VANCOUVER — The British Columbia government has added more money to its grant program to fund fairs, festivals and other events in the province to help tourism recovery.

Melanie Mark, the minister of tourism, arts and culture, says COVID-19 and recent natural disasters have had devastating impacts on events and tourism, and expanding the program to nearly $30 million is a way to help communities safely resume activities.

The government will give one-time grants to cover as much as 20 per cent of the event’s budget, up to $250,000, for operational costs, health and safety measures, venue rental, marketing, wages and promotion.

A task force was appointed by the government last year to identify what could be done to help the province’s tourism industry recover.

In response to their calls to action, the ministry had announced a $12.9-million event fund in August, but Mark says they received so many applications for funding that the government will now more than double the fund.

Mark says this means the Fairs, Festivals and Events Recovery Fund grant will now help cover costs for more than 680 events in 134 communities.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 13, 2021.

The Canadian Press