MLA’s pen joint message on challenges the pandemic has placed on tourism in the Kootenays. (Black Press file image)

MLA’s pen joint message on challenges the pandemic has placed on tourism in the Kootenays. (Black Press file image)

Phase three presents new opportunities for Kootenay tourism

Message from MLA Michelle Mungall and MLA Katrine Conroy

The COVID-19 pandemic has been an extraordinarily difficult time for the tourism industry around the world, including the many people in the Kootenays whose livelihoods rely heavily on visitors to our region.

The challenges of travel restrictions and closed international borders have hit businesses and communities hard. Kootenay tourism operators, business owners, and workers in the sector have been making extraordinary efforts to find ways to weather the storm.

Our provincial government has been working hard to support the tourism sector through these tough times.

Tourism is vital to our area, and we’re determined to do what we can to help the sector get through this summer and ensure that we’re set up to make a strong recovery.

Since the COVID-19 state of emergency was announced in B.C., our government has taken measures to support the tourism industry and related small businesses.

This has included providing an extra $10 million to B.C. community destination marketing organizations to help them retain staff and continue supporting local businesses.

We provided $600,000 and secured $1 million in federal funds for the BC Tourism Resiliency Network, which has helped over 1000 tourism businesses access COVID-19 supports.

We’ve supported campaigns by Destination BC to promote domestic tourism, and we’ve extended other supports to small businesses such as cutting property tax bills for business, deferring payment of other taxes including PST, and allowing restaurants to purchase alcohol at wholesale prices.

Our colleague Lisa Beare, B.C.’s Minister of Tourism, Arts, and Culture, has been working closely with leaders in the tourism sector, and seeking input from the sector on how B.C.’s economic recovery plan can support the industry.

We will continue to look at new ways to keep bridging the gap for the sector until the day when international travel can safely begin again.

We know that challenges and frustrations will continue for many until the pandemic allows us to return to something more like normal.

As we face these challenges, it’s important to remember that B.C.’s successful management of the pandemic, and the sacrifices that so many people have made is what has allowed us to open the province for domestic travel earlier than other jurisdictions.

As difficult as it can be, we need to double down on the collective hard work we’ve all put into flattening the curve, so that we can continue to move safely along a path to re-opening and recovery.

With B.C. in Phase 3 of our COVID-19 recovery plan this summer, we are welcoming those visiting us from other provinces, particularly visitors from Alberta, while understanding that everyone in B.C.—residents and visitors alike—is expected to follow the Provincial Health Officer’s guidance.

This is also a great time to explore close to home, and take time to visit the places in your own region that you’ve wanted to see, but maybe never found the time before.

Wherever you are exploring this summer, practice good travel manners—researching your destination before you go, following COVID rules of hand-washing, physical distancing, and staying home if you’re sick—and encourage others to do the same.

Tourism is an important part of a sustainable economic future for our region, and our government will continue to be there to support the industry as we move through the months to come.

As Dr. Henry says, this is the summer of “fewer faces and bigger spaces”—and what better big spaces could there be than the mountains, lakes, and trails of the Kootenays!

Michelle Mungall, MLA for Nelson-Creston

Katrine Conroy, MLA for Kootenay West

CoronaviruskootenayTourism

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interfor’s Castlegar mill is getting $35 million in upgrades. Photo by: John Boivin
Interfor to invest $35 million at Castlegar mill

Project will enhance productivity and competitiveness

A medical worker prepares vials of the COVID-19 vaccines, Chinese Sinopharm, left, Sputnik V, center, and Pfizer at a vaccine centre, in the Usce shopping mall in Belgrade, Serbia, Thursday, May 6, 2021. Serbian authorities are looking for incentives for people to boost vaccination that has slowed down in recent weeks amid widespread anti-vaccination and conspiracy theories in the Balkan nation. The government has also promised a payment of around 25 euros to everyone who gets vaccinated by the end of May. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
38 new COVID-19 cases, more than 335k vaccines administered in Interior Health

Interior Health also to start targeted vaccinations in high transmission neighbourhoods

FILE PHOTO
Second doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be available, as AstraZeneca supply runs low: Interior Health

Province expecting large volumes of Pfizer BioNTech as age-based cohort immunization program ramps up

Greg Nesteroff and Eric Brighton, the historians behind popular Facebook page Lost Kootenays, are set to release a book of the same name and have just unveiled its cover showing the ghostly Hotel in Slocan City shortly before its 1953 demolition. Photo courtesy of Greg Nesteroff and Eric Brighton.
Popular historical Facebook page Lost Kootenays set to release book

128-page hard copy documenting history of East and West Kootenays coming this fall

Paul Chung is working as an early childhood educator at Cornerstone Children’s Centre in Nelson. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
Immigration pilot targets hard-to-fill jobs in West Kootenay

Program helps newcomers get permanent residency status in rural areas

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

The dash cam footage, taken May 7 at 8:18 a.m. belonged to the driver of a southbound vehicle that recently travelled out of the tunnel. (Reddit/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Dash cam captures dramatic rollover crash on Highway 99

Only one person sustained injuries from the collision, says B.C. Ambulance Services

Chevy stranded on a ledge above a rocky canyon at Mimi Falls near Logan Lake, April 28, 2021. (Photo credit: Margot Wikjord)
Police officer and fire chief team up in risky rescue of stranded dog near Logan Lake

Chevy, a rescue dog, needed rescuing again after getting stuck on a ledge above rocky canyon

Police were on the scene of a fatal shooting in Abbotsford. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. government to give more than $8 million for programs to curb gang violence

221 not-for-profit projects led by local governments and school districts among others will receive a one-time grant

Gord Judson steers his log truck down a forest service road, using two-way radio and call signals to mark his position for oncoming traffic. (B.C. Forest Safety Council)
Planning some B.C. wilderness fishing? Don’t catch a log truck

Remote recreation areas bracing for heavy pandemic pressure

Most Read