Banff-Kanaskis MLA Miranda Rosin has launched an Alberta-wide tourism and hospitality recovery task force to help the industry through the COVID-19 pandemic and to prepare it for the rebound that will follow.
Rosin spoke to Tanya Fir, Alberta's economic development, trade, and tourism minister, in advance.
"I offered to lead the charge because the tourism and hospitality industry has been so been so disproportionately devastated compared to a lot of industries across the county," says MLA Rosin.
She says the task force is in the formation stage and will be holding its first meeting in a few weeks. She's currently reaching out to tourism industry representatives from across Alberta.
"While our Bow Valley is facing some issues, it doesn't mean that the tourism industry could be facing other issues in different areas of the province. So that's why I'm hoping that this task force can bring together the voices from northern Alberta, central Alberta, southern Alberta, urban and rural, and see what recommendations we need to help the industry as a whole to survive."
Banff-Airdrie MP Blake Richards, who is on the federal Conservative shadow cabinet for tourism, will also be participating.
On Apr. 3, in conjunction with Bow Valley tourism officials, she wrote to Premier Kenny and Minister Fir to explain five ways the government could help the tourism industry get through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Several of these concerns have since been addressed.
Still relevant is the request to allocate the entire 2020 hotel levy to Alberta Travel to use in communities where it is generated rather than placing the funds in government general revenue. The funds would prove valuable for marketing efforts in the post-COVID-19 world.
They also believe the release of a 10-year tourism growth strategy by the summer of 2020 should go ahead as promised.
"We feel it is incredibly important to release this plan within the original timeline to ensure that our tourism industry can rebound and grow as hastily as possible," the letter states.
Rosin is also part of a rural recovery task force being chaired by Foothills MP John Barlow.