Updated: Grant helps Tourism Richmond focus on staycations

Tourism Richmond received a provincial grant of just over $922,000 to help promote local travel, making up for shortfalls in hotel tax revenue that has dropped off during COVID-19 pandemic. 

Using this funding, Tourism Richmond is launching three new programs to encourage people from across Metro Vancouver to spend their holiday dollars close to home.

Richmond’s tourism and hospitality sector normally brings in more than a billion dollars per year into the city and employs about 12 per cent of the workforce – this has been hit hard by air travel and land border restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Furthermore, the hotel tax usually provides Tourism Richmond with operating dollars, for example, in 2018, they received about $4 million.

Two surveys by Tourism Richmond showed 61 per cent of residents were comfortable welcoming visitors from Metro Vancouver in July.

“Small businesses such as restaurants, retailers and independent tourism operators make up a large portion the hospitality and tourism industry, and we know they’re more than ready to welcome visitors,” said Nancy Small, chief executive officer of Tourism Richmond.

One marketing campaign – which will be advertising in social and traditional media - is branded “Travel Afar. Near.” And encourages people from the region to visit Richmond landmarks such as the Gulf of Georgia Cannery, Britannia Shipyards and the city’s restaurants.

There will also be a marketing campaign to encourage overnight stays at Richmond hotels with American Express gift cards as incentives.

An app called “Pacific. Authentic. Discovery Passport” will offer discounts and special offers to Richmond restaurants, shops and attractions as well as the chance to win a prize for patronizing local businesses.

For more information about Tourism Richmond, and to learn more about these programs, go to www.visitrichmondbc.com.

© Richmond News