BC tourism businesses impacted by wildfires and highway closures want people to know their doors are open and their communities are safe for visitors.
Destination BC and the Province are making an urgent appeal to British Columbians and visitors: travel now to support local businesses in impacted communities. To spread the word, Destination BC has launched a marketing campaign aimed at British Columbians and travelers from Alberta and Washington State urging people to explore the province, especially in affected regions, through inspirational messages and stories of resilience.
Repeatedly, British Columbians have demonstrated their generosity and desire to support communities, businesses and neighbours, locally and throughout the province. People can and want to help, and by traveling now and through the fall, everyone can help support the businesses and people who work tirelessly to create exceptional experiences and vibrant, thriving communities for residents and visitors.
The Province is also supporting the BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association (BCRFA) to launch a new series of Dine Around promotions to immediately support restaurants in the most heavily hit communities by promoting different food specials and opportunities for guests to sip, savour, and stay, while enjoying the abundant flavours and fare that BC has to offer.
Wine Growers BC is encouraging fall travel to the nine wine regions in BC and enjoyment at home through its many hospitality and retail partners. While vineyards have been hard-hit by wildfires and other challenges of climate change, BC wineries are resilient, open for business, and eager to welcome visitors back – all while deepening the bonds between people and world-class, sustainable, 100% BC agri-food product.
For more trip inspiration, ideas, and planning, residents and visitors can explore HelloBC.com, #exploreBCnow and #exploreBC on Instagram and TikTok.
For those unable to travel now, gift cards are a great way to support these businesses today when they need it most, while planning a trip in the future. Accommodation providers, attractions and restaurants offer many gift card options to choose from.
Hon. Lana Popham, BC Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport
“This wildfire season has impacted people and communities in unprecedented ways, but I am so pleased our tourism businesses and operators are open for business and are celebrating the return of visitors. I encourage residents and visitors to travel now and throughout the fall and rediscover all that British Columbia has to offer.”
Maya Lange, Vice President of Global Marketing, Destination BC
“While this summer brought immeasurable challenges to many communities in the province, what has not wavered is the strength and resilience of the people – and the places – that make BC so special. While the seasons change, their spirit does not. This fall, British Columbians can show their support for BC by exploring BC. With open hearts and doors, businesses are ready to welcome you.”
Miles Prodan, President & CEO, Wine Growers British Columbia
“The BC wine industry stands together with our partners in hospitality and tourism sending an invitation to support local. This fall, Wines of British Columbia encourages BC wine lovers to celebrate harvest season by planning a trip to wine country, or seeking BC wine where it is most convenient for them: direct from online stores, the shelves of their local wine shop, or wine lists of their favourite restaurant.”
Ian Tostenson, President & CEO, BC Restaurant and Food Services Association
“In the face of adversity, the BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association is igniting a culinary Dine Around Series with the launch of ‘Dine Around Happy Hour,’ the inaugural chapter of a four-part tasting journey spanning September 2023 to June 2024. This initiative stands as a sign of hope, guiding our restaurants through the challenges posed by a drop in sales as a result of the devastating forest fires resulting in a tourism decline this last summer, as we rally behind our resilient restaurants, one happy hour at a time.”
Campaign Info and Quick Facts:
July and August are British Columbia’s peak tourism revenue and employment months. However, due to significant wildfire activity, many communities in BC have been negatively impacted due to wildfires, smoke, transportation infrastructure issues, and travel restrictions.
Data shows that accommodation occupancy drastically decreased in communities in the Okanagan, Shuswap, and Thompson Valleys as of August 18th. Early estimates indicate that approximately 20% of August revenues may be lost due to evacuation alerts/orders, travel bans, smoke/air quality.
Similarly, tourism partners on the west coast of Vancouver Island (Tofino, Ucluelet and Port Alberni) have also reported significant losses due to prolonged Hwy 4 closures and restrictions, after wildfires damaged roads and surrounding areas.
● Kelowna & area
● Southern Okanagan area
● Shuswap area
● West Coast (Tofino, Ucluelet, Port Alberni Valley)
● West Kootenays
This campaign was built using insights gained from Destination BC’s 2017/18 tourism disaster recovery research, which identified solidarity, confidence restoration and resilience as top themes that resonated with travelers following a wildfire.
Know Before You Go messaging will continue to be included to promote safe and responsible travel. Destination BC has provided messaging support, tools, and visual assets to the impacted communities, sector associations and businesses to support the coordinated approach.
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