The B.C. government will provide up to $50 million in grants to help the hard-hit tourism sector recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The B.C. Major Anchor Attractions program will help businesses offset costs for things like payroll, rent, utilities and other costs once they are able to resume normal operations as more British Columbians get vaccinated.
“Right now, people in tourism are hurting. In fact, few sectors have been hit as hard by COVID-19 as the tourism sector,” said Premier John Horgan. “We need to focus on what we do coming out of the pandemic.”
Anchor attractions in urban centres that receive 75,000 or more visitors per year will be eligible for grants up to $1 million, the government said Tuesday.
Major attractions in rural areas that receive 15,000 or more visitors per year, and tour bus companies that serve up to 30,000 per year, will be eligible for grants up to $500,000.
On Vancouver Island, Horgan said Butchart Gardens will be eligible for the grant as well as various tourism bus operators.
“The loss of these organizations would undermine the tourism industry’s short-term recovery prospects,” said Tourism Minister Melanie Mark.
The province will begin accepting applications from anchor attractions and tour bus companies throughout B.C. on Tuesday.
The application window will remain open until Monday, June 7, with funds being provided in July 2021.