Queen Victoria arrives in Barkerville during the 2019 Victoria Day weekend celebrations. Barkerville Historic Town and Park typically opens in mid-May, but this year, due to COVID-19, the expected opening day has been pushed to June 18. (Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

B.C. tourism on track for in-province travel, John Horgan says

Premier expects essential-only travel advisory to be eased soon

B.C.’s COVID-19 essential-travel advisory could be lifted as soon as next week’s cabinet meeting to allow tourist attractions to invite out-of-town guests, Premier John Horgan says.

Emerging from his weekly cabinet meeting at the B.C. legislature June 10, Horgan hinted that a decision to lift the provincial travel advisory is imminent, as coronavirus cases continue to taper off in the province. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has been monitoring B.C.’s risk as schools and businesses reopen.

“I think the likelihood of us traveling inside of B.C. is very, very high,” Horgan said. “Dr. Henry wanted to wait for two incubation periods to make sure that the positive results we’ve been seeing over the past number of weeks continue. I think that we’re going to be hearing an announcement from government based on advice from Dr Henry and her team that internal travel can begin.”

Tourism-dependent businesses have issued dire warnings about being able to survive as restrictions have stretched toward three months. Destination B.C. has a province-wide marketing program ready to go, replacing the international promotion it usually runs, Horgan said.

RELATED: B.C. visitor centres get help with COVID-19 prevention

COLUMN: Residents should explore B.C. to help tourism industry

Barkerville, the gold rush town in the Cariboo, has set a tentative reopening date of June 18, and the province is on track to allow that as long as coronavirus cases don’t spike up. Some remote and Indigenous communities have indicated they don’t want visitors, and Henry has advised that communities are free to make that determination based on their local conditions.

B.C. does not have a travel ban within the province or from other provinces, but highway signs continue to advise essential travel only, and B.C. and Alberta health ministers have urged people to avoid travelling to summer homes during the pandemic.

Horgan held out little hope of any resumption of non-essential international visitors, key to many B.C. tourism operators in previous years. And he said the travel advisory reflects the reluctance of many people to travel beyond their local area.

“British Columbians need to get out, stretch their legs, go to other places, but they’re not feeling particularly comfortable about that just yet,” Horgan said. “We’ve had great results in B.C., but when you look at other parts of the country, in fact when you look just south of us in Washington, Oregon, and California, we’ve seen a spike in cases. As we’ve been going down, they’ve started to dial back up again.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

COVID-19 cases grow to 13 at B.C. First Nation near Fort St. James

“This is very serious,” says Nak’azdli Whut’en Chief

Cullen confirmed as B.C. NDP candidate for Stikine despite party’s equity policy

Former Tahltan Central Government President Annita McPhee said the process made her feel “abused”

Freeport — the camp site that was the region’s largest community

A story of the construction of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway

Burns Lake to get a pedestrian-activated light

The blind turn at the RBC crossing to get safer

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

Canadian ski resorts wrestle with pandemic-vs.-profit dilemma as COVID-19 persists

Few are actually restricting the total number of skiers they allow on the hill

Victoria-area RCMP locate high-risk sex offender thanks to help of taxi cab driver

Scott Jones wanted on a Canada-wide warrant, ‘a risk to women and girls,’ police say

A (virtual) walk around the world by 88-year-old B.C. man

George Doi says it’s simple: ‘I like walking’

End of CERB means uncertainty for some, new system for others

As of a week ago, the CERB had paid out $79.3 billion to 8.8 million people

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Horgan, Wilkinson trade barbs over MSP premiums, health care at campaign stops

Horgan called a snap election for Oct. 24 earlier this week

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

Most Read