We feel you! For the past couple of weeks, the entire Tourism Kamloops team has been in a constant state of change and while our focus has remained on providing support and resources to help many of you weather the chaos and uncertainty, we have been diligently revising budgets and plans to ensure this support and resources ensued.
Since our last update, we too have wrestled with the unknown. As our accommodation industry witnessed deep dives in occupancy rates, many into the single digits, and the government deferred Municipal Regional District Tax (MRDT) collection and remittances until September 30th, our funding sources were hit by 90%. Like many of you, we delivered temporary lay-off notices to 9 of our team members advising that March 31st would be their last day. Just 24 hours prior to most of our team’s departure, the federal government announced the 75% wage subsidy. After much sleuthing, we were grateful to learn that Tourism Kamloops qualified for this subsidy and that we would be able to retain our team fully. With this news in hand, our team immediately dug in to revise strategies, align tactics with regional and provincial partners, engage stakeholders and celebrate remarkable businesses and locals.
Knowing that promoting travel to Kamloops will not be an option for the foreseeable future, we’ve activated a plan to respond to the crisis, plan for recovery and lean into local. Joining forces with seven other community business leaders, we’ve launched #YKAStrong to deliver streamlined information and resources to Kamloops businesses and celebrate business pivots and locals who rise in this time of need.
While we may not be inviting people in to experience Kamloops as a tourism destination, now is the time we need show local businesses our love and keep our visitor audiences engaged and inspired. When it is safe to do so, Kamloops will open our welcoming arms wide. We are well positioned to be a destination of choice for our target markets and have our sights set to activate our destination marketing tactics when the time is right.
Until then, our priority is to ensure you are taken care of, provided the information you require to make the best decisions for your businesses, and do everything we can to help you remain buoyant and resilient.