B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks about economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic at the B.C. legislature, June 17, 2020. (B.C. government)

B.C. Liberals criticize Horgan’s economic recovery plan for excluding tourism sector representation

The Economic Recovery Task Force began meeting weekly on conference calls in April

By Breanne Massey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Columbia Valley Pioneer

Official Opposition B.C. Liberal Tourism Critics Doug Clovechok and Michelle Stilwell recently completed four digital town halls to learn more about the economic impacts of each region’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The tourism industry is flat out on its back,” Clovechok concluded after the June 10 meeting. “It’s on life support… and it’s clear that there’s absolutely no [economic] plan for tourism to survive so far.”

Clovechok who is the Columbia River-Revelstoke riding Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) also sits on the Select Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs. He has been advocating for B.C. Premier John Horgan to develop an economic recovery plan for the tourism sector and to include a tourism sector spokesperson on the Economic Recovery Task Force.

ALSO READ: B.C. ready for in-province travel, John Horgan says

The Economic Recovery Task Force began meeting weekly on conference calls on Thursday, April 2 with Premier Horgan, Finance Minister Carole James, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Competitiveness Michelle Mungall with businesses such as the B.C. Chamber of Commerce, Vancouver Board of Trade, the B.C. Federation of Labour, non-profit sectors and First Nations.

“COVID-19 is not only a public-health challenge, but also an economic one. People and businesses urgently need support,” said Premier Horgan said in a recent news release. “We will be there to protect people’s health and give immediate relief during the crisis. This task force will help us keep in close contact with community leaders to ensure the steps we are taking now are working and to plan for a long-term economic recovery after the crisis has passed.”

ALSO READ: Cross-Canada group calls for reopening of travel, tourism

With nearly 70 participants from the Columbia River-Revelstoke riding raising alarm bells about their concerns for the tourism sector, Clovechok is adamant this issue demands more attention.

“We have to stress, it’s the single biggest impact the tourism industry has seen since the end of World War II,” said Clovechok.

Clovechok and Stilwell opted to run regional engagement sessions through B.C. to learn more about what small-and-large tourism operators need to promote “staycation travel” throughout their home province. Clovechok believes British Columbians need to feel safe, have some economic stability and some savings in order for the tourism sector to begin making a recovery in the long-term.

“There is a $2.5 billion GDP contribution from tourism to B.C.,” said Clovechok. “That’s more than forestry, more than agriculture and more than mining. This Premier is completely ignoring this (tourism) sector and the biggest insult is that he did not appoint anybody from tourism to sit on the board from tourism. It just boggles my mind.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CoronavirusTourism

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. announces regional cancer treatment centre to be included in new Surrey hospital

Services expected to include treatment, supportive care, research, education, innovative technologies

Fraser Health warns of possible COVID-19 exposure at Surrey hookah lounge

Health authority says exposure dates are July 31 to Aug. 2

Politicians want Surrey’s Civic Distinction Awards done ‘virtually,’ not postponed

City staff recommended they be put off to the fall of 2021 because of the pandemic

Illegal suite a concern for Cloverdale man

Despite a City-issued stop-work order, construction continues

Two new recycling trucks on the way for White Rock

Council approves higher cost to reduce operations yard problems

B.C. would not send students back to school if there was ‘overwhelming risk’: Horgan

Plan has left many parents across the province worried about their children’s safety

Face masks will be mandatory for customers at all Walmart locations

Requirement goes into effect on Wednesday, Aug. 12 across Canada

2016 kidnapping, extortion by Hells Angels member related to Hope cannabis grow ops

Various Hope area grow ops connected to distribution network in Edmonton, court documents detail

Masks to be mandatory on BC Transit, TransLink starting Aug. 24

Both BC Transit and TransLink made the announcement in separate press releases on Thursday

Penticton homes evacuated due to wildfire northwest of city

Emergency vehicles are at the scene near Sage Mesa, evacuation centre set up in Penticton

Building at Mission summer camp destroyed in fire, RCMP say arson suspected

Khalsa Centre summer camp was closed due to COVID-19, 17 staff were present on site

Drinking in two city parks to be allowed by Chilliwack council

Crossing and Vedder Park both designated for pilot project that encourages responsible drinking

British Columbians worried as end of COVID-19 rental supplement looms

Single mom struggles as supplement was her saving grace

Six-foot blood python missing in downtown Chilliwack

Owner is worried and reports the snake ‘more loving and gentle than a lil’ kitten’

Most Read