The province has distributed over $36 million to more than 80 of B.C.'s major “anchor” tourist attractions to help them recover from the impacts of COVID-19.
The funding was part of the provincial government's previously promised $50 million aid for tourist operators across B.C.
In total, $36.5 million was allocated to 83 anchor attractions and tour bus companies across the province, including the Richmond Night Market.
“These are grants, not loans,” said Tourism Minister Melanie Mark, speaking from the Richmond Night Market Friday morning, which is set to open tonight (July 23) for the first time since the pandemic hit.
“They will be available to places like the night market, to help pay for rent, utilities or payroll. Organizations can use the funding to ramp up their operations as the province continues to reopen.”
Major attractions in urban centres with 75,000 or more visitors a year were eligible for grants of up to $1 million, while major attractions in rural areas that receive more than 15,000 or more visitors a year, and tour bus companies that serve 30,000 or more passengers per year, were eligible for up to $500,000.
The announcement comes as B.C. is in phase three of its restart plan, and just days after the provincial government declared a provincial state of emergency due to wildfires.
In addition to the night market, recipients include the PNE, Butchart Gardens, International Dragon Boat Festival and Science World, among others.
“These are places that visitors spend money, at local restaurants, to support small businesses, go to the pub afterwards, stay at a hotel, go to the casino,” said Mark. “That is what I imagine people will be doing after they experience the night market today.”