Several Vancouver Island tourism attractions and tour bus operators in B.C. will receive grants of up to $1 million to help them recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the province says.
Anchor attractions including Butchart Gardens successfully applied for the Major Anchor Attractions program, with grants going to 23 urban attractions, 34 rural attractions and 26 tour-bus operators.
Vancouver Island attractions receiving grants include:
- Butchart Gardens (Brentwood Bay)
- Craigdarroch Castle Historical Society (Victoria)
- CVS Tours Ltd. (Victoria)
- Jamie’s Whaling Station Ltd. (Tofino)
- LA Limousine (Victoria)
- Milner Gardens (Nanaimo)
- Ocean Outfitters Ltd. (Tofino)
- Orca Spirit Adventures Ltd. (Port Renfrew)
- Prince of Whales Whale and Marine Wildlife Adventures (Telegraph Cove, Vancouver, Victoria)
- Remote Passages (Tofino)
- Smith Transportation Ltd. (Nanaimo)
- The Butchart Gardens Ltd. (Brentwood Bay)
- Tofino Botanical Gardens (Tofino)
- Tofino Bus Services Inc. (Tofino)
- West Coast Aquatic Safaris Ltd. (Tofino)
- Wilson’s Transportation Ltd. (Victoria)
Grant money can go toward rent, utilities, payroll and any other costs incurred while trying to restart or continue operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, the province said.
“Today is an exciting day for our major anchor attractions that, because of the restrictions that have been in place throughout the pandemic, made sacrifices to keep us all safe,” Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport, said in a statement.
“The sector called on government to provide grants, not loans, and we worked with tourism sector leaders to make sure these vital businesses and non-profits can continue to employ residents and draw visitors to attractions throughout B.C.”
Applications for the grant program opened June 7. Major urban attractions that receive 75,000 or more visitors per year were eligible for $1-million grants, while those in rural areas that receive 15,000 visitors or more were eligible for up to $500,000.
Tour bus operators serving 30,000 or more passengers were also eligible for up to $500,000.
The province said a total of $36.6 million was handed out for the grants.