Betting on big – BC puts its money behind anchor attractions

Royal BC Museum
Photo: Royal BC Museum

The Government of B.C. says supporting the province’s major attractions is the smart thing to do, announcing new funding to shore up the tourism industry as it wobbles through a second pandemic summer.

They’ve opened applications for the $50-million BC Major Anchor Attractions Program. It will offer up to $1 million per attraction through one-time grants to attractions and tour bus companies. Eligible expenses include payroll, rent and utility costs related to restarting or ramping up operations in preparation for gradual reopening in alignment with provincial health orders. The funding is also available for not-for-profit organizations and businesses.

A recent media release says B.C.’s major anchor attractions “create jobs in communities throughout the province and draw visitors to other nearby businesses. Additionally, tour bus companies are an important link to bring travellers to regional destinations, attractions and experiences.”

Anthony Everett, President and CEO of Tourism Vancouver Island, applauds the new grant. “This funding is a critical component for the long-term survival and recovery of the tourism industry in the Vancouver Island region,” he says. “Anchor attractions bring visitors to the island and are essential to ensuring people include our region of British Columbia in their travel plans, now and for years to come.”

The application window will be open until June 7 with funds provided in July 2021. Examples of criteria and eligible organizations include:

  • major anchor attractions in urban centres that receive 75,000 or more visitors per year – eligible for up to $1 million.
  • major anchor attractions in rural areas that receive 15,000 or more visitors per year – eligible for up to $500,000.
  • tour bus companies that serve 30,000 or more passengers per year – eligible for up to $500,000.
  • examples of “turnstile” attractions eligible for the program include amusement parks, wildlife parks, botanical gardens, heritage institutions, museums, galleries and science centres.

“The new major anchor attractions and tour bus companies funding program is great news for the Greater Victoria visitor economy,” Paul Nursey – CEO, Destination Greater Victoria tells Douglas. “Our destination has many businesses that have faced challenges over the past year and should qualify for the program. This announcement is not a cure for our ailing industry though and we are still facing headwinds such as travel restrictions and border closures. Destination Greater Victoria will continue to advocate for a re-start plan and wants to see the visitor economy open as soon is it is safe to do so. The summer high season is approaching and many of our members need to generate revenue if they are going to survive 2021.”

More about the BC Major Anchor Attraction Program:

Further reading:

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