Coronavirus and Tourism in Manitoba
March 27, 2020
Dear Industry Partners,
Travel Manitoba is committed to providing our industry with information and assistance to help tourism businesses in Manitoba navigate through this unprecedented and difficult time. In addition, we want to ensure that we understand the challenges you are facing, and expect to face, during this crisis.
Please rest assured that we are working diligently to monitor this situation, and lead a strong response and recovery plan, as circumstances allow. These are very uncertain times and we do not know how long our borders will be closed or when the social distancing measures will be lifted. But we are collaborating with the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, Destination Canada, other provinces and the Conference Board of Canada to collect the best information available and share it with you in a timely manner. I hope you have been receiving this information through our daily Tourism Industry News and emails.
We are also in regular communication with the Economic Development and Training Stakeholder Roundtable, which includes business leaders and sector councils, such as Economic Development Winnipeg, Manitoba Chamber of Commerce, Winnipeg Airports Authority, Manitoba Hotel Association, Winnipeg Convention Centre, as well as non-tourism related organizations such as North Forge, Manitoba Manufacturers Association and others. While the challenges facing each member vary, often solutions can be found across sectors, and in particular, with each working alongside the Manitoba government on important crisis containment and recovery efforts.
Information and Research
Travel Manitoba is currently working on a project to monitor Manitoba-specific indicators to complement data being gathered nationally and by other jurisdictions in order to determine the impact of Covid-19 on Manitoba’s tourism sector. We will also be surveying Manitoba tourism industry members to better understand the current and potential impact of Covid-19 on your business operations. We ask for your assistance in completing this survey when you receive it. The information is vital for us to have a clear picture of the impact of this crisis on our industry, and in leveraging any funds that may be available to mitigate the severity of its impact.
We will also be creating an information “hub” on our website to house current information on available funding and other assistance programs. We realize that many of Manitoba’s tourism operators are facing significant challenges in continuing operations, and recovery will be a long and difficult process. We encourage you to review both federal and provincial resources that have been announced to date.
We would also encourage you to support important initiatives of the provincial government, such as:
- Help Next Door MB: A new online tool launched by the Manitoba government to connect people in the province willing to help with those who need it, allowing people to receive the goods and services they need such as groceries, medication, snow-clearing and various other necessities.
- Supporting, where possible, the government’s call on businesses to help supply such products as hand sanitizer, surgical/procedure masks and N-95 respirators, even if this is not your normal line of business;
- Encouraging staff to pitch in and provide security, laundry, food, pet care and IT support services.
- Encouraging your employees to adhere to stay-at-home and social distances practices.
Business Preparedness and Marketing
We are currently in the process of revising our business plan and planning in terms of three phases:
- Responding to industry and visitors during the Covid-19 pandemic crisis
- Rolling out an innovative new marketing campaign encouraging Manitobans to travel throughout the province and to short-haul Canadian market visitors to visit during the initial recovery stage. The timing of this will, of course, be determined by health officials as they deem appropriate. Travel Manitoba has currently paused our paid media campaigns and have shifted our social media content to inspiring visitors to travel in the future.
- Expanding the campaign to target international markets once travel restrictions have been removed and Canada has opened its borders.
There will be a critical need for more investment in the tourism industry, and Travel Manitoba will make securing those resources a top priority. We will work with you to rebuild Manitoba’s tourism industry. In order to do this, we need a clear picture of the impact of Covid-19 on your business and on the industry overall. Please take a few minutes to complete our Manitoba Covid-19 Tourism Impact Survey when you receive it. We stand with you and behind you in this, but we also need your help in presenting a united, determined front. Thank you and stay well.
Travel Manitoba President & CEO