VICTORIA – New Democrat MLAs Grace Lore and Lana Popham say new support from the BC NDP government will help anchor attractions and tour bus companies in Greater Victoria recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, attract visitors, and provide local jobs.
“Craigdarroch Castle and local whale watching companies highlight the beauty of Victoria while creating jobs for local residents” said Grace Lore, MLA for Victoria-Beacon Hill. “That’s why supporting our major attractions as they recover from the pandemic benefits our entire community. I am glad to say I have already noticed an increase in visitors in our downtown region, and through this funding local attractions will be well-equipped to welcome them.”
Tour bus companies receiving support include LA Limousines, Wilson’s Transportation, CVS Tours, and Tofino Bus Services. Local anchor attractions receiving funding include Craigdarroch Castle, Princes of Whales – Whale Watching Adventures, and Orca Spirit Adventures.
“With limited tourists coming in and out of the area, the pandemic was hard on our local tour bus companies,” said Lana Popham, MLA for Saanich South. “But whether you are heading to Tofino for a weekend of surfing or up to Butchart Gardens for the afternoon, tour buses are an essential part of exploring the Island. This funding will support them as they ramp up operations, hire more employees, and help showcase all that our region has to offer, once again.
This funding for Greater Victoria is part of a $35.5 million investment announced earlier this year by the BC New Democrat government. MLAs Lore and Popham said they are glad that people in Greater Victoria will benefit from this funding, as it will not only support people working in tourism but also help grow the local economy into the future.Organizations can use the grants to pay for rent and utilities, payroll and costs related to restarting or ramping up operations.
Grant funding to anchor attractions and tour bus companies was provided based on a combination of criteria: major anchor attractions in urban centres that receive 75,000 or more visitors per year were eligible for up to $1 million; major anchor attractions in rural areas that receive 15,000 or more visitors per year were eligible for up to $500,000; and tour bus companies that serve 30,000 or more passengers per year were eligible for up to $500,000.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the New Democrat government has worked closely with B.C.’s tourism sector and provided $225 million in support to ensure businesses and non-profits can continue to draw visitors and benefit local communities for years to come.
For a list of BC Major Anchor Attractions recipients by region, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/7-23_BCMAA.pdf