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BCRTS Crisis Comms Renewal

For Immediate Release

May 9, 2024

British Columbia Tourism Secretariat Renews Proactive Crisis Communications Support for Communities 

with Visitors Around the Province

Photo credit: Destination BC/Kari Medig


Kelowna, B.C. - The British Columbia Regional Tourism Secretariat (BCRTS) is proud to announce the renewal and expansion of its partnership with Hatch Comms for a second year. This partnership provides enhanced crisis communications support to tourism communities across the province which is a welcome and appropriate announcement during Emergency Preparedness Week.


Visitors to British Columbia can travel with confidence, knowing that their safety and well-being are a top priority for area tourism organizations. The BCRTS, in collaboration with Hatch Comms, will continue to offer crisis communications support to tourism communities during emergency events, as part of the Tourism Emergency Management Framework, ensuring that visitors receive timely and accurate information to navigate crises effectively.


As the source for critical messages and information during recent crises, the BCRTS has played a pivotal role in supporting communities and visitors alike. This ongoing partnership reaffirms the commitment to improving crisis communications leadership and establishes the BCRTS as the primary resource for tourism, travel, and media messaging during local-level emergencies.


"The safety and well-being of visitors is paramount, especially during times of crisis," says Ellen Walker-Matthews, Vice Chair of BCRTS and CEO of the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association. "Renewing our partnership with Hatch Comms allows us to continue providing leadership and resources to help destinations plan for and communicate effectively during emergencies."


Ahead of what is predicted to be a dynamic spring and summer season, the BCRTS and Hatch Comms are ensuring that tourism communities have robust crisis communications plans in place. These efforts include updating existing plans and building new ones through approved frameworks and training programs from Destination British Columbia and the Tourism Emergency Management Committee. This will ensure that all situations are well-thought out, responses are prepared, and key stakeholder and media contacts are identified before the busy visitor season commences.  


When a tourism community activates the BCRTS emergency support system, Hatch Comms will assist in implementing crisis communications plans during high-stress situations. This support will ensure that destinations operate within the chain of communications of appropriate agencies to access official messaging, which will then be communicated back through established tourism channels. This will also support the destination’s communications and economy should they be in a nearby but unaffected community, keeping visitors confidently flowing to areas that remain safe to travel. 


"Increasing climate crises underscore the importance of proactive crisis communications in the tourism sector," says Clint Fraser, Chair of BCRTS and CEO of Northern BC Tourism. "Investing in preparation equips communities with the tools and support they will need to navigate crises effectively and ensure the safety and well-being of our visitors."


Visitors are encouraged to visit Destination British Columbia's ‘Know Before You Go’ page and regional websites for specific areas they may be planning to visit.


Get Involved: Emergency Preparedness Week

Emergency Preparedness Week runs from May 5 to 11 and serves as a reminder to prepare for climate events such as flooding, drought, forest fires, and extreme weather. Tourism businesses across the province are encouraged to assess their hazards and risks, and take steps to reduce impacts, including crisis communications and evacuations plans for their guests. 


The BCRTS is available to assist tourism stakeholders in reviewing and refining their crisis communications plans and are invited to reach out to their region for support.



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About British Columbia Regional Tourism Secretariat: 

The British Columbia Regional Tourism Secretariat is a collaboration among the following five regional destination management organizations: Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism, Kootenay Rockies Tourism Association, Northern BC Tourism Association, Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association and 4VI (Vancouver Island).


The 5 regions under BCRTS are not-for-profit societies governed by the BC Societies Act. They are an industry-led organization, governed by an elected Board of Directors, who represent and support business and community tourism interests throughout each region.


About Hatch Comms: 

Hatch Comms, a subsidiary of Hatch Hospitality, is a lifestyle PR agency that specializes in hotels, destinations, wineries, restaurants, ingredients and culinary talent. Tourism, travel and hospitality are all about experiencing the detail and beauty of different lifestyles. Hatch Comms offers clients personalized service that is all about results and relationships. The Hatch team is seasoned experts who are passionate about what they do and thrive on clients' successes, and have enjoyed representing some of the world’s most beautiful, delicious and engaging businesses for more than 25 years.  


For more information about Hatch Comms visit hatchcomms.ca, or visit Hatch Hospitality hatchhospitality.com. Connect socially at @hatchhospitality 


Media Contact: 

Krista Lochhead 

778.227.2396

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