Pacific Northwest
Vancouver Island braces for a slow tourism season. (NEWS file photo)

CANADA - 23 to 25 per cent of Island tourism businesses expected to close for good due to COVID-19

New program aims to help as many as possible survive through the summer

It’s a “grim reality” for tourism right now on Vancouver Island, says Anthony Everett, with 23 to 25 per cent of Island tourism businesses expected to close for good due to COVID-19.

Everett is the CEO of Tourism Vancouver Island, which has launched a program aimed at helping tourism-based businesses on the Island. Everett said the program is all about trying to get businesses through a very slow summer.

”It’s a four billion dollar industry, a major employer, major economic driver for the whole island,” he said. “The whole Island is really unique in the sense that there’s very few places in Canada or in the province that are built on the tourism economy.”

RELATED: B.C. tourism seeks relief as businesses wait for COVID-19 restrictions to ease

Through a partnership with Island Coastal Economic Trust, TVI put together the Tourism Resiliency Program.

”It was really early on and we were able to change our whole organization in about a week, actually,” says Everett.”We turned it all around because the businesses we were talking to every week – their number one issue is that they needed help finding how they accessed all those government programs that were coming out at that time.”

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