With the Province’s announcement of a $50-million BC Major Anchor Attractions Program, tourism companies are clamoring for one-time grants that can be accessed to help ease worries about uncertain summer due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Major anchor attractions in urban centres that receive 75,000 or more visitors per year are eligible for up to $1 million while major anchor attractions in rural areas that receive 15,000 or more visitors per year can receive up to $500,000.
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.
“They would all fall under the Urban areas funding stream,” Kredba explained. “As one example, our largest attraction is the Fort Langley National Historic Site, and they see visitation of around 90,000 people a year. Still, they would not qualify based on the requirement of being owned by a BC resident.”
The Greater Vancouver Zoo would be the next largest attraction, but again, looking through the requirements, Kredba said she didn’t think they would be able to apply.
“All our other attractions, such as the Museum of Flight, BC Farm Museum etc., don’t see the required 75,000 visitors a year,” she added.
Kredba still felt that while the Township of Langley may not see a direct benefit, the funding still certainly has the potential for indirect benefit and is positive news for the tourism industry.
“To have the major attractions in our province receive support hopefully will make a difference, and when we can welcome visitors back to BC, we will remain the vibrant destination we are known to be,” Kredba explained.
Tourism Langley is a Destination Marketing Organization (D.M.O.), and not-for-profit society that aims to draw visitation to the area.
“Langley City is quite unique in that we don’t have traditional tourist attractions or tour bus companies that we would expect to qualify for the funding,” Gervais said. “We would still encourage the limited number of attractions we have in the City and surrounding areas to submit an application.”
Gervais noted that Langley City thrives on visitors coming to attend events likes Arts Alive and the McBurney Summer Series concerts and shows.
“They come to attend conferences, sports tournaments and the International BBQ competition,” she said. “So while other communities have those formal attractions, we find our own path to encouraging visitors and contribute to the benefits of welcoming visitors to Langley City.”
People can find out more and apply for the grant at www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/economic-recovery/attractions-program.
The application window will be open until June 7 with funds provided in July 2021.
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