The Metro Vancouver Tourism and Hospitality Industry Response and Recovery Task Force, an umbrella group representing almost 75 organizations in the travel and tourism sector, is applauding the provincial government’s announcement regarding the move into Phase Three of BC’s Restart Plan. Among several key element outlined as allowed Phase Three, the Plan states that British Columbians “can take part in smart and safe travel within B.C.”
As Phase Three begins, survey data collected by the Task Force and its member organizations proves that a majority of Metro Vancouver restaurants, as well as retail outlets and attractions, are now ready and willing to welcome visitors back. “We couldn’t be more pleased with the decision by provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry to authorize this step forward, and we appreciate the opportunity that expanded movement represents for so many businesses in the visitor economy,” said Chief Executive Officer for Tourism Richmond and Task Force Co-Chair, Nancy Small. “In anticipation of today’s announcement, we’ve been working hard to assess the extent to which a range of food service, retail outlets and Metro Vancouver attractions have made the changes necessary to provide visitors with equally safe and enjoyable experiences,” Small said.
Working collaboratively with partners including Tourism Vancouver, the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association, Tourism Richmond, Tourism Burnaby, and the local chapter of the national Breaking Bread Initiative, data has been gathered through a *Status of Business Operations Survey. The survey, which has polled businesses directly, as well as amalgamating results from multiple sources, shows that of 878 Metro Vancouver businesses reviewed, fully 77% (675 businesses) were open and ready to serve guests. While most respondents were in the food service category, almost 90 attractions and nearly 50 retail outlets were included in the analysis.
“Members of the tourism and hospitality sector have responded quickly to new provincial regulations required to ensure safe guest interactions and we applaud them for those efforts,” said Small. “What we hope to see now, as the province’s Phase Three has been launched, is for Metro Vancouver residents to come out and take advantage of the incredible range of experiences that are on offer all around us.”
The Business Operations Survey confirmed that world class attractions such as Grouse Mountain are waiting to welcome guests, as are countless restaurants, some of which have expanded into outdoor spaces, to ensure full compliance with physical distancing. The ‘Fly Over Canada’ experience at Canada Place has reopened to visitors, and by early July there will be opportunities for real adventure – through such activities as whale watching tours, leaving from the seaside village of Steveston in Richmond. Though accommodations were not included as part of the survey, many hotels across the Lower Mainland have implemented a wide range of re-opening best practices, including additional cleaning and contactless payment systems, thus expanding room inventory for overnight guests.
Information on attractions within various areas of Metro Vancouver can be found through corresponding marketing organizations, such as Tourism Vancouver, Tourism Richmond, Tourism Burnaby and other tourism-focused websites. “The devastating effect that COVID-19 has had on every facet of the travel and hospitality sector is now well understood,” said Small, “so every incremental step that we can take, to welcome folks back, is vitally important.”