As we begin to make promising steps toward a post-COVID life, many areas of BC are facing more challenging circumstances and are currently dealing with wildfires. Our hearts go out to the impacted communities, and particularly for the community of Lytton and Lytton First Nation who are grappling with unimaginable loss. Destination BC and BC’s tourism industry are keeping you all in our hearts and our thoughts, and we are here to support you.
In a very short period, the homes, businesses, and community gathering spaces in Lytton and the Lytton First Nation were destroyed, and tragically, two lives have been reported lost. Amid this tragedy, the outstanding efforts of The Fraser Valley Destination Management group, who rallied to collect and deliver donations to Boston Bar First Nations/Tuckkwiowhum Village in support of Lytton and Lytton First Nation, are a heartwarming reminder of just how special our industry is and how we look after one another.
The extreme heat and wildfires over the past weeks are a stark reminder of the importance of emergency preparedness, and having protocols and procedures in place to respond. Wildfire safety is a shared responsibility, and it is crucial that we do our part in preventing, as well as reporting, wildfires, and encourage our visitors and residents to do the same.
At Destination BC, we continue to regularly engage with our industry and cross-government partners via the Tourism Emergency Management Committee (including the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport; ITBC; TIABC; the BCDMOA; and the BC Regional Secretariat), the Joint Information Centre (with representation from each Government of BC agency), and others as needed, to ensure that we – and BC’s tourism industry – have the latest information and can respond to any emergency in a timely manner.
The Emergency Preparedness page on Destination BC’s corporate website is a repository of the official, reputable sources for emergency management and information, including:
Emergencies such as wildfires can impact travel, visitors, and businesses at any time, and can potentially influence those who may be planning a trip to or within our province. During these emergencies, the tourism industry is an important conduit to official information sources for visitors. Our priority is ensuring that they have all the official resources they need to make informed travel decisions based on the latest, on-the-ground information, and to encourage them to continue to consult these resources for any updates before and during their trips.
What You Can Do
As a tourism partner and/or tourism business owner, here are four things you can do right now in response to the current wildfire situation in BC:
Beyond emergency preparedness, we all have a role to play in ensuring safe and responsible travel in British Columbia. Our latest Messaging Guidance for BC’s Tourism Industry includes responsible travel graphics to support you in sharing this message, and further guidance can be found in our consumer-targeted How To Travel Safely and Responsibly in BC article.
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