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Keeping visitors to the Kootenays safe during emergencies

Keeping visitors to the Kootenays safe during emergencies

June 1, 2019 at 11:21 pm  BC, News, Politics

Real-time information sharing during emergencies is one of the tools being developed to keep visitors to the Kootenays safer this summer.

“The last two summers of unprecedented wildfires were hard on tourism-dependent communities,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. “We know that one of the biggest challenges the industry faced was getting accurate, up-to-date information to visitors. This year, we’re helping the tourism sector prepare to keep visitors safe during emergencies and making sure tourism in affected areas can rebound quickly.”

The B.C. government is providing a total of $200,000 in one-time grants to support regional destination marketing organizations’ emergency preparedness, including $25,000 to the Kootenay Rockies Tourism Association.

“Timely, accurate information is essential in emergencies,” said Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness. “The tourism sector can play a critical role in keeping people safe, especially in rural and remote areas. This investment is helping the industry plan ahead so people can get the information they need, when they need it, keeping visitors safe and local economies strong.”

The regional destination marketing organizations will use this funding to create a common set of communications tools, emergency management training for regional teams and co-ordinators, and expand their tourism database to enable real-time information sharing in the event of an emergency. Together, these activities will help mitigate the effects of natural disasters on B.C.’s tourism reputation through better preparedness, co-ordination and communication.

“We’re extremely pleased to receive funding to address this critically important issue in our region,” said Kathy Cooper, CEO, Kootenay Rockies Tourism Association. “The support the ministry has provided is not only welcomed, but is very much needed at this critical time for the tourism industry. Over the next year, these dedicated funds will enable us to create an official crisis plan and communication tools, provide training and resources for our team and our stakeholders, and create a common tourism information database for this region to support tourism emergency mitigation, response and recovery. This will allow us to be better able to respond to and support our tourism partners in preparing and responding to natural disasters, such as wildfires.”

The government announced the grants as part of B.C. Tourism Week, May 26-June 2, 2019, which highlights the industry’s vital importance to B.C.’s economy by creating jobs, strengthening communities and promoting year-round tourism in all four corners of the province.

Learn More:

Learn how tourism operators can prepare for emergencies:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response-recovery/preparedbc

Learn more about how to personally prepare for an emergency:
http://www.emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca/

Read the minister’s statement on B.C. Tourism Week:
https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2019TAC0039-001066

A backgrounder follows.

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