The NDP government’s decision to move the Family Day holiday to the third week of February was called a potential disaster for the tourism industry.
Michael Ballingall, executive vice-president of Big White Ski Resort, told the Kelowna Capital News in an interview last October such a move would hurt tourism business operators and be detrimental to British Columbian long weekend travelers.
Ballingall was responding at the time to public discourse on the issue which seemed to be leaning towards switching the holiday.
“This is not something the tourism industry will be supportive of, particularly in the ski industry, and it means potential tax generating revenue loss for the provincial government because fewer British Columbians will be able to travel to tourism destinations,” Ballingall said.
He said realigning Family Day would mean competing with other provinces who have holidays of their own on that day along with the President’s Day holiday in the U.S.
“This is the best option for British Columbians looking to take advantage of a long weekend traveling and it’s why Christy Clark picked the second Monday for the holiday,” Ballingall stated.
In defending the holiday switch, B.C. Premier John Horgan called the decision the right thing to do for businesses, small and large, and for families who may be spread out across the country.
“This gives families an opportunity to schedule and spend more time with loved ones from other provinces,” Horgan said.
The push to have the dates changed was influenced by several fronts. The finance industry complained about Family Day occurring when the Toronto Stock Exchange was open, then working the following Monday when the market is closed. As well, federal employees in B.C. don’t get the day off.
The United B.C. Family Day petition initially launched in 2015 boasted 20,000 signatures as of last year, and was publicly supported by Green Party leader Andrew Weaver.
The switch also had the support of the Union of B.C. Municipalities.
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