stop picking up passengers when the capacity has been reached.
The Vancouver SeaBus is a ferry service that only carries passengers. It connects Vancouver and North Vancouver. The SeaBus is currently running at half capacity. The turnstiles ensure the accuracy of passengers on board.
There has been increased cleaning and sanitization on all modes of transportation. This is to limit the infection spreading. Passengers are asked to practice social distancing whilst using transit. Standing 2 meters away at bus stops and entrance ways is essential.
Where to Stay
Most tourists prefer to stay in the downtown core of Vancouver. Gastown, Yaletown, and Coal Harbour continue to be the favorite neighborhoods. The new normal is much like before, plenty of places to stay in Vancouver and surrounding areas.
These three neighborhoods are central. They are convenient to travel to and from. They are also interesting to spend time exploring.
Gastown is Vancouver’s oldest neighborhood. However, it has increased in popularity with younger travelers. Gastown has the perfect mixture of historic and modern. Many buildings are traditional and made from brick. This authentic architecture intertwines with bars, restaurants, and clubs.
Yaletown is an upscale area that is situated on the beautiful seawall. This results in gorgeous ocean views. There is an abundance of parks, restaurants, sidewalk cafes, and shopping in this neighborhood. Public art is displayed along the waterfront.
The OPUS hotel is an amazing, boutique-style hotel in Yaletown. This hotel is luxurious – exemplified by the iPads in each room.
Coal Harbour is a calm neighborhood that sits on the water. This area is a mixture of residential and business vibes. Tourists love to visit because of the serenity. There are many locally owned shops that line the water’s edge. Vancouver’s local businesses are eager for support during these trying times.
The Fairmont Pacific Rim is a top hotel in Coal Harbour. It overlooks the Vancouver Harbour. This makes it a prime, sought-after location. The suites exude elegance. Many of them have luxurious “extras” that you can add. For example, outdoor fireplaces and huge marble bathrooms.
The hotel is complete with a spa, fitness room, and 3 different restaurants. Furthermore, there is an incredible rooftop pool.
Cleanliness is a top-priority to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Therefore, all accommodations have implemented strict cleaning policies. Hotels are offering minimal contact check-ins. Furthermore, there are no-contact delivery options for room service.
Attractions in Vancouver
Vancouver is a perfect holiday destination due to the plethora of activities available. Those who travel here can explore their adventurous side. Furthermore, visitors love to relax near the ocean.
Unfortunately, all festivals and major events have been cancelled. Some festivals have opted to hold events through online platforms. However, all the main tourist attractions have reopened. Here we look at some of the best places to see.
Stanley Park is the most popular place to visit in Vancouver. The 1,000 acre park provides a serene place to escape from the bustling city. There are year-round activities to partake in.
The Vancouver Seawall is a great recreational wall to explore. It is part of the longest, uninterrupted seawall in the world. The wall provides gorgeous scenery. You can view the mountains and English Bay along the route.
The Museum of Anthropology is a must-see if you’re keen on history. The museum holds some of the most beautiful artwork in the world. Furthermore, there are cultural objects from around the world.
Travelers should be prepared for change whilst visiting Vancouver. New regulations have been created at popular tourist attractions. This is in an attempt to control the spread of COVID-19.
Visitors should be ready for reduced capacity, social distancing markers, and plexiglass barriers. Furthermore, there are often temperature checks. This is important for everyone’s safety.
There are no legal regulations about wearing masks in public. However, some establishments require them. People may also be asked to wash or sanitize their hands before entering a building.
Furthermore, there may be revised schedules. Travelers should also be prepared to book attractions in advance.
Adaptability is the key to enjoyable travel. Visitors should travel with the knowledge that things will be different due to the circumstances. Everything will require more advanced planning.
Traveling was next to impossible at the beginning of this year. However, things are starting to look up. Visiting Vancouver can still be a unique and enjoyable experience. There are definite changes to the ways in which people can travel. However, these changes are slight. They should not deter anyone from wanting to explore this beautiful city.
Those who are eager for adventure are encouraged to travel to Vancouver. Not only will this benefit people’s mental health, it is a great way to aid the economy. Nevertheless, the precautions outlined in this article should be taken seriously. This is for the benefit of all citizens.
Tourism & Hospitality sector seeks $680 million recovery stimulus package from B.C. Government
Immediate financial assistance vital for sector hardest hit by
COVID-19 and travel restrictions
VANCOUVER, B.C. (July 21, 2020) – A coalition representing British Columbia’s more than 19,000 tourism and hospitality businesses has presented the Provincial government with a recovery stimulus proposal that would see the government allocate $680 million from its $1.5 billion recovery package as an initial investment to help mitigate the unprecedented impacts of COVID-19 on the B.C. visitor economy and its workforce.
In 2018 (latest statistics available), the tourism and hospitality industry included over 19,300 businesses, generated more than $8.3 billion in provincial GDP and $4.5 billion in direct tax revenues from $20.4 billion in direct visitor spending, and created employment in tourism-related businesses for more than 300,000 workers, half of whom service visitors in every community of the province.
Unfortunately, as the only industry almost entirely based on the discretionary movement of people, the tourism and hospitality sector has been the most severely impacted by far by COVID-19 due to business closure orders and restrictions on personal travel, as well as the closure of international borders.
Virtually the entire sector was shut down resulting in extensive layoffs, with many businesses having closed without the cash flow to re-open, and thousands more desperately trying to maintain solvency. Despite the commencement of Phase 3 on June 24th, most sector businesses have only partially re-opened, with eviscerated source markets and severely damaged supply chains.
The long-term economic outlook for the sector is the bleakest for any industry. Best-case projections would still see a $14.8 billion (69%) decline in tourism revenue from $20.4 billion in 2018 to $6.7 billion in 2020. This severe loss in revenue, which could be significantly greater, will have reverberating impacts on jobs, government revenues through taxes, and the ability to re-invest in the sector for a more resilient, sustainable future.
“The existing suite of packages aimed at the overall economy are appreciated and helpful, but not sufficient to sustain the B.C. tourism and hospitality sector for the foreseeable future from this unexpected pandemic,” said Vivek Sharma, Chair of the Tourism Industry Association of BC (TIABC).
“The only way we can prevent generations of lost economic activity, jobs, and tax revenues is by acting decisively now with innovative and creative solutions that recognize the importance of this sector, which is the face and brand of British Columbia to the world and one of the strongest drivers of BC’s economy.”
The proposed recovery stimulus package proposed by the tourism and hospitality sector has three components:
- A Working Capital Recovery Grant ($475 million) to help sustain and maintain solvency for businesses that have prospects to return to profitability in the medium term (i.e. 18 months). This could include the provision of low or no-interest loans with an extended payback period. As the timing and magnitude of out-of-province visitors is uncertain, the immediate priority would be to sustain businesses that normally rely on these visitors and generate significant revenues for the visitor economy, as well as businesses that play central roles in attracting visitors to a community or a region.
- Support for Adaptation Costs ($190 million) that would provide funds to: help businesses adapt their operations to the health and safety requirements of COVID-19 and protect their workforce, visitors, residents and local communities; and develop innovative ways of delivering tourism experiences to augment and accelerate recovery.
- Support for Developing Resilient, B.C.-focused Supply Chains ($15 million). The goal would be to support industry subsectors (accommodation, attractions, transportation, food services, and retail) refocus their supply chains and forge new relationships with B.C. suppliers, to create supply chains that will not only promote recovery over the next 18 months, but also contribute to the industry’s resilience going forward.
The proposal also recommends a joint industry-government task force to work alongside existing industry organizations and networks to finalize funding parameters, application processes, and monitoring and evaluation mechanisms. The task force would include participation by the B.C. Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, the Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Competitiveness, and the Ministry of Finance.
“For decades, tourism has been a strong and consistent economic engine for the province and significant source of employment in every BC community,” said Sharma. “What we are asking for is a return on the contributions the tourism and hospitality sector has made to the provincial and national economy over those decades.
Essentially, we need an initial investment of $680 million to save an industry that is worth more than $20 billion per year. Without this support, our sector could see upwards of 100,000 jobs lost in 2020 and thousands of businesses permanently shuttered.”
To view the proposed tourism and hospitality sector recovery stimulus proposal, please visit please visit tiabc.ca.
About Tourism Industry Association of BC
The Tourism Industry Association of BC (TIABC) advocates for the interests of British Columbia’s $20.4 billion visitor economy. As a not-for-profit tourism industry association, TIABC works collaboratively with its members – private sector tourism businesses, industry associations and destination marketing organizations – to ensure the best working environment for a competitive tourism industry.
Tourism and Hospitality in BC
Sector value (2018):
- Industry Revenue: $20.4 billion
- Number of businesses: 19,300 (90% are small or medium sized businesses)
- Provincial GDP: $8.3 billion
- Tax revenue for government: $4.5 billion in direct tax revenues ($1.7 billion provincial)
- Direct employment: 160,000 people (3rd largest private sector employer in B.C.)
- Tourism is the only industry almost entirely based on the discretionary movement of people.
- Tourism is the sector that has been most severely impacted by COVID-19 because of business closure orders and travel restrictions, including border closures.
- Tourism is the face and brand of British Columbia to the world, attracting revenue and talent to B.C.
- Tourism is the only sector generating revenue and employing British Columbians in every community throughout the province.
- Most tourism businesses cannot survive without revenue from out-of-province visitors.
Impact of COVID-19 to date (July 21):
- Business closures: 10% of independent restaurants have closed permanently and 50% expect to close permanently by the end of the year without assistance; hotel occupancy was down 62% June over June and many hotels are not yet open; one-quarter of businesses in all regions are closed at present and more than half are experiencing reduced operations.
- Employment: More than 100,000 full and part-time tourism and hospitality jobs have been temporarily or permanently lost due to the pandemic and related travel and physical distancing restrictions. Without this rescue package, BC can expect to lose up to 120,000 tourism jobs in 2020.
- Revenue: Destination B.C.’s projection for 2020 (best-case scenario) is a 69% decline in tourism revenue from $20.4 billion in 2018 to $6.7 billion in 2020. This $14.8 billion loss in revenue, which could be significantly greater, will have reverberating impacts on jobs, government revenues and the ability to re-invest in the sector for a more resilient, sustainable future.
- Virtually the entire sector has endured closures and extensive employee lay-offs, with many businesses having closed without the cash flow to re-open, and thousands more desperately trying to maintain solvency.
- With no ability to generate revenue, many seasonal tourism operators have depleted their cash reserves to pay fixed costs such as rent, mortgages and utilities.
- Many major attractions are seeing less than 10% of normal revenues at this time of the year.
- Most lodges up and down the coast will not open this year at all, and many guest ranches in the Interior do not have any visitors and cannot operate.
- Major tour bus companies have been idle for months and some are only operating again with very limited capacity and not seeing sufficient volumes to survive.
- The cruise sector has been docked for the foreseeable future. It represents over $1 billion to the economies of both Vancouver and Victoria.
- Major tour operators like the Rocky Mountaineer are not operating. Rocky Mountaineer usually only employs hundreds of people each year, generating significant economic benefits for the province.
- Angling guides and hunting guides have no customers (i.e. international clients) and many are not operating.
- 80% of commercial bear viewing operators will not open this year.
- The entire meetings, festivals and events sector has ground to a halt with all of its support networks also sidelined (e.g. conference coordinators, producers).
- Some major hotels remain closed. Those that are open in major centres like Vancouver, Richmond and Victoria, are experiencing very limited occupancy…in many instances less than 20%.
- In Victoria, accommodation revenue numbers declined 86% in June after declines of 90% in both April and May.
- Although many businesses have re-opened and are trying to recover, they are not making money and losses are growing; without help, we are likely to see documented permanent closures in the fall and winter months.
- Addressing health and safety issues will result in higher operating costs and reduced capacity (fewer customers) due to physical distancing.
- Many small operators do not qualify for some of the loan programs, the wage subsidy, rent relief, and other measures introduced by government.
- Even with the return of local, provincial and potentially national visitors, the majority of tourism businesses won’t survive 2020 without significant and timely financial support.
- Assistance that is required now, while little to no revenue is being generated includes: Funding to pay rent; and waiving/deferring/decreasing property taxes, utilities, city fees, tenure fees, park fees, rod day fees, and corporate income tax.
Best Thing About Canadian Tourism
Tourism generates around $36 billion in revenue in Canada each year. For most people, visiting Canada is something they have on their bucket list. Not only is tourism good for the Canadian economy, it is also beneficial for the residents of popular cities like Toronto and Montreal.
With a constant influx of tourists, these local economies are able to generate a lot of money in a relatively short amount of time. With good infrastructure that Canada offers, tourists can use car rental, such as the one that Globe Car & Truck Rental of Montreal offers, and visit different tourist attractions easily.
If you are looking to get out of the rat race of life for a while, then planning a trip to Canada is a great idea. While this trip will be costly, it is worth the investment considering the memories it will allow you to make. The following are some of the reasons why planning a trip to Canada is a good idea.
View the Beauty of the Northern Lights
One of the main reasons why people choose to vacation in Canada is due to the breathtaking scenery this area is known for. While there are a number of natural attractions in Canada, many of them pale in comparison to the Northern Lights. This spectacular all-natural light show has been hypnotizing and delighting audiences for years.
There are a number of places in Canada you can view the Northern Lights. Traveling to areas like Whitehorse, Yukon or Fort McMurray, Alberta will provide you with a front row seat for the Northern Lights. Instead of relying on public transportation to get to these areas, you need to think about renting a vehicle for one part of the journey at least.
Try Canada’s National Dish on Your Visit
Going to Canada on vacation also allows you to sample some delicious cuisine. Ask any Canadian what their favorite dish is and they are sure to tell you it is poutine. If you love fries, cheese and gravy, then poutine is something you definitely have to try.
The place you choose to get your poutine from matters, so be sure to do your homework. As you start to plan your trip to Canada, you will need to do some research to ensure you make the right hotel bookings and dinner reservations. While this may feel like a lot of work, it is worth the effort considering the great trip this information allows you to plan.
Canada Has Very Friendly Locals
When traveling to larger cities, most people are afraid of what type of people they will run into. New Yorkers are notorious for being a bit rude and abrasive. If you are looking for a vacation destination that has tons of friendly and accommodating locals, then Canada is a must.
What are You Waiting For?
Now that you know about the benefits that come with visiting Canada, it is time to start planning your trip. In most cases, you can find all of the information you need to plan and book your vacation online. Doing things like renting a car and selecting a hotel near local attractions can help to make your trip much better.
5 Cozy Fall Staycations Just Outside Metro Vancouver
The colours of leaves are changing, the air is crisp and the days are getting shorter. Summer may be over, but it’s not too late to take off on a weekend getaway. One of the best remedies to cure the autumn blues is to escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and enjoy a relaxing staycation.
Soak up all the serene sights the season has to offer at one of these accommodations, all less than three hours away from Metro Vancouver.
A quick jaunt away in the Fraser Valley, this hidden gem is nestled in Abbotsford. The quaint B&B offers a cozy place to stay, in your own backyard. What makes this place so unique is that each of its six rooms is based on a classic film.
Movie buffs will especially love staying in one of the themed suites, which also come equipped with the DVD it’s decorated after. Choose from: Under The Tuscan Sun, Midnight In Paris, The Secret Garden, A Good Year, Thomas Crown Affair and Roman Holiday.
From the moment you step inside, it’s brimming with charm and it’s probably unlike any other place you’ve stayed at before.
Take in stunning views of the Pepin Brook Vineyard and Mount Baker, right from your window.On those rainy fall days, this is the perfect place to unwind and watch a flick. In the morning, head to the elegant Breakfast at Tiffany’s room for a hearty farm-to-table style breakfast.
Visit Harrison Mills, where riverside cabins and luxury suites await. Rowena’s Inn features a handful of rustic cottages and an English-style boutique hotel, all situated on a sprawling 160-acres. The cabins have a wood-burning fireplace, a deep-soak tub for two and a patio offering unsurpassed views of the area. If you prefer to stay in the hotel, there are lots of elegant pieces to discover, that are filled with history.
For instance, the dining room table was once used by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. The property is home to the picturesque Sandpiper Golf Course and an outdoor pool overlooking the Harrison River. There’s also a restaurant located just steps away from the accommodations, with some of the best eats in the region. You may never want to leave here. But if you do, it’s just a short 20-minute drive to the bustling village of Harrison Hot Springs.
Stumble upon a little piece of paradise that overlooks Harrison Lake, at this one-of-a-kind spot just a few minutes away from the village. The a-frame cottage features a wrap-around deck, a BBQ for entertaining and your very own cedar barrel sauna. The pet-friendly accommodation is tucked away amongst the trees but offers amazing views of the lake and surrounding mountains.
With lots of windows, it gets a lot of natural light and is an inviting space to enjoy a romantic getaway or to hang out with a group of close friends. The cottage has you covered as far as your entertainment needs go, with a variety of board games and some vintage video games for the NES Classic Edition. It’s within walking distance to beach access, but you’ll probably be just as content sipping your morning coffee on the patio while taking in all your surroundings.
Become a minimalist on your staycation (even if it’s just for a day or two) with an unforgettable tiny house experience on the Sunshine Coast. This adorable micro cabin is located on a private property in the tiny town of Robert’s Creek. What it lacks in size, it definitely makes up for in personality. The 125-square-foot space is for those who want to explore the great outdoors on the island and then come ‘home’ to a cozy hideaway to play cards or other games the cabin has to offer.
There’s a ladder leading up to two lofts, one with a bed and the other intended to practice yoga. The Wi-Fi connection here is pretty weak but with good company, or even a good book, you’re all set to disconnect from the outside world. Robert’s Creek is just past Gibsons and it’s close to Sechelt and Halfmoon Bay, with lots of trails and parks nearby to go exploring. For the art lovers, the Sunshine Coast has lots of unique shops and galleries to find inspiration at.
One of the province’s most magical getaways is just a short ferry ride away, on the quaint Mayne Island. This cob house is on a farm, where sheep and other critters roam around freely. You can even pick apples from the nearby orchard to feed to the sheep, right outside your front door. Cob is a natural building material made from subsoil, water and sometimes lime. This material makes the building fireproof and earthquake-proof, while also giving it a whole lot of character and a more whimsical look.
Often referred to as hobbit houses, these unique accommodations are highly-sought after worldwide. But not a lot of people know there’s one right here in BC. The interior is just as charming as the outside, and it just might be the definition of cozy—with a reading nook by the window, a wood-burning fireplace and string lights hanging throughout.
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