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“Four containers (of birthday accessories) arrived in February, we were so excited. But everything fell in the trash, ”he said.
The province has announced a $ 1.5 billion COVID-19 package to be unveiled in September, and the Tourism Industry Association of British Columbia, which has 19,000 members, has requested $ 680 million.
According to the association, tourism and hospitality reported $ 20.4 billion in direct spending on visitors in 2018, the latest year for which figures are available, plus $ 5 billion in taxes paid.
“What we are asking for is a return on the investments that the tourism and hospitality sector has made in the provincial and national economy over (the) decades,” said Vivek Sharma, president of the provincial tourism association, when the group applied for provincial aid three weeks ago.
Tourism Minister Lisa Beare has not said how much of the stimulus money should go to tourism.
In Cheung’s case, as a seasonal business, it is unable to make up for losses this winter. As a niche business, it is not eligible for aid. This is a reluctant case study of someone who fell through the cracks.
“Every crack,” he says.
The 24-acre Bridgeport Canada Line station that houses the night market from May to Thanksgiving still has an owner who expects his or her some $ 65,000 a month until the lease expires next spring.
In the pre-COVID-19 era, Cheung could have sublet the space at the airport for overflow parking, but hardly anyone steals and there is plenty of parking in the permanent parking lots.
Cheung reportedly employed 150 workers this summer, and 280 vendors – including 120 in the food court – have signed up.
“I feel like my business has fallen into quicksand and the faster I move, the faster I sink,” Cheung said. “For years, we have welcomed thousands and thousands of tourists every night that we are open, we are one of the biggest attractions in the Lower Mainland.
“How come we don’t fit into any (assist) hole?”