December 21, 2017
The Voice of the BC Tourism Industry
Merry Christmas from Laura, Walt and Mr. & Mrs. Claus

CEO's Message

As I grow older, I find that the years seem to blend together save for a few outstanding incidents or memorable moments on both a personal and professional level. These occurrences help me to remember the actual year, usually from a positive perspective but occasionally from a negative standpoint.

As I look back at 2017, four things immediately come to mind: damaging spring flooding in the Okanagan, unprecedented wildfires in the Cariboo Chilcotin, record visitation to Metro Vancouver and Vancouver Island (among other communities), and a new tourism minister for our province.  

What you recall most about 2017 might look decidedly different. Regardless, it was indeed a memorable period for British Columbia's tourism industry, which for the most part, has been on a roll since 2013.

TIABC has also had another strong year thanks to the work and commitment of our board, staff, and committee members, as well as the support of our conference sponsors, regional associations, and partners such as Destination British Columbia. We also enjoyed solid relationships with governments at all levels, and especially with our members representing 19 sectors, 45 DMOs and 108 tourism operators. We sincerely appreciate your confidence in TIABC.

All in all, it's fair to say there were many good things and some not so good things that shaped B.C.'s visitor economy over the last 12 months.  So my question to you is..."How will you remember 2017?"  Send me your thoughts but please try to be more bullish than cynical.

On behalf of TIABC's board and staff, I wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. See you at the BC Tourism Industry Conference in Kelowna.

By the way, I did enjoy a few personal highlights this year including becoming a grandfather for the first time, a father-in-law for the second time, and returning to my childhood home in Bavaria for the third time.

Or was that last year?

Walt Judas, CEO

Early-bird Registration Open With a Chance to Win

March 7-9, 2018 in Kelowna

The BC TIC Program Committee has been hard at work putting the finishing touches on workshop details, speakers and plenary sessions to be unveiled in early January.

Early-bird registration is now open and will be in place until January 31st. Big White Ski Resort has put together a fabulous draw prize for all early- bird registrants so don't miss out on the opportunity to win! Details to follow in January.

Register now and book your room at the Delta Hotel Grand Okanagan Resort to secure your spot. 


Tourism and Hospitality Training Launched in Port Hardy
For the first time, students in Port Hardy  can kickstart their career in West Coast tourism and hospitality without leaving home. North Island College now offers a Tourism and Hospitality course in Port Hardy to serve new initiatives like the recently opened Kwa'lilas HotelStarting January 29, North Island College (NIC) will offer a two year, part time Tourism and Hospitality Management certificate at its new Thunderbird Mall Campus. The program is similar to NIC's full time certificate in the Comox Valley but NIC now offers it part time to improve access for students.

Electric Charging Stations Could Drive Northern B.C. Tourism

Charging stations for electric vehicles are lighting up across B.C., and the Community Energy Association (CEA) wants to create a 1,200-km route of stations from Kamloops to Haida Gwaii.

Whistler Blackcomb Announces $66 Million in Upgrades
Vail Resorts, new owners of  Whistler Blackcomb, has announced what it calls a "historic" $66-million investment to fund upgrades to the resort.

A new 10-person gondola will be installed on Blackcomb Mountain, replacing the Wizard and Solar chairlifts and increasing the capacity to move people from the base to the top of the mountain by 47%.

In addition, the Emerald Express four-person chairlift will be replaced with a six-person, high-speed lift. The Catskinner triple lift is being replaced with a four-passenger high-speed lift.  Expansion plans also include adding 21 kilometres of trails to the summer mountain bike park.  All work is expected to be complete by the 2018-19 ski season.

Numbers You Need to Know

Tourism Richmond Visitor Volume Survey
Every two years, Tourism Richmond conducts a visitor volume survey (VVS) to determine the overall visitor volume and expenditure estimates, as well as gain valuable insights into visitor and trip characteristics. This year, they added specific survey questions to ask Richmond residents. Done in-person during the shoulder and high summer seasons at hotels, attractions and shopping areas in both Steveston and downtown Richmond, Tourism Richmond was able to capture visitor and resident data.  Preliminary analysis of resident data has shown that 73% of Richmond residents feel that tourism is important to the city's economy.

July and August saw record numbers of travellers through Prince George airport.  Passenger data for the month of July shows over 42,000 people, an increase of 18% over the same month last year. As for August, that number jumped to almost 46,000, an increase of 21% over 2016.

2017 continued to show strong numbers as 43,874 passengers moved through Prince George International Airport in November 2017. This was an increase of 11.5% or 4,522 more passengers over November 2016 when passenger volume was 39,352. 

In 2016, 462,007 passengers travelled in and out of Prince George Airport. Year-to-date for 2017, 454,631 passengers have enplaned or deplaned through YXS. 

Kelowna's Tourism Industry Continues to Grow
The Tourism Kelowna Society held their AGM on December 5th at Kelowna's Coast Capri Hotel with over 100 tourism business and community leaders, staff, and volunteers in attendance. Of note, hotel occupancy rose nearly 2.2% between September 2016 and August 2017.
"Tourism in Kelowna and surrounding communities continues to grow and is a strong driver of our local economy," said Lisanne Ballantyne, Tourism Kelowna's president and CEO. "While this year's challenging weather-related events had an impact on visitation over the summer months, overall our growth trend continues with strong visitation numbers and new businesses opening and expanding to offer memorable experiences to visitors."
Tourism is big business in Kelowna and the Central Okanagan. Recent data shows that the tourism industry contributes some $1.25 billion in economic impact. Over 1.9 million visitors spend approximately $337 million annually. The local tourism industry generates $142 million in tax revenues and is the third-largest employer in the region representing 11,890 jobs. Tourism Kelowna's strategic plan includes a goal of attracting 3 million overnight visitors by 2021 and delivering a positive experience to encourage repeat visits and referrals.

TIABC Welcomes Three New Members

Elysian Projects
Elysian Projects Inc. consults with companies, industries, consumers and sectors searching for expertise in British Columbia's wine and tourism industries. Its owners, Kenn and Sandra Oldfield, are founders of Tinhorn Creek Vineyards and have spent 25 years helping to shape and elevate wine and tourism in the province. Work with clients focusses on strategic, innovative solutions to support their goals, propel them forward and give them customized tools for future successes. 

Seekers Media
Seekers Media is a leading content production and content marketing company with over nine years of experience in the industry. Founded with an aspiration to challenge the world to explore Western Canada, Seekers Media's series of media brands invites audiences to connect with the places they want to explore and go on the adventures of a lifetime.

Discover Langley City

Discover Langley City joins our DMO category, promoting Langley City as "The Place to be"

Know of Any Tourism Students Seeking Sponsorship to #BCTIC?

TIABC is seeking full-time tourism students studying in BC who wish to be considered for sponsorship to attend the BC Tourism Industry Conference. 

We currently have three sponsorships available thanks to two industry partners: Pacific Gateway Hotel (Richmond), Sun Peaks Grand Hotel & Conference Centre along with TIABC. We are hoping for more sponsorships and will update our progress in future newsletters. 

To learn more, visit our website at:

If you are interested, please let us know at

Outlook for BC's Economy in 2018

Amid heightened global uncertainty, a severe commodities slump and acute affordability challenges in the Lower Mainland, British Columbia's economy hasn't just made it through the last several years - it has thrived.

"The last three or four years from a macroeconomic point of view really have been the best of times," explained Jock Finlayson, executive vice-president and chief policy officer of the Business Council of British Columbia (BCBC).

Commodity markets improved dramatically in 2017, B.C.'s population grew and employment is poised to expand by 3.5%. Even with two interest rate hikes from the Bank of Canada, the cost of money remains highly attractive, and historically low. The BCBC's latest economic review and outlook also cites  a booming tourism sector , "robust" consumer spending and rising incomes as contributing factors to B.C.'s impressive economic growth.

In 2018, the BCBC, RBC and other institutions are tempering their expectations.  RBC's provincial outlook forecasts real gross domestic product growth of 2.2% - not as impressive as 2017, but RBC Economics is still "pretty positive" about B.C.'s prospects, given its track record over the past four years, said senior economist Robert Hogue.

The unemployment rate in B.C. is expected to be the lowest in Canada in 2018, but the flip side of that is that in terms of trying to hire, it's going to become even more difficult. It may raise labour costs, and so it may have a restraining effect on overall growth in the province.

Canada is One Step Closer to 
Expanding P reclearance Operations  with U.S.A.

Expanding preclearance will enable faster travel between Canada and the United States, provide access to more American airports, bolster trade, better protect our rights and increase security.  

The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, highlighted the importance of Bill C-23: An Act respecting the preclearance of persons and goods in Canada and the United States receiving Royal Assent. This important milestone brings Canada and the United States closer to implementing  the Agreement on Land, Rail, Marine and Air Transport Preclearance between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States of America.

Once enabling regulations are in place, Canada and the United States can ratify the Agreement and start expanding preclearance operations to other modes of transportation - land, rail and marine - in addition to new locations in the air mode. The Agreement also opens the door to explore possibilities for cargo preclearance. The regulations for the air mode are expected to be in place by the end of 2018.

2018 Canada-China Year of Tourism

In September 2016, Prime Minister Trudeau and Premier Li of China announced that 2018 will be the Canada-China Year of Tourism. China is Canada's third largest source of tourists. In 2016, Canada welcomed nearly 610,100 Chinese tourists spending $1.5 billion.

The 2018  Canada-China Year of Tourism  is an opportunity to showcase all that Canada's tourism industry has to offer in the Chinese market and to attract visitors from the world's largest tourism market. Seven new Visa Application Centers opened in China earlier this year and Destination Canada's marketing efforts are being augmented. The 2018 Canada-China Year of Tourism supports the targets set out in  Canada's New Tourism Vision, including the doubling of Chinese visitation to Canada by 2021.
On December 4th, Prime Minister Trudeau and the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Small Business and Tourism, unveiled the 2018 Canada-China Year of Tourism logo in the headquarters of Sina Weibo.

Destination Canada has a promotional site in China, which markets Canada's tourist attractions to a Chinese audience:

To learn more, visit:

Meet over 400 Tourism Students at go2HR's Student Industry Rendezvous 2018

go2HR's Student Industry Rendezvous is an exciting opportunity where you can...
  • Connect with over 400 enthusiastic and skilled tourism and hospitality students;
  • Showcase your business in the tradeshow portion;
  • Have in-depth discussions with students at the "speed networking" roundtables;
  • Answer their questions about working with you and in the industry.
Time: Tuesday, January 30, 2018, 12:30 - 4:30pm
Location: Vancouver Convention Centre East -  1055 Canada Place, Vancouver

Employers last year had very positive experiences at Rendezvous 2017:

  • 77% said they connected with 20+ students;
  • 100% agreed that the event allowed them to create more exposure for their company to students.
The labour market is tight and this is a perfect opportunity to get a head start on recruitment for the new year. Spaces are limited and this event sold out last year - don't miss the chance to network with future stars of the industry! Registration deadline is Jan. 15, 2018. For more details, please visit:

Adventure Tourism Coalition
Photo credit: Alain Sleigher - B.C. Adventure Tourism Coalition 

Adventure tourism in BC  developed rapidly in the 1990s  and early-mid 2000s  as a result of the sector's efforts to  formally organize and plan for success While the  sector continues to grow  in terms of annual  revenues and visitors served,  growth opportunities have  become increasingly constrained i n recent years by a  number of factors that  undermine business certainty  and  stability  for over 2,200 business  operations.

In 2016, adventure tourism industry stakeholders got together and realized they were all going to the government for the same reasons.  The Adventure Tourism Coalition includes a wide spectrum of adventure tourism operators, including heli-skiing operators, hunting groups, mountain guides, backcountry lodges, mountain biking associations and many more. It's an unprecedented move for B.C., with a total of 18 motorized and non-motorized adventure tourism sectors coming together for a common goal.

TIABC continues to be proud being part of this important work and looks forward to a productive 2018.

Ongoing Cannabis Advocacy Campaign
ABLE B.C. Needs Your Help

ABLE BC partnered with the BCGEU to form the Responsible Marijuana Retail Alliance of BC and advocate for the sale of recreational cannabis in B.C.'s liquor stores.

Together, they have launched a province-wide advertising campaign to demonstrate to government and British Columbians that B.C.'s liquor stores are best suited to retail cannabis safely and responsibly.

This campaign is not in ABLE BC's current budget and they need your support to fund it. They are asking all LRS members to make a minimum donation of $300 per store. 
Government will release details in early 2018 as to how cannabis will be retailed.

How to donate:
If you have any other questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact Jeff Guignard (ABLE BC Executive Director) at 604-688-5560 or

Small But Mighty: 
BC Wineries Fight for Canadian Wine for All

Five small BC wineries, intervening on behalf of a coalition of more than 100 BC wineries, had their day in court on December 7th during a rare two-day hearing at the Supreme Court of Canada.

The wineries were represented by Coulson Litigation. The R.V. Comeau hearing addressed the legal barriers to inter-provincial shipping of Canadian wine and how it has negatively impacted consumer choice, as well as threatening the local wine industry itself.

The outcome of the case, expected to be decided on in 2018, will determine the extent to which Canada is a national common market for Canadian-made liquor. The case will have resounding impacts across Canada whatever the outcome.


Kudos to go2HR for a Creative Christmas Message Worth Sharing with the Masses

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