Voice of the BC Tourism Industry
December 12, 2019
Chair's Message

On this day in 2010, the Vancouver Olympic Torch travelled from Gatineau Quebec, to our nation’s capital, as part of its 106-day run across Canada. More than 12,000 torchbearers from every corner of the country passed the flame off to one another, ending at Vancouver’s famous Jack Poole Plaza, officially marking the start of the 21 st  Winter Olympics.
Can you believe that this was already 10 years ago?
As we approach the end of a decade that was such a formative one for our industry, I find it hard not to think back to the stressful few months leading up to those two weeks in February 2010. Were the facilities going to be completed in time? Was there going to be enough – or even  any  – snow on the north shore mountains? I could go on. All of the frenzied concern in the lead-up to the games culminated in an incredible – and, fairly seamless, all things considered – 17-day stretch that I will remember forever. And of course who can forget the nail-biting Men’s Ice Hockey Gold Medal game… I can watch the replay of the game winning goal daily and not get tired of it.
Very fittingly, TIABC announced earlier this week that John Furlong, former President and CEO of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee (VANOC), will be the keynote speaker at the BC Tourism Industry Conference. I have the distinct pleasure of working with John given his role as Chair of Rocky Mountaineer’s Board of Directors. John is such a visionary and inspirational leader – I can’t wait to hear his keynote.
The BC Tourism Industry Conference, scheduled for March 4-6 in Victoria, will pay special tribute to the 2010 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games that changed our province, and country, more broadly, in such a significant way. We will hear from John, along with some of his former VANOC colleagues, about the legacies – physical and human – left by the games.
I look forward to marking this milestone anniversary with you all in Victoria in March. In the meantime, I wish you and your families all the best for the holiday season, and for what’s left of 2019!

Alroy Chan
Chair, TIABC
BC Tourism Industry Conference
Registration is Open
Join us March 4 to 6, 2020 in Victoria!
Early Bird fees will end on January 31st.
John Furlong
Keynote Speaker
John Furlong along with Jack Poole was the leader of the team that bid for, organized and staged the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. Furlong believed that the Games could be a true nation builder with the power and reach to touch every Canadian and elevate the country. John join us at our 2020 BC Tourism Industry Conference as one of our keynote speakers
Nominations are Open!
Recognize a special tourism industry individual or organization by nominating them in one of the seven award categories below. Help us recognize the best of the best in BC's tourism industry!

We are now accepting nominations for the BC Tourism Industry Awards in the following categories:
  • Employees First
  • Customer Service
  • Innovation
  • Remarkable Experiences
  • Destination Marketing Organization Professional Excellence
  • Indigenous Tourism
  • Accessible Tourism (new this year)

Deadline: January 13th, 2020
Making Travel in BC More Accessible
Travelling in British Columbia will be easier for people with disabilities, as the Province and Destination BC embark on a multi-phased plan to make BC tourism more accessible and inclusive.

“People with disabilities often face more barriers when travelling. Booking hotels with accessible rooms, finding accommodating transportation or knowing what experiences can be adapted can be challenging,” said Hon. Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. “We want to help make travel easier and more enjoyable for everyone, and that’s why we’re starting this journey with our partners in the sector. Our goal is to welcome the world to a barrier-free BC.”

The first phase of this plan focuses on improving the visitor experience. Destination BC has created an Accessibility Resources page and accessible travel itineraries that highlight over 250 attractions and experiences throughout the province. The itineraries are designed to increase access for people living with physical disabilities and will help people plan their visits to BC with added peace of mind.

Read more about this story at:
Some Examples of Accessibility Initiatives from Around BC :
Accessibility at YVR
A Journey of Constant Improvement
December 5th was International Day of Persons with Disabilities and it also marked YVR’s one-year anniversary of being the first airport to receive the Rick Hansen Foundation’s Accessibility Certification Gold rating.

YVR works closely with a broad range of organizations, including the Rick Hansen Foundation, to make sure passengers have a great airport experience. Accessibility features are considered at every stage of design at the airport and are incorporated in such a way that you may not always notice them. Read more about five undercover accessibility features at YVR in their December 3rd blog: 

Accessibility is a top priority for YVR and that’s why they often host airport tours for community organizations. These tours help ensure that everyone who wants to fly with YVR, can. They recently held an airport familiarization tour for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind ( CNIB ). Participants were able to practice the entire pre-flight process including clearing security, all while utilizing accessibility aids like canes,  Aira *  and their guide dogs!
* Aira is a service that connects blind and low-vision people to highly trained, remotely-located agents. Through an app on a smartphone, or through an optional pair of Horizon Smart Glasses, Aira delivers instant access to visual information.

To learn more about accessibility at YVR visit their   accessibility page .

Accessibility Features at the Tourism Kelowna Visitor Centre
The Kelowna Visitor Centre is currently equipped to handle many levels of accessibility. Travellers with mobility needs, a young family, or limited English can take advantage of services that include:
  • Level entry to the building
  • Push button activated front doors
  • Push button activated door for the family and accessible all-user restroom
  • Electrically adjustable service desk to accommodate guests at multiple heights
  • The visitor experience team has members that can speak a variety of languages and also have access to Google Translate Conversations, as well as additional translation devices
  • Soon to come is a hearing loop for those with hearing assistance devices
New Learning Partnership Agreement between VIU and Tourism Vancouver Island
Tourism Vancouver Island and Vancouver Island University recognize the importance of providing real-world learning opportunities to the tourism professionals of tomorrow. In early fall, representatives from each organization came together in front of approximately 50 VIU undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty and staff of the Faculty of Management, Department of Recreation and Tourism, to sign a formal learning partnership agreement.

The agreement acknowledges the socio-cultural, environmental, and economic development that tourism provides for individuals and communities and that educational programs in recreation and tourism need to stay ahead of the industry’s growth and increasing complexity for that development to occur.

To ensure the continued growth and sustainability of the tourism industry, the learning partnership identifies key purposes like increasing career awareness; creating new preparation and development strategies to attract and educate new leaders; developing a strategy to enhance community-based leadership in tourism; and bringing enhanced awareness to Tourism Vancouver lsland's role in addressing and offering solutions to complex, social issues on the island.
Destination Greater Victoria Unveils New Business Plan and Strategy
On November 8, 2019 Destination Greater Victoria approved its 2020 Business Plan. This approval followed review by five Destination Greater Victoria committees and over 90 visitor economy professionals. This plan will guide the industry and organization through forecasted economic headwinds in 2020. The visitor economy has become increasingly complex to manage, and it will need to continue to show its value as a sector that benefits the Greater Victoria community. 

2020 will have a strong foundation of business due to scheduled conferences and due to strong performance and more opportunity to drive shoulder and off-peak season visitation, Destination Greater Victoria has increased its investment in the Greater Victoria Sport Tourism Commission.

Key New Initiatives for 2020 :

Sustainability Committee : At the request of the Hotel Association of Greater Victoria, Destination Greater Victoria will create a sustainability committee whose purpose is to improve Destination Greater Victoria’s approach to sustainability in the visitor economy.

Experiences Strategy : As the visitor economy continues to evolve, Destination Greater Victoria will work with key partners to move visitors throughout the region in a manner that maximizes customer appeal and business needs.

Increased Focus on Environmental Footprint : Destination Greater Victoria is partnering with Offsetters with the goal of becoming a carbon-neutral organization.
2020 BCTIC Sponsorship Opportunities
The BC Tourism Industry Conference offers the opportunity to profile your organization or business to a significant audience of tourism industry professionals.  

Close to 600 owner/operators, destination marketers, educators, government representatives, industry sectors and stakeholders come together to learn, discuss issues, network and take advantage of partnership opportunities to build British Columbia's visitor economy.

If you are interested in learning more, please review the  Sponsorship Package  and contact Nora Cumming at: n.cumming@chemistryconsulting.ca or 250-940-6365
Planning for a Livable and Carbon Neutral Region by 2050
(Date change for workshops)

Metro Vancouver is hosting two workshops to receive preliminary input on the development of Metro Vancouver’s  Clean Air Plan  and  Climate 2050 . Please register for one of the following workshops. (Note: the previously scheduled December 11, 2019 workshop has been rescheduled to January 21, 2020.)

The region is known for its proactive approach to improving air quality and initiating early action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The science is clear now that we need to do more.

These workshops will focus the bold actions required to reduce emissions from the Buildings, Industry and Transportation sectors. Your feedback is essential to ensure we are considering both the biggest opportunities and the realistic challenges to meeting our targets.

January 9, 2020
9am – 2:30pm
Anvil Centre - 777 Columbia Street, New Westminster

NEW January 21, 2020
9am – 2:30pm
SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue -580 W Hastings Street, Vancouver

For more info, email  cleanairplan@metrovancouver.org
Transport 2050:
Phase One Report

Translink recently released the results of Phase 1 engagement in their report, Shaping Our Transportation Future, Together . The report outlines what the region values, and how they want to live and move in the future. The report also contains the results of technical work, examining the current context and possible futures for our region.  Read the report  or  watch the highlights video .

This has been TransLink’s largest ever engagement: they spoke to more than 158,000 people from every part of the region, and more than 31,000 completed the Transport 2050 survey. Translink made efforts to reach less heard voices at 315 events, workshops, and community days.

What's Next? Translink will filter the ideas they heard and to create packages of projects, services, and policies for the future. Next spring, they will launch Phase 2 engagement and share these packages with stakeholders for feedback.
BC Hospitality Foundation Update

The BCHF continues to have a busy year when it comes to providing emergency financial assistance to hospitality workers facing financial crisis due to a health condition. So far in 2019 they’ve helped 25+ beneficiaries with a total of $84,000+. 

If you know someone who might be eligible for our assistance, please direct them to the  application page .  And keep spreading the word about BCHF's mission – and the fundraisers that make their work possible.

In 2020 the BCHF will offer 10 Sommelier Scholarships, as well as five Culinary and 11 Hospitality Scholarships, and three Industry Scholarships. They also have a limited number of opportunities for individuals or businesses who wish to sponsor a scholarship, which is a great way to connect with future employees. Please contact Dana at dana@danalee.biz if you are re interested in being a sponsor.
Road to the Census 2021

A successful 2019 Census Test
From May to June 2019, Statistics Canada conducted a census test to evaluate the census questionnaire—including new and modified questions—as well as collection procedures and tools to get ready for the 2021 Census of Population and the 2021 Census of Agriculture.
The data collected from the 2019 Census Test is now being analyzed and reviewed by Statistics Canada to identify whether proposed census questions allow for timely and relevant data—the kind of data that decision makers in communities across the country can use to plan services that support employment, education and health care.

What’s next?
In the coming months, Statistics Canada will be launching their new Community Snapshot Toolkit—a fillable set of templates that will allow you to create a statistical snapshot of your community.

An in-depth report on how Statistics Canada is preparing for the next census will also be published in early 2020.

For up-to-date information on what's new for 2021, please visit  The Road to the 2021 Census  on Statistics Canada’s website.
Discover Camping

BC Parks recently announced the launch of the new  Discover Camping  reservation service. The new site has many improvements, as well as added features which will be phased in over the next few months.

BC Parks new Discover Camping reservation service: www.discovercamping.ca
Need a Gift Idea?

Protecting the past. Inspiring the future. Help the Royal BC Museum preserve and share the history of British Columbia.

British Columbia is a special place. Everyone who lives here, or visits here, realizes that. BC has a remarkable history full of fascinating stories, and by sharing these stories, the museum can help to shape a better and more inclusive future for our province.

If you’d like to contribute to the Royal BC Museum, and to the telling of the stories of BC, they would welcome your help. Your support will go towards caring for and increasing access to the collections—now and for future generations.
Tourism By the Numbers
Tourism Indicators - YTD

The Destination BC Tourism Indicators publication includes key tourism statistics such as international visitor arrivals data, commercial restaurant receipts, provincial and regional occupancy rates, regional airports, etc.

The November publication shows year-to-date Provincial Hotel Occupancy Rate (Jan-Aug) has risen 0.4 points year over year, and total year-to-date Passenger Volume to YVR (Jan-Sep) has grown by 1.8% year over year, welcoming a staggering 20.2 million passengers.
Industry on the Move
YVR CEO Announces Retirement
Vancouver Airport Authority recently announced that Craig Richmond, president & CEO, has advised the Board of Directors of his plans to retire from YVR on June 30, 2020 after seven years leading the organization.

Craig has spent more than two decades with the YVR family. He joined Vancouver Airport Authority in 1995 and held various operational roles, including Manager, Airside Operations and Vice President, Operations. He then worked as CEO of seven global airports for Vantage Airport Group, returning to YVR in July 2013 to take on the role of president & CEO. During his tenure, he led the team to achieve a wide range of major milestones: ushering in a new strategic plan that set a course for achieving rapid passenger and airline growth, developing YVR’s ambitious 20-year future roadmap, overseeing the creation of the historic Musqueam Indian Band – YVR Airport Sustainability and Friendship Agreement, and leading the team to receive the Skytrax Best Airport in North America award for 10 years in a row—something no other airport has ever done.
The Lund Resort at Klah Ah Men Recognized Nationally
Hard work and passion for success have delivered a prestigious honour to the Tla’amin Nation, its Lund Resort management team and staff. The award for Most Outstanding Indigenous Accommodations was presented at the 8th annual International Indigenous Tourism Conference (IITC) Awards Gala.
Unique Partnership Announced to Grow Business Investment and Tourism in the Central Okanagan
Joining forces to create greater economic impact: that’s the goal of a first-ever partnership between the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission (COEDC) and Tourism Kelowna. The two organizations have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to jointly leverage the region’s key industry sectors to generate business investment and attract new meetings and conferences.
Kelowna to Host 2020 Global Sustainable Tourism Conference
For the first time, the 2020 Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) Global Conference will be hosted in Canada. The conference will be hosted at the Delta Hotels by Marriott Grand Okanagan Resort in Kelowna from November 19 - 22, 2020. The announcement was made in Terceira Island, Azores, on December 6th by GSTC CEO Randy Durband and Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA) CEO Glenn Mandziuk.  
Sea to Sky Gondola Cabins Arrive
After an 8,240km journey from Olten, Switzerland, 30 brand new cabins have arrived at the Sea to Sky Gondola. The cabins were manufactured by CWA of Switzerland and are the same model as they currently have. They accommodate eight guests and are accessible for both wheelchairs and strollers. In addition to ongoing lift repairs, maintenance and security system enhancements, the team will soon begin to assemble the new cabins, which includes outfitting them with the grip and hanger assemblies that have also just arrived. This is another huge milestone in the journey to an early spring re-opening.
Ultraman Canada announces 5-year deal to hold race in Penticton
On the heels of a successful test run this year, organizers of Ultraman Canada have inked a deal to hold the race in Penticton for the next five years. The event will serve as the only qualifying race in Canada for the Ultraman World Championships in Hawaii.The three-day race is divided into three stages. The first day is a 10-km swim followed by a 145-km bike ride. Day two is a 275-km bike ride while day three is a 84.4-km double-marathon.
Whistler X Triathlon Returning in 2020
In just its second running, the Whistler X Triathlon will serve as a stepping stone to the international level. Triathlon BC recently announced that the race, set for June 14, 2020, would be an age-group qualifier for the 2021 ITU Cross World Championships in Townsville, Australia.
Disastrous Sportfishing Season on the Fraser River a ‘Wakeup Call’
The pre-season estimate was for a median forecast of almost five million sockeye salmon to return to the Fraser River, but by the end of summer 2019, it was clear it wouldn’t come anywhere close to that number. One estimate was that only 600,000 fish eventually made it to spawning grounds.
BC Hotel Activity Stays Strong
BC hotels saw growth of revenue per available room (RevPAR) drop from a lofty 10% to just 3% over the past year, which sounds like a disaster except for the fact that growth across the country has fallen from about 5.5% last year to near zero. Nationally, the slowdown could last two years, but BC is poised to continue enjoying good times for the foreseeable future. Steady growth in demand and an increase of just 240 rooms, or 0.4% of the total stock, mean stiff competition for existing rooms. This will put upward pressure on nightly rates and room revenue.
Upcoming Industry Events
January 17-18, 2020, Victoria

January 19-22, 2020, Victoria

March 4-6, 2020, Victoria

April 6-7, 2020, Kelowna

April 28-30, 2020, Whistler

October 21-22, 2020, Kelowna

Send us your event listings and we can include it on our list!
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