May 11, 2021
Request to Collaborate on a Restart Plan for the Tourism Industry
Response from Hon. Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport
Dear Walt Judas and Ingrid Jarrett:
Thank you for your letter of April 6, 2021, regarding your request to collaborate with Government on creating a restart plan for the tourism industry. As Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport (Ministry), I am pleased to respond on behalf of Honourable John Horgan, Premier.
Thank you again for attending the tourism industry engagement roundtable with Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer, and Neilane Mayhew, Deputy Minister, Ministry, and me on April 12, 2021. As you are aware, Dr. Henry addressed tourism-specific restart planning during this call.
Government continues to monitor the high transmission rates in British Columbia (B.C.), across Canada, and in other countries, including the various COVID variants. Despite the progression of our vaccination plan, transmission rates remain too high to confirm a restart plan at this time, and our immediate focus must continue to be on efforts to reduce cases and outbreaks. As Dr. Henry emphasized, the best thing we can do as an industry is to keep working together to reduce the risk of transmission until vaccination rates increase.
We are anticipating that we will be developing a safe restart plan towards the end of May, and over the next several weeks, will have further engagement and dialogue with industry to inform this work. Specifically, our aim is to use the Tourism Advisory Table as a forum for discussion on restart planning. As members of that table, I look forward to hearing from both of you in those discussions. At the same time, the Ministry is working with Destination BC on strategies to encourage intra-provincial and inter-provincial travel, once health authorities tell us that it is safe to do so.
I acknowledge that people working in the sector continue to face uncertainty, and I would like to assure them that Government is committed to working with industry on building a strong restart plan that works for tourism. When it is safe to welcome visitors back in B.C., we will be ready to welcome visitors to our world class destinations all across B.C.
Thank you again for writing.
Hli Haykwhl Ẃii Xsgaak
Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport
pc: Honourable John Horgan
Honourable Ravi Kahlon
Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation