Province hands out ‘relief funding’ to tourism groups

Sunshine Coast Tourism (SCT) is among the 59 Destination Marketing Organizations (DMO) that will share in a $10-million grant to make up for lost revenue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

DMOs in B.C. get a large portion of their annual revenue through an accommodation tax, known as the municipal and regional district tax, or MRDT.

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Sunshine Coast Tourism has estimated its MRDT revenue last year came in at just under $400,000.

Speaking to Coast Reporter in April, SCT executive director Paul Kamon said the loss of the money from the accommodation tax had already forced the organization to lay off some staff and delay filling vacant positions.

He also said DMOs were hoping for bridge funding to make up for the loss, “so that we’re ready to go when the time comes.”

In the release announcing the funding, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture said, “Without this relief funding, community DMOs would be unable to operate and support economic recovery efforts in the tourism sector.”

Tourism Minister Lisa Beare said the pandemic has left a major economic engine and job creator in the province “struggling” and investments in the tourism sector’s recovery will help create jobs and spur economic growth throughout the province.

Nancy Small, chair of the BC Destination Marketing Organization Association, welcomed the funding boost, saying it would give many of DMOs the ability to continue operating and to plan for the future.

“As we look onwards to reopening and restarting the visitor economy, community DMOs are well placed to create effective marketing and development campaigns that will drive visitors to their communities across our beautiful province,” said Small.

 

 

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