Fourteen organizations in Vancouver will receive a total of more than $2.9 million in funding to help boost the local tourism industry and improve visitors’ experience.
“This fund is helping tourism operators create new and enhanced experiences to attract more visitors from here and also from around the world,” said Harjit Sajjan, minister of international development, in the announcement made today, April 17.
“We wanted to make sure that organizations that had already been providing vibrancy and economic opportunity could continue to do so. So rather than having a smooth start, we wanted to have a very quick acceleration and actually improve.”
The fund, delivered through the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada (PacifCan) as part of Ottawa’s $500 million tourism relief fund, will help restore or support popular local festivals such as the Vancouver Fringe Festival and Dragon Boat Festival, revitalize cultural venues such as the Granville Island Stage and create new public spaces and experiences such as in Gastown.
Among the recipients, Destination BC received $836,000, the Greater Vancouver International Film Festival Society received $500,000, Latincouver Cultural and Business Society received $355,000 and the Coastal Jazz and Blues Society received $250,000.
“Over the two previous years, an entire generation of festivals and events workers have left the field. Many, many once vibrant businesses are closed and the cost of operating has soared immensely, which made the prospect of hosting large scale public facing events challenging and risky,” said Kyle Fostner, executive director of Vancouver International Film Festival.
“That's why this funding was so fundamental for that and for many of our peers. Rather than shrinking from the challenge, we were able to accelerate the restart of industries of tourism and culture.”
The funding is expected to create around 430 jobs, primarily for women, youth, visible minorities and Indigenous people, and to attract more than 514,000 new visitors to Vancouver, according to Sajjan.
Last month, the federal government announced $1.8 million in tourism relief funding to revitalize the Vancouver Chinatown neighbourhood.