February  1, 2018
The Voice of the BC Tourism Industry
Big White Ski Resort hosts the official Team Canada send-off January 6, 2018
Photo credit: Big White Ski Resort

Chair's Message

During my many years in the military, I participated in countless drills and exercises under the guise of being totally prepared for a so-called 'real emergency'. No matter how large or small the drill, we were taught to take it seriously, execute it to perfection, and learn from our mistakes. To do otherwise was considered insubordination and subject to reprimand by our commanding officers.
Recently I was reminded of my military training after two false alarm incidents...the first in Hawaii, the second here at home. The alert in Hawaii was initiated by an individual who essentially ignored the usual protocols and subsequently triggered widespread panic by both residents and visitors. Mistake aside, the debacle illuminated Hawaii's state of preparedness...or lack thereof...in the event of an actual incident.
Then last week, a tsunami warning was issued for coastal British Columbia following a major earthquake in Alaska. Emergency Management B.C. activated the provincial emergency notification system that in turn activated emergency plans by communities throughout Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii.  The response was swift and admirable on all levels. Although my own community of Duncan was not officially evacuated to higher ground, I did receive the warnings on my smartphone, which ultimately forced me to stay alert and be prepared.
With the impacts of climate change more evident in the form of more frequent severe storms and unusual weather patterns, it behoves all of us in the tourism industry to consider our own state of preparedness for major incidents so that we can provide assistance to both residents and visitors to our respective businesses and/or communities when the time comes.
Fortunately, great efforts have been taken by Emergency Management B.C., Destination B.C., the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, the regional tourism associations, TIABC and many others to inform and educate our sector on the inevitable. That said there is more to be done and to learn that we can ultimately apply to our individual and collective emergency response plans.
I strongly urge you to review the information on TIABC's website to ensure your organization is better prepared when a major emergency arises. ( www.tiabc.ca/advocacy-policy-development/bctourismmatters/emergency-preparedness) At the same time, let's keep our fingers crossed that we don't receive any further alerts for the foreseeable future, especially since many in our industry are still recovering from last summer's wildfires and floods.

For your information, TIABC has been working with the province and our colleagues at the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association on restitution for operators affected directly by the wildfires, many of whom lost an entire summer's business and some of whom have closed shop permanently. We'll share more in the coming months.
Jim Humphrey, Chair 

You Asked and We Responded:
Early-bird Registration Deadline Extended 
to February 7, 2018

March 7-9, 2018 in Kelowna

Program details are now available on the conference website:

You will also see regular emails highlighting exciting sessions, speakers and activities.

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

TIABC Welcomes Three New Members

From incredible helicopter backcountry adventures to motion picture and industry operations, SKY Helicopters stands out by creating an experience that always places their guest first. Sky Helicopters is 109th business to join TIABC.

Sunshine Coast Tourism promotes the beautiful area from Howe Sound to Desolation Sound. The organization is  led by a volunteer Board of Directors and two full time staff, plus more than 200 members. Sunshine Coast Tourism is the 47th DMO to join TIABC.

Vancouver Island University, contains three campuses (Nanaimo, Powell River and Cowichan), and offers several tourism programs including certificates, diplomas and a Bachelor of Tourism Management. VIU is the 8th educational institution to join TIABC.

Federal Government Invests $2.25M in 
BC's Aboriginal Tourism  

A $2.25-million investment from the federal government is designed to expand the growing Aboriginal tourism sector, said the federal tourism minister.

Bardish Chagger, who was recently in Victoria to take part in the Impact Sustainability Travel and Tourism Conference, said the money will help ensure Aboriginal tourism can grow and sustain itself. "This is about Indigenous people supporting Indigenous business," said Chagger. The money is to be handed out over three years to Aboriginal Tourism B.C.

Currently, Aboriginal tourism in B.C. represents about $700 million in consumer spending, and employs about 7,000 people. 



Record-breaking Holiday Season at Big White Ski Resort Boosted by International Visitors
For the second year in a row, Big White Ski Resort is coming off of its busiest Christmas season in history. This year, the success is due to international visitors from Australia who took advantage of new nonstop service from Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne to Vancouver and onto Kelowna. "Skier visits were up 4.1% while food and beverage numbers were up 12.8% over this traditional busy period", commented Trevor Hanna, Vice President of Hospitality at Big White Ski Resort Ltd. According to Big White's Central Reservations team, the resort welcomed 495 more Australian guests this year than during last year's holiday period.

Big White Ski Resort Ltd. employs over 1,090 full-time team members during the winter season who worked over 90,000 man hours an increase of 3.5% during the two-week holiday period. Wage dollars paid was up 4.1% during the same period and staff numbers overall were up 2.3%.

Highway Closures from Wildfires Help Push Prince George Airport to Record Year
Prince George's airport had its busiest year in 2017, driven by passengers trying to bypass wildfires and new flights to Edmonton, Alta., and Dawson Creek, B.C.

Overall, 499,125 passengers passed through the airport in 2017, an eight-per-cent jump over 2016.
The airport expects further increases in March 2018,  when WestJet begins offering direct flights to Calgary.

YVR to Welcome Hainan Airlines in Spring 2018
Hainan Airlines announced they will begin service to Vancouver International Airport (YVR) from Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport (SZX), via Tianjin Binhai International Airport (TSN).  The twice-weekly service will commence starting May 25, 2018, according to YVR.

Tourism Programs at TRU Featured in National Magazine

Adventure Studies and Tourism Management were mentioned as Standout Programs in the article that traces Thompson River University's history since 1970.

Tourism Deal Signed Between B.C. and Chinese Social Media Giant WeChat
Tencent International Business Group, a leading provider of internet services in China and owner of social media giant WeChat (Weixin in China), signed a tourism promotion agreement with Destination BC. The agreement is the first of its kind in Canada. It will give B.C. a preferred marketing platform on the messaging social media app, which attracts over 900 million daily active users - making it one of the largest in the world.

Numbers You Need to Know

Online Qualitative Research Reveals Visitor Pain Points
Last summer, Destination BC commissioned Upwords, a qualitative research firm, to conduct experience mapping research via mobile ethnographies and online discussion boards. This project allowed them to learn about, and better understand, the pain-points visitors and potential visitors to BC experience at varying stages of their travel journey. Learn more about these pain points and the impact they have on the travel and trip planning experience by emailing
TourismResearch@DestinationBC.ca  to request a copy of the key findings.

Vancouver Gears Up for Busiest Convention Year Ever
In 2018, Vancouver will welcome 33 citywide conventions and events, the highest number the city has ever hosted in a single year.

Over the course of 2018, these 33 events will bring over 100,000 out-of-town delegates to Vancouver where they will inject money into the local economy through hotel stays, dining, attractions visits, shopping, transit and more.

Labour Shortages Continue
Victoria has experienced another month of unemployment decline, hitting a national low of 3.4% unemployment. This comes at a time when the tourism industry is seeing continued growth in visitation. In Canada, the tourism industry is made up of 1.78 million workers and over 200,000 employers. It is estimated that by the year 2020, there will be over 100,000 unfilled jobs in tourism across Canada. Employers are facing challenges in finding not only the appropriate candidates for their vacant positions, but in some cases, particularly during peak season, finding any candidates at all.

The Importance of the VFR Market
Note: the final survey data has been statistically weighted by age and gender to 2016 census data to accurately represent the Richmond resident population.
In 2017, Tourism Richmond's Visitor Volume Study included specific survey questions for Richmond residents.

In 2017, 49% of Richmond residents had visitors fro m outside Metro Vancouver, spend at least one night with them.  74% of the Richmond residents hosted guests more than one time over the past year.

Survey on Regulatory and Trade Barriers in Canada
The Government of British Columbia would like to hear from B.C. businesses and other stakeholders regarding regulatory barriers in Canadian jurisdictions, which hinder their opportunity to do business or work across Canada.

You are invited to complete a short online questionnaire at:

Please complete the questionnaire by Friday February 9, 2018.

The new Canadian Free Trade Agreement, which came into effect on July 1, 2017:
  • Aims to reduce and eliminate, to the extent possible, barriers to the free movement of persons, goods, services and investments within Canada, and
  • Establishes a Regulatory Reconciliation and Cooperation Table (RCT) to address regulatory measures that are compliant with the Agreement but that stakeholders may experience as a barrier when doing business across federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions.
A regulatory barrier can take many forms, such as differing testing or certification requirements, or technical standards; differing trucking, shipping or transportation requirements; and differing product labelling, or sizing/packaging requirements.

Each government is responsible for identifying which specific regulatory measures it wishes to bring forward to the RCT on behalf of its stakeholders.

Thank you in advance for your input, which will be invaluable in helping to inform British Columbia's participation on the RCT. 

Please direct any inquiries to  Trade.Policy@gov.bc.ca

National Carriers Announce New Routes 
Air Canada has announced it will begin new domestic regional non-stop flights on July 2, 2018. The new routes, including Edmonton to Kelowna and Victoria, and Calgary to Comox,  are now available for purchase along with introductory promotional fares at aircanada.com.

"With Alberta being such a key market, the new direct flights into Kelowa, Victoria and Comox are great news for British Columbia's visitor economy," said Walt Judas, CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of British Columbia. "Air Canada's commitment to servicing these routes is not only a huge boost for the individual communities, it is also a major benefit for the Thompson Okanagan and Vancouver Island regions as a whole."

Air Canada also recently announced that its current seasonal non-stop Vancouver-Delhi flights will become year-round starting June 8, 2018. 

"People in B.C. will benefit from the two-way tourism and business opportunities created through Air Canada's first year-round direct service between Vancouver and Delhi," said B.C. Premier John Horgan. "This new flight helps build on B.C.'s growing business relationships and people-to-people connections with India, the country of origin for over 230,000 British Columbians. 

Walt Judas and Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun at Swoop launch
WestJet's Swoop will take off in June 
with low-cost flights between 5 cities.  WestJet announced the schedule for its new "ultra-low-cost" airline Swoop, which will include 24 flights a week from Hamilton.
The new flights will take off in June, travelling six times a week between Abbotsford, B.C., and Hamilton, Hamilton and Halifax, Hamilton and Edmonton, Hamilton and Winnipeg and  Abbotsford and Edmonton. 

Ministry of Agriculture Releases New 
AgriTourism Guidebook  

The purpose of the Farm Diversification through Agri-Tourism Guidebook is to provide practical step-by-step guidance for farmers who are interested in engaging in agri-tourism. 

The guide presents a number of tools and strategies to design and create memorable farm-based experiences that can attract and satisfy visitors. It also profiles some examples of agri-tourism ventures to encourage innovation in other operators. The guide is organized into various chapters that explain the five main steps involved in designing and providing a high quality visitor experience.

Download the guide here

Feel free to share with others who may benefit from this resource.

YVR and Destination Canada 
Sign Historic Agreement
The Vancouver Airport Authority (YVR) and Destination Canada have signed a memorandum of understanding, designed to strengthen the relationship between the two organizations and to align strategic priorities in air service development, tourism and business opportunities throughout Canada.

The purpose of the agreement is to enhance YVR and Destination Canada's respective approaches to increasing tourism and maximizing the impact of resources.

According to a press release, it encourages both organizations to share knowledge, expertise and market intelligence to support each other in reaching their respective goals. It also agrees to cooperate in marketing programs in countries of mutual interest, including China, to support destination growth and the growth of key airline partners.

North Coast Ferry Service Review - Input Needed

A group of stakeholders coordinated by Tourism Prince Rupert  has commissioned a study to help build tourism on Northern B.C.'s coast. The stakeholders' recent experience with ferry service level changes has highlighted an urgent need for improved consultation to improve decision-making on ferry services, considering the impacts on tourism and regional development.

The group has developed an online public survey for tourism stakeholders to voice concerns and provide input on opportunities for improvement on the North Coast Ferry schedule. 

The survey is available online until February 13.
For full information on this initiative, please download more information here.  

go2HR and TOTA Create Videos 
to Address Labour Challenges

Are you struggling to fill all your open positions? Worried about not meeting the hiring demand of the upcoming season? go2HR and the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association have created two new videos to showcase why youth and baby boomer employees choose - and love - to work in the local tourism industry. 


go2HR Welcomes New Policy Analyst

g o2  HR, BC's tourism industry human resource association, is pleased to announce the appointment of  Dorothy Easton  to the new position of Policy Analyst.
Dorothy will be providing research, analysis and recommendations on key employment-related issues and policies affecting the B.C. tourism labour market. Working closely with leaders in industry, government, educators and other stakeholders, she will play a leadership role in the ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the BC Tourism Labour Market Strategy.

Dorothy brings extensive policy analysis experience to the role including five years in a similar position with the Industry Training Authority. Prior to her new role, she worked with the federal government on the Operational Aboriginal Policy Team of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency. She has a B.A. in Economics and a master's degree in Public Policy from Simon Fraser University in BC.
"We are thrilled to have found Dorothy as she has a great deal of relevant professional experience in policy and research, as well as within the hospitality industry, and we are sure she will bring much insight to the role,"  said Arlene Keis, CEO of go2HR.

As the Province Continues its Work on Ride-sharing, Dozens of Illegal Operators Fined in  Richmond 
Photo credit: Vancouver Courier

Over the past two weeks, the Passenger Transportation Board, the City of Richmond and RCMP investigators conducted a number of coordinated enforcement operations to target known ride sourcing operators that have been blatantly flaunting provincial regulations, as well as operating without municipal business licences. As a result:
  • 12 operators were stopped
  • Passenger Transportation Board  issued 12 tickets with fines of $1,150 each;
  • City licencing inspector issued 36 tickets, three to each driver for:
    • o   operating a business without a licence ($1,000 Fine );
    • o   failure to display a Chauffeur's Permit ($50 fine); and
    • o   failure to display a tariff card ($100 fine);
  • RCMP issued five tickets; and
  • one vehicle was towed.
Of the 12 vehicles stopped, one driver possessed a "N" designation while another driver had an expired licence.   Other enforcement operations have found drivers with prior driving infractions that prohibit them from driving.  Unlike licensed operators these drivers have also not been required to clear a criminal record check. The operation consisted of enforcement officers from the PTB, Richmond's Business Licences group ,as well as an RCMP member. 

Read the full City of Richmond News Release here.

Top Ten Insights from 2017 

Last year, Insights West polled Canadians on several interesting and important issues, culminating in over 50 public press releases on topics as diverse as sexual harassment in the workplace, trophy hunting, marijuana legalization, social media habits, housing affordability, diet, political leaders and more. 

The annual list of "Top 10 Insights" from 2017 are:

#1 - If you thought #MeToo was just about entertainment, think again

#2 - The most competitive election in British Columbia since 1996

#3 - Dismay towards trophy hunting leads to policy change in British Columbia

#4 - A popular prime minister, with some confusing fiscal policies

#5 - Most Canadians want legal marijuana, but provinces take different approaches

#6 - Housing, not the economy, is top of mind in Metro Vancouver 

#7 - Alberta's right unites, as New Democrats seek to remain in power

#8 - When it comes to social media, Canadians are ready for change

#9 - British Columbians enjoying more local wine, shunning Europe and Australia

#10 - Canadians are aware of healthy foods, but not all of them have tried them

For more insight on each of these ten topics, visit: 

Two Things Your Tourism Business 
Should Never Do  

According to Green Tourism Canada, most businesses are only communicating 30% of all of their sustainability related activities, or "Greenhushing ." Many others are "Greenwashing ," or exaggerating their sustainability achievements. What's going on and how can you avoid these two mistakes that are bad business practices?

After talking to thousands of tourism businesses over the past several years, we know that the number one reason tourism operators pursue sustainability is because of the marketing benefits. Unfortunately, many of these same businesses that are implementing green practices, and even some that have achieved Green Tourism certification, are guilty of Greenhushing. Xavier Font et al. suggests that this is due to a conscious effort by tourism operators to limit how much they are sharing and how they are sharing it. This is done to prevent a perceived disconnection that they believe exists between their own sustainability values or practices, and their customers, thereby mitigating a potential disconnection between what they think their customers want and their own views on sustainability. Talk about paralysis by analysis!

Research indicates, year-over-year, that the demand for socially responsible and environmentally friendly tourism products is growing. More than 70% of travellers want (and many expect) tourism businesses to be operating in these ways.

Festival of Trees Another Big Win for BC Charities  

The Oliver Osoyoss Festival of Trees has come and gone but its legacy continues, with the event raising more than $5,000 for B.C. Children's Hospital and an additional $1,783 for the South Okanagan Children's Charity.

"It's a wonderful feeling to give back and remember what the holidays are really about," explained Executive Director, Jennifer Busmann. "This is why we hold the Festival of Trees so close to our hearts and we're absolutely delighted to hear how much we've raised for such deserving causes."

Twenty-four trees were decorated by local businesses and displayed in three locations within the Oliver and Osoyoos communities; Nk'Mip Cellars, Watermark Beach Resort and Frank Venables Theatre Lobby. With a suggested minimum donation of $2 per person, visitors were encouraged to vote for their favourite tree. 


This past holiday season, Big White Ski Resort was proud to donate and decorate a tree for Kelowna's Festival of Trees hosted at Mission Hill Family Estate Winery - an event that raised more than $30,000 for B.C. Children's Hospital Foundation.

Big White made a donation of $2,000 this year on behalf of its community. As would be expected, the resort chose to decorate their tree with slope-side style. From tip to trunk, the joyful red, white and gold tree was adorned with delicate glass ice skates, festive poinsettias, candy-cane coloured bows, shiny baubles and even a pair of vintage ski poles.

This holiday event, Kelowna's Festival of Trees, is a special chance for local businesses to unite with their community for an important cause - to raise much-needed funds for B.C. Children's Hospital Foundation.

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