In celebration of Small Business Week, B.C. small businesses receive $1.2 million to enhance tourism experiences across the province

News release

A group of 6 friends dining out and smiling next to the caption that reads $1.2 million for small businesses to enhance tourism experiences across the province

Government of Canada making investments across British Columbia to attract new visitors, expand tourism offerings and stimulate local economies

October 17, 2022 – Vancouver, British Columbia – Pacific Economic Development Canada

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, small businesses – from coffee shops to campgrounds – played a critical role in sustaining communities across British Columbia. Small businesses in the tourism sector were especially hard hit, yet continued to serve as the lifeblood of local economies, offering British Columbians much-needed reprieve.

Today, at the start of Small Business Week, the Government of Canada is celebrating small businesses that helped the B.C. tourism industry make a remarkable recovery. The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada (PacifiCan), announced over $1.2 million in PacifiCan funding to 11 projects led by small businesses in the B.C. tourism sector.

The investments will help these small businesses recover from the pandemic and provide new experiences for visitors and residents alike. From funding new festivals, supporting old favorites and providing tourists with brand new ways to experience British Columbia, PacifiCan is helping small businesses across the province grow stronger than ever.

One of the resilient small businesses benefiting from this funding is Vancouver Foodie Tours. Known for offering award-wining culinary tours, the COVID-19 pandemic forced Vancouver Foodie Tours to pivot their business to focus on delivery, providing customers with contactless shipping on products from a variety of Granville Island merchants. With a $50,000 investment from PacifiCan, Vancouver Foodie Tours will relaunch their Granville Island and Gastown tours with enhanced health and safety measures and introduce a new food tour showcasing the influence of West Coast Asian cuisine across Greater Vancouver.

Other projects funded include:

  • Relaunching the Richmond Night Market and West Coast Women’s Show
  • Building camping sites in the Callaghan Valley in Whistler
  • Offering new food-tasting and bus tours in Greater Vancouver
  • Organizing Crankworx, a 10-day mountain bike festival in Whistler
  • Launching a new Halloween festival in Burnaby
  • Upgrading Pacific Coastal Cruises’ offerings on the coast of B.C.

For the full list of projects announced today, please see the backgrounder here.

This funding is provided through the Government of Canada’s Tourism Relief Fund. The Fund provides $500 million over two years to Canada’s regional development agencies, including PacifiCan, to help tourism businesses and organizations adapt their operations to meet public health requirements and invest in products and services to help them grow. 


“During Small Business Week, we are celebrating the resilience of small- and medium-sized businesses across British Columbia. With these investments, the Government of Canada is supporting B.C.’s tourism sector, helping those hit hardest emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever. From launching new festivals and tours to reinvigorating old favorites, these investments will help small businesses showcase the dynamic experiences B.C. has to offer – for locals who know them well and visitors who are discovering them for the very first time.”
- The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada

“I started this company in 2010 out of a passion for food, people and storytelling, and receiving this support from PacifiCan means that my business can return to what it does best – offering authentic culinary experiences to visitors from around the world. This funding means re-launching our award-winning tours, preserving the health and safety of our guests and offering new tour experiences highlighting some of Greater Vancouver’s best-kept culinary secrets.” 
- Michelle Ng, President and Founder of Vancouver Foodie Tours

Quick facts

  • PacifiCan is the Government of Canada’s regional economic development agency dedicated to British Columbia.

  • The Tourism Relief Fund helps position Canada as a destination of choice by:

    • empowering tourism businesses to enhance or create new tourism experiences and products to attract more local and domestic visitors, and
    • helping the sector reposition itself to welcome international visitors, by providing the best Canadian tourism experiences we have to offer the world.
  • Eligible applicants include tourism entities that cater mainly to visitors, such as:

    • businesses
    • not-for-profit organizations, such as tourism associations, and
    • band councils or other Indigenous organizations and cooperatives.

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Haley Hodgson
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Pacific Economic Development

Jillian Glover
Communications Manager
Pacific Economic Development Canada

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