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BC Tourism Resiliency Network

In 2019, Lauren joined Tourism Vancouver Island, specializing in industry communications and providing crucial business development support. Finding her niche in the tourism industry, Lauren encountered an industry-wide pause a year later with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada.

BC Tourism Resiliency Network

This unexpected pause, echoing the industry-wide standstill prompted by the pandemic, became a pivotal moment in Lauren's journey. Responding to these unprecedented challenges, the Tourism Vancouver Island team actively contributed to the creation of the Vancouver Island Coastal Tourism Resiliency Program (VICTRP). This project would reshape the landscape of business support in the face of the profound impact of COVID-19.

In addition to playing a lead role in the initial and ongoing development and expansion of VICTRP, Lauren supported a team of up to 20 skilled program advisors and 15 industry subject matter experts in delivering support and services to businesses. Industry uptake was intense right from the start, with over 200 registrations in the first month, leading to significant program growth. In 2021, the program adapted to a province-wide direct business support system in response to the success of the Vancouver Island initiative.

Besides providing crucial support to the tourism industry during the pandemic, data and business impact statements were recorded and used to advocate at all government levels for much-needed improvements to business support programs and other assistance for the industry.

This project was led by Lauren over three years, serving and supporting over 500 businesses across Vancouver Island and hundreds elsewhere in the province. In 2022, The British Columbia Tourism Resiliency Network received recognition with a 2022 BC Tourism & Hospitality Award for Community Contribution & Impact.

Lauren's takeaway from this experience emphasizes the power of one-on-one business support, dynamic and adaptable offers, and the adept use of collective industry knowledge to support businesses, address confusing supports, and fortify tourism as both a community and an industry. This project stands as a lasting success story, leaving a tangible impact on the sustainability of tourism in BC.

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