Dear Accommodation Community,
The past week has been a busy one for your BC Hotel Association team.
Application intake opened for the Tourism Accommodation and Commercial Recreation Relief Fund, which will provide up to $15 million in grants to alleviate fixed-cost pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The grants will support large accommodation providers with over 150 employees through fixed cost relief, financially assist Indigenous accommodators with BC Hydro relief, and aid back country lodges and tourism businesses that have been burdened with lease and land tenure payments throughout the pandemic.
I would be remiss not thank and acknowledge the entire Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture & Sport -- under the incredible leadership of Minister Melanie Mark -- for their support, hard-work, and obvious commitment to our sector.
This provincial relief fund was a direct result of a considerable and long-winded effort to ensure that large accommodation providers receive much-needed financial assistance. With more than 149 employees, these larger operators were ineligible from previous supports given to our industry that included the Small and Medium-Sized Business Recovery Grant. As many of these businesses are locally owned and operated with deep roots in communities across BC, it was critical that they be included in the government funding.
Despite our relief that this grant has been made available, we know that some businesses will be ineligible for this relief, and may have never qualified for previous provincial or federal supports. Our resolve continues to see that each of you is provided with financial assistance to remedy losses endured over the course of the pandemic.
In partnership with go2HR and our industry stakeholders, we have been hard at work on developing our workforce framework and strategy. We are fast moving on this file and have secured a team to analyze and detail the contribution, value, and benefits our businesses provide to communities and employees. This is an incredibly important piece of our workforce recovery strategy as we develop a new narrative with defendable statistics provided by reputable economists and researchers.
My ask of you is to answer the pulse checks when we send them and to encourage others in our industry to do the same. Without real time data from you, it will be impossible for us to tell the true story of what it means to have a career in hospitality as we highlight the opportunities available, the value of our contribution, and the skill needed, among many other items.
Finally, we have been working hard with our partners at Western Community College (WCC) and Progressive Intercultural Community Services (PICS) to offer unemployed or underemployed individuals within the Lower Mainland, access to a FREE 23 week “Hotel Operations Services Skills Training Program”. This is an incredible opportunity for those looking to build their careers in the industry and we strongly encourage you to share this program with you network.
President and CEO
British Columbia Hotel Association