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COVID-19 | Tourism Sector Update | April 16th, 2020

As the effects of COVID-19 on our tourism sector continue to be felt by small business owners, tourism marketing organizations, hotels, & other hospitality businesses, Tourism Prince Rupert continues to advocate for tourism relief & provide resources to help support recovery efforts in the months following this difficult time. 

NDIT Announces Small Business Recovery
Consulting Rebate Program
Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDIT) recently announced a new funding program to help businesses plan response, recovery, and business continuity activities in response to COVID-19. The Small Business Recovery (SBR) Consulting Rebate program is now in place to help businesses impacted by the economic downturn due to COVID-19 by covering the cost of a consultant to help the business plan for & respond to COVID-19. Eligible consulting projects include: 
  • Business planning and strategic planning
  • Business continuity planning and emergency response planning
  • Market development and e-commerce development
  • Business coaching
  • Human resource management
  • Operations/operational efficiency/process improvement or changes (transition to digital platforms)
  • Quality and safety management
  • Cash flow and financial management system
  • Inventory management
  • Marketing strategies, brand development/evolution and web development
Tourism businesses and operators in Northern Development’s service region are eligible to apply.

Read more and apply to NDIT's SBR Program. 
Destination BC Releases New "Virtual Experiences" Toolkit
It's difficult for tourism businesses to market themselves right now without inadvertently advertising non-essential travel. To help with this challenge, Destination BC has created a toolkit to help you bring the sights and sounds of your experience, attraction, or destination to visitors, so they can enjoy what you have to offer from the comforts of their homes. 

Download the Virtual Experiences Best Practices Guide here. 
Updates for Hotel Sector
Last week, the BC government announced hotels and other types of accommodation are deemed essential services. To support safe operation and prevent virus transmission, the Province partnered with the BC Centre for Disease Control to produce a helpful resource titled COVID-19 Guidance to the Hotel Sector.
Download the BCDC Guide for Hotels Here
On Tuesday, a new partnership with BC’s hotel sector was formed to support vulnerable British Columbians who need a place to self-isolate, to reduce the spread of COVID-19. So far, the Province has secured more than 900 spaces, at 23 sites including hotels, motels and community centres throughout BC, but more is needed. 

If you are interested and available to support at this time, please email the BC Hotel Association at with the following details:
  • Property Name
  • General Manager
  • City
  • Phone
  • Email
  • How many rooms you have available, including the number of rooms with:
  • Kitchens
  • Refrigerators
  • Restaurant on site or close by for takeout (yes/no)
  • COVID-19 Room Rate
Update on Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
The Government of Canada has released new information on adding measures for more flexibility for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS). 

Read the most recent updates here. 

Tourism businesses still unable to access CEWS funding may still be eligible for the originally announced 10% wage subsidy, which has much broader criteria and no specific application process. While we continue to advocate for broadening of CEWS criteria to meet tourism industry needs, as well as more industry-specific support soon, this may be an opportunity for some businesses immediately.

Details on the subsidy can be found here.
Canadian Chamber Launches Canadian Business Resilience Network
The Canadian Business Resilience Network, developed by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the Government of Canada, is a central hub for businesses to find credible information, the latest news and insights, and tools and resources to support continuity efforts – from development to implementation.

Learn more about the CBRN here. 
Support for Indigenous Tourism Businesses
ITBC's Emergency Relief Fund
Indigenous Tourism BC has developed the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund Program to provide immediate, short-term financial grants to market-ready Indigenous tourism businesses in BC. Applications are open until April 16. 
Learn More Here. 

ITAC's Development Stimulus Fund
The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada's COVID-19 Development Stimulus Fund will provide $1.2 million in support to Indigenous tourism businesses from across Canada. Apply by April 30.
Learn More Here. 
Free Webinars for Small Business
Small Business BC are hosting a series of specialized free webinars to tackle the challenges faced by COVID-19. These webinars are geared at equipping businesses in our province with the skills and knowledge they need to survive the new realities of our COVID economy.

April 14 - Building A Remote Work Strategy For Your Small Business
April 17 - How To Choose An Online Collaboration Platform

This week’s Hotel Association of Canada webinar will focus on answering your employment questions as they relate to the Government’s new employment relief measures. You will learn how the programs work and what your obligations are as an employer if you choose to use this program.
Their guest speaker is Mark Ellis, partner at Baker McKenzie LLP, nicknamed by the BBC as “the SARS Czar” during that Toronto-based crisis. Mark will take attendees through the programs announced to date and field any questions you may have on how to operationalize these programs.

This session will be capped at 200 participants in order to ensure strong Q&A management, but it will be recorded.
April 17, 2020 at 11:00AM PT
Changes to Canada Summer Jobs Program
The federal government recently made some changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program to help small businesses hire and keep the workers they need so they can continue to deliver essential services.

The temporary changes to the program for this year include:
  • an increase to the wage subsidy, so that private and public sector employers can also receive up to 100 per cent of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage for each employee
  • an extension to the end date for employment to February 28, 2021
  • allowing employers to adapt their projects and job activities to support essential services
  • allowing employers to hire staff on a part-time basis
Learn more about the changes to Canada Summer Jobs here. 
Travel Advisory Updates
Please note that the following tourism-specific travel advisories are in place across BC & locally in Prince Rupert.
  • Tourism Prince Rupert is discouraging all leisure travel to Prince Rupert through our website and social media, using the suggested #explorebc...later messaging from Destination BC.
  • Note that all Air Canada flights from Prince Rupert (YPR) to Vancouver (YVR) are now suspended until May 31st. The Northwest Regional Airport in Terrace remains unaffected at this time. Read more here. 
  • The Government of Canada will defer the start of Canada’s cruise season from April 2, 2020, to July 1, 2020, at the earliest. All commercial marine vessels with a capacity of more than 12 passengers are also prohibited from engaging in non-essential activities, such as tourism or recreation. BC Ferries has issued an advisory to avoid non-essential travel until further notice. Read the official statement here. 
  • The following parks & trails in Prince Rupert are closed indefinitely:
    • Prudhomme Lake Provincial Park
    • Diana Lake Provincial Park
    • Kitson Island Marine Provincial Park
    • Rushbrook Trail
    • McClymont Trail
    • All municipal parks & playgrounds, including Sd52 school playgrounds
  • BC Parks has closed all Provincial Parks in British Columbia. Read the statement here.
  • BC Ferries is adjusting service levels across multiple routes to protect the health and safety of communities and its crew, ensure the resiliency of its service, and match service levels to current demand. At this time, the Northern Routes have not been affected. 
Summary of COVID-19 Resources
Local Resources
The City of Prince Rupert is continuously updating any local advisories or closures related to COVID-19 on their website. For a complete list, visit:

Prince Rupert's local MLA, Jennifer Rice, has also developed a resource with up-to-date information on the Provincial Government's response to COVID-19. To view this resource, visit:

The Prince Rupert & District Chamber of Commerce is also maintaining an up-to-date listing of businesses closures, hours, and operating status. Visit to learn more.

Tourism Resources
Destination BC is working with the provincial and federal governments, industry partners, and Health Authorities, to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on our tourism industry and advocate for a tourism-specific relief package. We are translating local concerns & fears regarding Prince Rupert’s tourism sector directly to Destination BC with our partners at Northern BC Tourism. 

Support Programs for Canadian Citizens / Residents
 A number of relief measures and specific support programs for Canadian residents have been announced. These are aimed at helping relieve the financial stress of job or income loss due to COVID-19, as well as to help support everyone’s ability to stay home & observe the recommended social distancing recommendations. 

Support Programs for Businesses
The immediate impacts of COVID-19 are being felt by businesses across British Columbia, Canada, and the world. The federal & provincial governments have introduced a numberof support programs to help support business continuity during this challengin economic time. 
For up to date information on the effects of COVID-19 on the tourism sector in British Columbia, please visit
Tourism Prince Rupert will be working hard to provide you with email updates regarding any new advisories or support programs as they are announced.

Please note we are only providing new information each week. For access to our past newsletters, please visit our Newsletter Archive page.

If you have any questions, please contact:

Ceilidh Marlow
Executive Director, Tourism Prince Rupert
Phone: 778-361-0440

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