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Ottawa, ON (June 24, 2020) - Tourism HR Canada today launched the COVID-19 Tourism Workforce Recovery Toolkit to guide the hard-hit industry as it works to recover and build resiliency for the medium to long term.

The COVID-19 Tourism Workforce Recovery Toolkit is a practical, free, web-based program that includes guidelines, workflows, checklists and tools focused on topics like finance, health and safety, human resources and change management to provide action items for tourism operators planning and launching their reopening and recovery efforts. The English version of the COVID-19 Tourism Workforce Recovery Toolkit is now available at tourismrecovery.ca; the French version will be released in the coming weeks.
 
“Since COVID-19 shutdowns began, the tourism industry has been decimated, with nearly 1 million people losing their tourism jobs and most businesses being temporarily closed,” said Philip Mondor, President and CEO of Tourism HR Canada. “With regions slowly allowing businesses and experiences to reopen there is not only hope but a determination to see a rebounding of the once-thriving sector and community as a whole.”
 
The toolkit includes five modules – Workforce, Communications, Budget & Finance, Marketing and Strategic Planning – and aligns with industry-specific tools already available from key oversight organizations. Each module provides businesses with a roadmap containing actionable tools and tips for implementation, linked to two key themes:

  • Plan: Design and establish policies, procedures and plans for major business and societal disruptions.
  • Respond: Navigate new pressures and address critical questions at the onset of a major disruption; enable rapid response and decision-making to prioritize effectively.

Recognizing there are varying needs and challenges faced within the broader tourism sector, SMEs can access comprehensive industry-specific HR content.
 
Delivering guidance and instructions for best practices, the contents of the toolkit were developed based on a series of in-depth interviews conducted with SMEs nationwide to understand their current reality and their future needs as the country rebounds from the impact of the pandemic. The toolkit is dynamic and will be updated regularly with new content – all focused on business recovery and resiliency – to reflect new information and market changes. Tourism HR Canada is also partnered with agencies and associations to ensure collaboration and a sharing of tools and resources across platforms to better serve the tourism community.
 
“The most important conversations taking place are about how to instil confidence in businesses and visitors that it will be economically feasible and safe to re-open and return to travel,” says Mondor. “The best way to do that is to outline a clear set of guidelines to be followed, provide resources and tools to be implemented and create education about how to move forward in these mid- and post-pandemic realities. With businesses following these measures, the public will feel assured that everything is done in order to maintain their health and safety and this will open up the concept of non-essential travel once again.”
 
The COVID-19 Tourism Workforce Recovery Toolkit was launched earlier today with a webinar hosted by Tourism HR Canada’s President and CEO, Philip Mondor. A recording of the webinar can be found at bit.ly/3dw8atV

 
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Vancouver, BC – June, 2020:  Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, downtown Vancouver’s “Castle in the City,” announced today that the hotel will reopen its doors to guests and visitors on Friday, July 3, 2020. The hotel closed on March 21, 2020, in an effort to support halting the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, marking the first time the doors were closed in the hotel’s 80 years of operation.

 

“Our top priority remains the safety, care and wellbeing of our Fairmont Hotel Vancouver family. Welcoming, safeguarding and taking care of others is at the very heart of what we do and who we are,” said Adam Laker, General Manager of Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. “This is an important moment in Vancouver as the community looks to continue reopening the city. The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver team remains committed to continuing to create lasting memories for both locals and visitors alike, while keeping our guests and employees safe by preventing the spread of COVID-19 – partnering with top experts to implement new standards of safety and enhanced operational protocols and procedures which are among the most stringent in the hospitality industry.”

 

The new operational standards being implemented at Fairmont Hotel Vancouver and at Fairmont properties across North & Central America were developed and vetted by a team of expert advisors to ensure maximum efficacy in preventing the spread of all viruses and pathogens, including COVID-19, with oversight by Bureau Veritas, a world leader in testing, inspections and certification; Dr. Amesh Adalja, Senior Scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security & fellow with the Infectious Diseases Society of America; and Ruth Petran, Ph.D., CFS, Senior Corporate Scientist, Food Safety and Public Health, for Ecolab, global leaders in cleaning and hygiene, and trusted advisors to the CDC.

 

At each touchpoint along the guest journey through Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, extensive measures are being taken to protect guests and employees. Standards such as physical distancing; mandatory screening for all guests and employees, including a temperature check; masks provided to guests and worn by all employees; a 48-hour “settling period” for occupied rooms post-departure; increased frequency of cleaning & disinfecting, with a focus on high-touch points; and continued use of EPA registered disinfecting chemicals, proven effective in preventing the transmission of COVID-19. Hands-on training for all employees, a dedicated on-property rollout committee and a formal audit program, validated under the global ALLSAFE Cleanliness label, ensure initial and continued compliance.

 

To celebrate the reopening of the hotel, Fairmont Hotel Vancouver will be offering a Stay Close offer that features one complimentary night with every night booked. This offer can be booked until July 16 and is available for stays through December 31, 2020, giving the opportunity for guests to books stays further in the future.

 

In order to ensure travelers can book with confidence, flexible rates are always available for booking, allowing change or cancellation up to 24 hours in advance of arrival. For guests who have booked a non-flexible rate directly with Fairmont Hotel Vancouver for travel through June 30, 2020, the hotel has adopted more flexible modification and cancellation policies to help guests and clients shift their travel plans as needed. For more information, please call the hotel directly at 604.684.3131.

 
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COAST SALISH TERRITORY (Vancouver, BC) –  June 23, 2020 –  The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) is pleased to receive $1.95 million for their sales and marketing recovery budget, thanks to an enduring partnership with Destination Canada.  

Since 2015, Destination Canada and ITAC have exchanged knowledge, expertise and market intelligence; facilitated, educated and consulted together on product readiness.  Destination Canada has also assisted ITAC in connecting travel trade to export-ready products through available programs while cooperating in marketing programs in countries of mutual interest.

“Canada’s tourism sector has been hit hard by COVID-19, and Indigenous tourism has been particularly affected,” says the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages. “Indigenous tourism operators welcome visitors to the lands they’ve called home for millennia, and it’s not hard to see why this was the fastest-growing part of our tourism industry before the crisis. This investment will help Indigenous tourism come back strong, supporting good jobs and playing a key role in our economic recovery.”

“This additional funding is critical for ITAC to support the recovery of the Indigenous tourism industry across Canada,” says ITAC’s President and CEO, Keith Henry. “These funds will not only support a national awareness campaign, they will also be distributed to our provincial and territorial Indigenous members to support their own local and regional marketing efforts.” 

This additional funding comes in time to support and enhance ITAC’s Destination Indigenous marketing campaign.  Destination Indigenous includes the release of a new experience booking web platform that will link travellers with export-ready Indigenous tourism businesses who are welcoming visitors this summer; a series of Zoom backgrounds showcasing Indigenous-experience imagery from each province and territory; and a video campaign called Virtually Yours to entice Canadian travellers.

Helping Indigenous tourism recover and become more resilient heading into summer is critical. Prior to 2020, Indigenous Tourism across Canada:

  • was outpacing all other tourism sectors in Canada for growth; 
  • was one of the largest single employers and economic drivers of Indigenous communities;  
  • contributed more than $1.6B annually to Canada’s direct GDP (in 2019; up from $1.4B in 2015)

Without significant financial and marketing support, Indigenous tourism operators are forecasted to go out of business before the end of the (non-existent) summer season with potential losses of $1.4B in GDP Contribution and more than 20,000 job losses.

“Indigenous visitor experiences are very important to our national tourism brand,” says David Robinson, Interim President and CEO, Destination Canada. “We value our partnership and the expertise ITAC brings to product development and marketing. Providing this needed support not only helps our sector but is also key to the recovery of local economies across the country including in many rural communities.”

ITAC thanks Destination Canada, the Honourable Minister Joly, the Honourable Minister Bennett and the Honourable Minister Miller, and their teams for continuing to listen and respond to the unique needs of the Indigenous tourism industry across Canada.

“More than ever, the tourism industry needs to work collaboratively and support each other, while reminding Canadians of the amazing cultural experiences available in their own backyards,” says Henry.

 
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COAST SALISH TERRITORY (Vancouver, BC) –  June 18, 2020 – Conference Board of Canada research conducted in partnership with the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC), shows that, compared to 2019, Canada’s Indigenous tourism sector will experience a 65.9 percent decline in direct GDP (down to $555 million) and a 59.4 percent decline in employment (down to 14,624 jobs) in 2020, due to COVID-19 and the global tourism industry grinding to a halt. These findings reflect the perspectives and business realities of Indigenous tourism operators who participated in a recent wide-scale survey of the sector. 

This is in stark contrast to 2019 when over 36,000 people worked in the Indigenous tourism sector, and its direct economic contribution exceeded $1.6 billion in GDP.  The Conference Board of Canada research estimates that around 714 Indigenous businesses could be at risk of closure in 2020-2021.  

“Since COVID-19 first hit the tourism industry across Canada, we had no doubt the negative impacts would be devastating to our Indigenous tourism operators, as it has been for all tourism operators across Canada,” says Keith Henry, ITAC’s President and CEO.  “While working with the Federal Government on Indigenous-led financial solutions, we knew it was important to invest in research even if it proves our greatest fears.”

Earlier this month, ITAC also released a four-year, $50 million Strategic Recovery Plan with the goal to respond, recover and rebuild the Indigenous tourism industry across Canada to levels experienced in 2019 by 2024.  The Indigenous tourism sector in Canada comprises at least 1,699 businesses and up until 2020, was showing a robust and positive growth trajectory, outpacing the overall Canadian tourism sector.

“We are pleased that over 500 Indigenous operators responded to the Conference Board of Canada’s bilingual survey.  The biggest concerns by members are on how long disruptions from COVID-19 will last and the enormous loss of revenues as a result,” says Henry.  “Our focus continues to be on Indigenous-led solutions to mitigate business closures so that the tourism industry across Canada continues to have a diverse range of authentic, high-quality Indigenous tourism experiences which we know from past research is in high demand globally.”

“What our research suggests is that adaptability and a phased approach will be needed to accommodate the different needs, time horizons and safety requirements of the diversity of Indigenous experience providers across Canada,” says Adam Fiser, Associate Director with The Conference Board. “Listening to communities, and working with their members and businesses will be fundamental to recovery and renewal.”    

The Conference Board of Canada’s research can be viewed here.

 

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