The Province is providing up to $200,000 to the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association, so they can assist local tourism businesses such as Historic Hat Creek after a devastating summer. Photo courtesy of Historic Hat Creek.

The Province is providing up to $200,000 to the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association, so they can assist local tourism businesses such as Historic Hat Creek after a devastating summer. Photo courtesy of Historic Hat Creek.

Cariboo Coast Chilcotin Tourism Association receives funding to help tourism businesses

Businesses that depend on tourism have taken a hit this summer because of the wildfires.

The Province is providing the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association (CCCTA) with financial support of up to $200,000 to help with tourism-related impacts from the B.C. wildfires. The funding was announced by Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Lisa Beare as she met with business owners and tourism operators in the Cariboo region last week.

The government and the CCCTA will work closely together to ensure that the funding targets the tourism recovery needs identified in the region. The Province is currently assessing the needs of those affected by the wildfires in order to support them in the best way possible in the days and weeks ahead.

Amy Thacker, the CEO of CCCTA, says she has not yet had any specific details about the funding. “In the short term we’re looking at advertising, and working with the ministry and with Destination BC to see what the key things are we can do to get revenue in the pockets of businesses before the season is gone.

“We’ll help in the short-term while working on long-term plans.”

When asked if the Ashcroft and Cache Creek areas fall under the CCTA umbrella, Thacker says that the communities are part of the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA). “But the regions work cooperatively via a memorandum of understanding in marketing the Gold Rush Trail. And CCCTA loves you.”

Thacker says that they will be working quickly over the next week in order to get people to visit businesses in the area in September and October.

“The highway closures have been devastating for the north and the south. We’re a touring destination, and there have been very significant economic impacts in July and August. There’s a lot of misinformation out there, and it’s on our radar to work with media and social media to get the right information out there.”

Destination BC, the industry-led Crown corporation that markets British Columbia globally as a tourism destination, is developing a provincial wildfire tourism recovery plan that will also support the tourism industry by working in close collaboration with the regional destination marketing organizations. The campaign has helped keep travellers informed on the areas in B.C. that are currently affected by evacuation alerts or orders, while ensuring tourists know that B.C. remains open for business in many parts of the province that are not affected by fires.

Tourism is a major economic driver in B.C., employing 127,000 people within the province, supporting nearly 19,000 tourism-related businesses, and contributing $7.4 billion toward the province’s gross domestic product.

Thacker says she is very optimistic about things moving forward, and encourages people to “know before you go” about the area you are interested in travelling to. “Call businesses and ask what their status is. We’ve seen an overwhelming response from neighbours, and host communities helping each other. Spend a dollar and help our small communities.”