With borders closed, cruise ships at bay, and self-isolation mandated for anyone entering B.C., the tourism and travel industry has been hit hard in the wake of COVID-19. However, as B.C. inches toward opening up further as we follow the government's Restart Plan, more residents are gearing up to get out and about a bit more - especially within our own Metro Vancouver region.
Tourism Vancouver - the entity typically focused on ensuring out-of-province visitors have plenty to do while in the city - wants to encourage locals to take this closer-to-home time in the coming weeks and months to explore what's in our own backyard, including supporting local businesses that comprise the city's tourism industry.
Called #VancouverComeBack, Tourism Vancouver describes the campaign as "a celebration of the resilience of the city and region as citizens have navigated the coronavirus pandemic to flatten the curve." Their goal is to "unite locals with the spirit of travel and encourages Metro Vancouverites to come back to experiences and businesses that make the destination special."
“We have seen an outpouring of compassionate and innovative ways residents of our city are uniting to support their communities as the pandemic has unfolded over the last few months,” said Ted Lee, Acting CEO, Tourism Vancouver. “As we begin to transition slowly into the recovery phase, we want to encourage Metro Vancouverites to get out and revisit their favourite restaurants or treat themselves to a staycation at a hotel – to come back to their Vancouver.”
The campaign site is divided into sections: Flavour, which connects users to a database of local restaurants offering take-out, delivery, and/or dine-in; Getaways, which details accommodation options in the region if you want to embark on a true staycation; and Adventure, which features ways to enjoy Vancouver by water, on the seawall, or through urban adventuring.
While we might be sticking close to home, and focusing on adhering to Dr. Bonnie Henry's guideline for "fewer faces in big space," that still leaves room for safe venturing out of our houses and into the community at large. Many of our local arts and culture venues are re-opening their doors, and restaurants have been welcoming customers to dine-in since late May. Small locally-owned businesses, including many which depend on tourists spending at this time of year, may be letting fewer people in at a time, but are still open for business. And there are opportunities to save while you spend. Hotels in the region, for example, are offering some appealing discounts and deals for local guests, too.
Tourism Vancouver acknowledges that with provincial mandates in place for physical distancing and other health and safety protocols, some services and experiences may be limited. However, they plan to keep updating the "Come Back" online hub with more businesses that do come back, so Vancouverites can find plenty of great places to visit, dine, and shop when they do.