(Fairmont Empress hotel)

As the election approached the end of its third week, B.C.’s three major parties promoted a variety of promises for the tourism industry.

The BC NDP were first out of the gate with a full platform, launching their complete list of election promises on Tuesday.

Included in the 57-page document was a promise borrowed from their pre-election COVID-19 recovery plan: the creation of a Tourism Task Force aimed at providing supports to the beleaguered industry.

In their plan from September 17, the then-governing NDP said they would be allocating $50 million to implement recommendations from leaders in business, labour, and local First Nations who form the Task Force.

They also pledged to look at implementing permanent COVID-19 measures for restaurants such as expanded patios and wholesale liquor sales.

On Wednesday, the Green Party offered their own tourism support pitch, in the form of a re-tooled provincial grant program.

The Greens say they would establish new granting criteria and accelerate the program’s timeline to speed up cash flow.

They also pledged to start a separate granting program for non-profit tourism businesses, cultural facilities and attractions, and to work with the federal government to create a repayable loan program for the hospitality sector and tourism operators.

On Friday the BC Liberals borrowed a page from the Greens on a loan program, suggesting they too would expedite loans to the hospitality and tourism sectors.

The Liberal loan program would take the form of a loan guarantee, where the government would cover the liability for companies seeking loan applications from banks.

They also pledged to eliminate the two per cent small business income tax entirely, which they said would provide a huge savings to independent tourism and hospitality operators.

In July, the Victoria Chamber of Commerce forecast 2020 revenue for the tourism industry to be $6.7 billion compared to $20.4 billion in 2018.