By Carla Mont, Destination British Columbia

British Columbians are passionate about adventure—whether climbing the highest Kootenay Rockies peaks with a guide, sipping wine in an Okanagan vineyard, or casting a line in a fishing boat off the shores of Vancouver Island. Today, however, we’re living a reality that prevents us from exploring BC’s big, beautiful backyard, so we can slow the spread of COVID-19.

Harper's Trail Winery. Photo Credit: Candace Hansma

Our current focus is on staying home, and this reality means that small businesses—the lifeblood of many tourism experiences—are shouldering the weight of the virus’s impact. More than 90 per cent of the province’s 19,000 businesses have fewer than 50 employees, and while some operations are showing their support to those on the front lines, many are not in a position to do so, as they’ve had to pause operations indefinitely.

So, how do we help our local industries survive? After all, these are more than businesses—these people connect us to the world around us, to our roots and to other cultures; they offer rich experiences that inspire us, fire up our imaginations, and offer a feeling of belonging. They are integral to the communities we live in and lean on today, as well as to the communities that will help us explore later, when the time is right.

Here are seven ways to support British Columbia’s travel industry—now.