June 2, 2016  
Voice of the BC Tourism Industry 

CEO's Message
Shortly after concluding a very successful TIABC AGM and Summit, I travelled to Ottawa to join my provincial and territorial tourism industry association counterparts for ' Tourism Day on the Hill' to meet with our respective provincial MPs to discuss issues of mutual concern.
I had the good fortune of meeting with North Okanagan-Shuswap MP Mel Arnold (C), Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty (C), Victoria MP Murray Rankin (NDP), Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns (NDP), Vancouver Centre MP Hedy Fry (Lib), and West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky MP Pamela Goldsmith-Jones (Lib).

Walt with MP for North Okanagan - Shuswap Mel Arnold 
Set up by our national counterparts at TIAC, the meetings were an opportunity to discuss impediments or policies of a national scope that prevent operators in BC from realizing growth potential or capitalizing on opportunities.
In all meetings I was able to convey the seriousness of labour shortages around the province and how changes to the Temporary Foreign Workers Program has hampered operators in virtually every community and sector. I also expressed the need for a Seasonal Workers Program (akin to the agriculture sector initiative) as merely one option for addressing the labour challenge.
Walt with MP for Courtenay -  Alberni Gord Johns 
Among other topics, I talked about how the unintended consequences of the sharing economy (including tax leakage at the federal level) are affecting communities throughout the province, as well as how the CRA's decision to target and reassess campgrounds from 'active' to 'passive' businesses has led to a nearly three-fold business tax increase and financial hardships for many owners.
Suffice it to say, the meetings were productive and informative and will hopefully lead to workable solutions to some of the issues.  That said, the issues are complex and will take some time to solve. I'll keep you posted on progress.

Walt Judas

Walt with MP for Vancouver Centre Hedy Fry
Walt with MP for West Vancouver -Sunshine Coast - Sea to Sky Pamela Goldsmith-Jones 
Walt with MP for Victoria Murray Rankin 

AGM & Summit Recap 

Magnificent Sun Peaks recently played host to TIABC's first-ever multi-day AGM and Summit. By all accounts, the sessions, networking and extracurricular activities were well received by the 120 delegates, presenters and special guests.
While copies of the presentations are still being received and uploaded to the members-only section of our website, allow us to provide you with a brief overview of the sessions highlighting some of the key points.
Mayor Al Raine, Walt Judas and Senator Nancy Green Raine
Senator Nancy Greene Raine, Sun Peaks Mayor Al Raine, and local MP Cathy McLeod welcomed guests at the opening reception and talked about what it means to host events like this in their community.
Day one of sessions began with a warm welcome by Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association CEO Glenn Mandziuk who showed two spectacular videos highlighting his region.
Destination BC President and CEO Marsha Walden and go2HR CEO Arlene Keis presented on meeting labour challenges in BC by sourcing under-represented talent pools such as seniors and people with disabilities.

Following TIABC's AGM and the election of new board members Robyn Cyr of Shuswap Tourism, and Alroy Chan of Rocky Mountaineer, Policy Committee members, along with TIAC Vice President Rob Taylor led a Town Hall discussion on various issues.
Recognizing that advocacy is a marathon not a sprint, participants identified priorities such as transportation (access, cost), alignment (partnerships), customer service, ramifications of the sharing economy, employee housing needs, pending agri-tourism regulation changes, skills and labour, among other challenges as being the active files TIABC and its federal counterpart TIAC need to work on.
At lunch, Aboriginal Tourism Canada CEO Keith Henry looked at the enormous potential to develop Aboriginal tourism products and experiences in BC, and noted that what Canada offers is second to none anywhere in the world in spite of the fact that other countries are reaping greater benefits.  Keith also referenced the work being done by a large consortium of First Nations, associations (including TIABC), DMOs and communities to develop a First Nations'-led tourism strategy and two-ferry solution for BC's central coast region.

Hon. Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour joined the Summit to not only meet with delegates, but listen in on the sector roundtable, launch Camping and Tourism Weeks in BC, as well as deliver the keynote address to at dinner. Minister Bond gave special recognition to operators, DMOs and sectors for contributing to record setting years for British Columbia's visitor economy.

The afternoon session featured 11 sector associations informing delegates of the issues and priorities for their respective members in advance of next year's provincial election. In brief...
Wilderness Tourism Association addressed the ongoing conflicts between other business sectors over land use and tenure;
B.C. Fishing Resorts and Outfitters referenced the impact and added uncertainties of a changing climate on fresh water lakes throughout the province;
Western Canada Mountain Biking Association also talked about competition for land use and access although their role is more about marketing than advocacy;
go2HR reminded delegates of its tourism labour market strategy for BC and encouraged employers to use its myriad resources to help fill positions;
BC Taxi Association, in its on-going concern with Uber's inevitable entrée to BC, highlighted the benefits of the taxi industry including trained and bonded drivers, safety standards, and community service contribution;
Aboriginal Tourism BC introduced their strategy to build and effectively market more authentic Aboriginal Tourism experiences to take advantage of visitor demand;
One of TIABC's newest members, Allied Golf Association of BC reviewed its scorecard of measures that focused on environmental stewardship, health & wellness, and the economic impact of golf in BC; 
BC Hotel Association challenged delegates to pay attention to how the sharing economy is changing communities, not necessarily for the better. BCHA suggested that all communities become engaged in the issue;
BC Lodging & Campgrounds informed delegates that recent CRA actions could mean serious consequences for campground owners, including the elimination of a significant capital gains exemption on the sale of privately owned campgrounds;
Association of Beverage Licensees referenced their concern about the sale of wine in grocery stores, noting that it will not only impact private liquor store operators, but could also eventually squeeze BC wineries from the grocery store shelves once foreign wineries apply pressure to sell their wines in grocery stores;
Conversely, BC Wine Institute believes more shelf space is needed in grocery stores to allow smaller BC wineries to sell product that otherwise would not be stocked in LDB or private liquor stories.
Day two of the Summit began with Pace Group's Norman Stowe talking about government priorities leading up to the election in May 2017. He noted that for advocacy efforts to succeed, facts and data are paramount for government decision-making.
An entertaining and informative panel presentation on film tourism produced some excellent insight and recommendations on how communities can or should take advantage of productions to drive visitation in their regions.
The Summit concluded with an excellent session on Tofino's recovery from last year's whale
Mayor Osborne and Kirsten Soder
watching boat tragedy.  Mayor Josie Osborne, Tourism Tofino Executive Director Kirsten Soder, and Destination BC's Wendy Magnes discussed how the response to the incident unfolded and the lessons learned throughout the entire ordeal.

Leah McGimpsey awards the Rocky Mountaineer grand prize!
And last, but not least, the grand prize draw was presented to a very, very happy summit delegate who went home with a vacation for two aboard Rocky Mountaineer!
On behalf of the board and staff of TIABC, thank you to the many sponsors, presenters and delegates who attended and made the Summit such a success.
Finally...a great big thanks to Sun Peaks Grand Hotel, Sun Peaks Resort Association and Tourism Sun Peaks for their incredible service and hospitality.
We look forward to bringing our entire industry together again at the BC Tourism Industry Conference in Victoria, February 22-24, 2017.

Thank you again to all the sponsors who helped us ensure a successful event!

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Presenting Sponsors

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#TourismWeek 2016 
Peachland Councillors Keith Thom and Terry Condon celebrate Tourism Week at their Visitor Centre 

Tourism Week in BC is well underway and communities around the province are celebrating and acknowledging operators and employees who  contribute to British Columbia's $14.6 billion visitor economy. 

Hon. Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training, along with TIABC CEO Walt Judas asked all BC mayors to recognize the importance of tourism to their communities by taking time out to greet guests at locations of their choice.

Our social media channels were inundated with tweets, updates and photos of smiling faces celebrating how tourism has made a difference to their communities. But don't stop now...after all it is Tourism WEEK so keep your stories, photos and tourism facts coming. 

Whistler's Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden joined the Village Host team and greeted guests in Whistler.

More details on Tourism Week and how to get involved can be found on our website:

Summerland's Mayor Peter Waterman welcomed guests and Global TV news to the Visitor Centre.
Victoria-Beacon Hill MLA Carole James, Victoria's Acting Mayor Marianne Alto, Tourism Victoria Chair Bill Lewis and Tourism Victoria CEO Paul Nursey celebrate Tourism Week.

Knuckles the Grey Whale and Ucluelet's Mayor Dianne St. Jacques toured their destination greeting guests!
Smiling faces at the Campbell River visitor centre welcomed city councillors who greeted guests throughout the first day of Tourism Week.

As part of our BC Tourism Matters initiative, TIABC wants to hear from you.  

Tell us your  Power of Tourism Story  in the form of a 100-200 word written page summary...or even better...a short, unedited video describing your career journey, what BC's tourism industry has given you and what advice you would give to people considering a career in our industry. For written submissions, please send along an image of you, your team and/or your business to accompany the summary.

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