Voice of the BC Tourism Industry
February 6, 2020
CEO's Message

At one point in my career, I was responsible for the downtown Vancouver visitor centre during a time when bricks and mortar venues were still a primary source for information for travelers in-destination. My amazing team used to keep track of the funniest questions that visitors asked, and I in turn used this information to open presentations I gave about Vancouver to various groups.

Some of my favourites included: “How much do the totem poles in Stanley Park grow each year?” “Can I catch the Skytrain to Alaska?” “Do I have enough time to drive to Banff for lunch and be back here for dinner?”

Aside from eliciting a good laugh, my audience was always astounded at just how little visitors knew about BC’s geography or the sheer size of our country. To be fair, this was before the Internet became the go-to source for travel information, but still.

Where the lack of knowledge really showed was during the SARS crisis in 2003. To refresh your memory, the virus affected 8,100 people in more than 25 countries, including over 400 Canadians…largely in Toronto where 44 people ultimately died of SARS. In BC, there were only four probable cases but nothing confirmed and no outbreak.

At the height of the SARS pandemic, tourism to BC virtually dried up overnight. Even though Toronto was the epicentre of the crisis in Canada, the entire country had suddenly become a pariah. I remember the calls from meeting planners cancelling major conferences. Similarly for tour operators and independent travelers choosing other destinations to travel to. It got to the point where business was so slow, the bureau laid-off staff while many member businesses did the same.

It was clear that misperceptions, misinformation and ignorance ruled the day. It seemed no matter how hard we tried, we simply could not convince clients and visitors that Vancouver was safe, let alone thousands of kilometres from YYZ. To put it in perspective, you can fly between virtually every country in Europe in the same time it takes to fly from Vancouver to Toronto. In other words, it's a long ways away.
To salvage an already challenging year, we needed to act…and fast. Vancouver and BC’s visitor economy were at stake. We spent subsequent months educating and informing clients, potential visitors, members and stakeholders on the facts about SARS and its impact on Vancouver. We hosted a forum attended by hundreds of members where BC's chief medical health officer provided detailed information and dispelled myths. We also conducted countless media interviews and published letters from medical experts before the tide eventually turned.

Suffice it to say, we learned a lot from the SARS crisis, the most important being that with pandemics, there is no predictable path or easy solution to dealing with the incidental consequences on the visitor economy.

BC tourism leaders are keeping a close watch on an eerily similar, yet notably different pandemic (Coronavirus) that has the potential to wreak havoc on tourism worldwide. In some respects it already has. Rest-assured, we’re prepared to act if and when necessary while at the same time hoping to avoid the kind of panic that ensued during SARS in 2003.

I encourage you to keep TIABC, Destination BC, your regional and community destination management organizations, or sector associations posted on any impact your business has experienced as a consequence of the Coronavirus outbreak overseas. We in turn will keep you abreast of any developments and actions needed to respond to and/or recover from any ramifications of this outbreak.

To end on a more positive note, allow me to share my all time favourite question from an international visitor to BC. “How much is $20 Canadian dollars worth here?”

In case you're wondering, the answer is $20 dollars.

Walt Judas

Coronavirus Update  

TIABC encourages all stakeholders to rely on official sources of information for updates on the coronavirus.

For Canada’s response to this issue, visit The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC)’s online resources at:

Travellers are encouraged to read the PHAC travel advisory  here  and sign up with the Registration of Canadians Abroad service  here  to stay connected with the Government of Canada in case of an emergency abroad or an emergency at home.

BC’s Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, advises that for the general public no special precautions are recommended beyond the usual measures to prevent infection from other common respiratory viruses during the winter period. You can find preventative information  here  on the PHAC’s website.

TIABC, Destination BC, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture, and TIAC are all actively monitoring the coronavirus situation and will respond accordingly with further direction to tourism stakeholders.
BC Tourism Industry Conference
Join us March 4 to 6, 2020 in Victoria!
Early Bird fees will end on January 31st.

BCTIC 2020
Session Spotlight

TIABC Town Hall
Wednesday March 4 3:00pm to 4:30pm

Working Together: A Collaborative Government Approach to Tourism
Government plays an integral role in the health and welfare of BC’s visitor economy. The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture supports the alignment of provincial tourism priorities and sets the strategic direction, while working collaboratively with other ministries that deliver tourism-related activities. The Province also provides a regulatory and policy environment to enable the tourism industry to compete effectively with other destinations and positively contribute to resident quality of life and the creation of life-long careers and well-paying jobs.

In this plenary session, representatives from several government ministries will provide an overview of how their work supports tourism and the key considerations that inform their policy decisions. Introductory remarks by the Honourable Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts & Culture.

The panel discussion will be followed by a Q&A session with audience participation. Moderator: Walt Judas, CEO, TIABC.

BCTIC 2020
Sponsor Spotlight

Destination Greater Victoria

Destination Greater Victoria is looking forward to another robust year in 2020. But if 2019 taught us anything it is not to take growth in our industry for granted. While experienced industry practitioners and destination marketers know that our business is cyclical and growth can never be assumed, it can be easy to take the business for granted.

Although our projections are solid, we still begin 2020 with cautious optimism. We have a much stronger foundation of meetings and convention business in 2020 than we did in 2019. This business is also well-distributed across the year. Industry players are adjusting to be more competitive with tour and travel business, and we are refreshing and revising all aspects of our marketing program to drive improved results in our short-haul marketing efforts. We are also keenly aware of risks in our macro-economic environment. Growth of the Greater Victoria visitor economy has been strong and sustained. At a certain point in time this economic growth is expected to slow, and the visitor economy would experience a downturn.

Greater Victoria remains a beacon of travel, conference and hospitality excellence. There is tremendous desire to visit and high satisfaction among customers that do. In 2020 Greater Victoria will host some important events, such as GoMedia 2020 (Destination Canada’s global media conference), the Travel and Tourism Research Association’s 50th Annual International Conference and the prestigious CanSPEP meetings conference. Sport tourism remains an area of focus. In June Greater Victoria is hosting the FIBA Men’s Basketball Olympic Qualifying Tournament. Team Canada will be playing for a chance to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games in our community – a community with a proud sports history, including in basketball.

Sustainability is another focus of Destination Greater Victoria in 2020. We are forming a new sustainability committee to advise our organization on how to reduce our environmental footprint. With help from the carbon offset organization Offsetters, we were recently certified as “carbon friendly” and will be “carbon neutral” by the end of the year. This is on top of the IMPACT Sustainability Travel & Tourism Conference (IMPACT), a leading sustainable tourism conference just finishing its third year. Destination Greater Victoria is a proud founding partner of IMPACT and the role it is playing in shaping the discussion of the future of travel.

The outlook for the Greater Victoria visitor economy in 2020 is strong. We have an exciting array of hotels, restaurants and attractions that never disappoint. Despite possible economic headwinds we have built resiliency into our business model. In 2020 I look forward to delivering for our members and continuing to market one of the best destinations in the world.

Financial Assistance Available for Victims of BC flooding

Disaster Financial Assistance (DFA) is now available for eligible British Columbians who may have been affected by overland flooding from heavy rains that began on Jan. 31, 2020, in the following regions:

  • Capital Regional District
  • Cowichan Valley Regional District
  • Regional District of Nanaimo
  • Greater Vancouver Regional District
  • Fraser Valley Regional District
  • Squamish Lillooet Regional District
  • Sunshine Coast Regional District
Industry on the Move

The BC Hotel Association is pleased to announce the appointment of Ingrid Jarrett as President and Chief Executive Officer. Ingrid brings to the position more than three decades of experience in business leadership, strategic hospitality & tourism development and successful collaboration with partners and stakeholders. She is the first female president/CEO in the organization’s 103-year history. TIABC welcomes Ingrid and looks forward to working with her to move BC's visitor economy forward.

Sport Fishing Institute Update
International Pacific Halibut Commission
The Sport Fishing Institute (SFI) will be heading to Anchorage, AK for the Annual IPHC meetings at the beginning of February. They will attend and participate as a part of Canada's delegation, which includes commercial, First Nations and recreational fishing representatives, to negotiate halibut catch for the 2020 season. They will report on the outcome following the meetings.

Big Bar Slide
The Fraser River is one of the most important and productive salmon producing rivers in the world. Many are familiar, during the fall of 2018 a massive landslide in a remote area upstream of Big Bar resulted in a partial blockage of the Fraser River, which stopped the upstream migration of potentially millions of Sockeye, Coho, Chum and Chinook salmon.

It is encouraging to know that DFO, the Province of BC and all stakeholders are working hard to enable natural fish passage past the slide for the 2020 migration.
Share Your Thoughts
There are several tourism-related surveys that TIABC members are encouraged to complete to offer your views on important issues.

Forest Service Roads Value to Tourism
The Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association in collaboration with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD) is seeking input from tourism stakeholders in the region. The survey aims to develop a tourism value model to better inform decisions related to planning and maintaining forest service roads that considers resident and visitor usage and impacts.

Provincial Trails Strategy
British Columbians are invited to provide their opinions and ideas about a provincial trails strategy by participating in the engagement process online: 

Coastal Ferries Vision
BC Ferries is seeking thoughts and ideas for the future of the coastal ferry system. What should the coastal ferry service look like in 20, 30 or 40 years and how should services be delivered to better support a desirable future? This insight will inform the vision that will shape the future of coastal ferry services in BC.

PST Website Experiences Survey
If you are registered for the PST in British Columbia, would you be willing to help the Ministry of Finance improve the PST website by answering a few questions? This web survey will take approximately 5 minutes or less to complete. Even if you are not familiar with the BC PST website, your feedback will make a difference! This survey will close on February 29.
The Government of BC will not collect, use, or disclose personal information using SurveyMonkey. Please be aware however that IP addresses are collected by SurveyMonkey itself, and these IP addresses and other information collected will be stored on SurveyMonkey's servers located outside of Canada. This survey is voluntary and a response is encouraged, not required. Please do not provide any third-party information (i.e. talk about others) in your responses to the survey.

Southern Resident Killer Whales
Transport Canada is now seeking to assess the economic and social impacts of   measures put in place   to protect the Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW). This Transport Canada project   introduction letter   will provide some background information.
Transport Canada is seeking feedback from marine stakeholders on how these protection measures may have affected them, their businesses and their communities .
Vancouver's North Shore Launches New Brand and Website
Vancouver's North Shore Tourism recently launched their new website featuring the new brand. Check out their new website at: vancouversnorthshore.com
Watch their new brand video: www.youtube.com
CCCTA Launches New Website and Podcast
2020 got off to a great start for the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association who recently launched their new website and podcast.

Untold Stories of the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast  podcast documents the must-have adventures and interviews from passionate individuals that help shape the region.

You can listen to the podcast on  Spotify Google Play Apple Podcasts TuneIn  and on  YouTube .

Do you know someone that the team at CCCTA should interview for their podcast? Let them know at  marketing@landwithoutlimits.com !

TIABC Welcomes New Members

Connect Media

Connect Media is a marketing firm that specializes in content distribution, social media marketing, and video marketing for the Tourism Industry.  www.teamc.media

Kermodei Tourism

Kermodei Tourism, the DMO for beautiful Terrace, joins TIABC as the 51st destination marketing organization member. www.visitterrace.com
BC Craft Brewers Guild

The BC Craft Brewers Guild represents craft breweries from all over BC. The mission of the Guild is to support the ongoing creation and discovery of truly great BC craft beer. bccraftbeer.com

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

BC TIC Silent Auction Items Welcome  

This is your opportunity to help raise funds for the important advocacy work carried out by TIABC on behalf of the BC tourism industry by donating a gift, package or other item. 
Some suggestions for popular auction items include:

  • Sports memorabilia and tickets
  • Tickets to an event that are extremely hard to get
  • Technological gadgets
  • Certificates to restaurants and retail stores
  • Weekend getaways at lake houses, hotels, bed and breakfasts
  • Travel packages
  • Memberships to health clubs, museums
  • Artisan-made items such as jewelry, clothing, leather goods, art, and photography
  • Gift Baskets - spa or gourmet food

Job Board

  Visitor Information Counsellor, Summer Student

Manager, Visitor Services

Tourism by the Numbers

November 2019 international visitor arrivals 
year-to-date, overnight international arrivals to BC were up 2.6% for January to November 2019. Arrivals from Mexico led the way in 2019, up 10% for January to November, compared to the same period in 2018.

Sport Fishing Institute - Big Spring Raffle
Tickets $20 . Only 5,000 Available. Tickets available from February 1 to June 21. Early Bird draw on April 1. Grand Prize and trip draws on June 22. 
Your support through the 2020 lottery will help secure a better future for our fishery and the resources it depends upon.
Big White Raises $22K for Australian Wildfire Relief
Big White says Australians account for 37% of all employees at the resort, with the wildfires hitting close to home for many working at the popular resort near Kelowna. Recent fundraising efforts amounted to more than $22,000 for wildfire relief efforts.
Kootenay Project Makes Biking More Inclusive, Provides Jobs
People in the Kootenay region will gain work experience and build their resumes while helping the Kootenay Adaptive Sports Association (KASA) expand adaptive mountain biking in British Columbia.
EV Charging Stations for Northern BC
In early January,  Northern Development Initiative Trust  announced its commitment of $192,000 towards the creation of an electric vehicle (EV) charging station network across central and northern BC. Branded “Charge North”, this partnership demonstrates collaboration on addressing the issue of clean energy, while supporting economic development and enhancing tourism
Bold Award Winners Celebrated in Kamloops
The 4th Annual Tourism Kamloops BOLD Hospitality Awards presented in partnership with the Kamloops Blazers were a tremendous success! 200 attendees representing Kamloops tourism industry employees, employers, colleagues, friends and family were in attendance to recognize and celebrate Kamloops’ remarkable hospitality champions.
Tourism Kamloops Supports TRU's Limitless Campaign
Tourism Kamloops has joined the Thompson Rivers University (TRU) Limitless campaign, announcing at the 4th Annual BOLD Hospitality Awards a $50,000 donation to fund hands-on learning opportunities for students. Limitless is the university’s largest-ever fundraising campaign, with a goal to raise $50 million for TRU’s 50th anniversary, in support of students, research, equipment and community-related initiatives.
BC Ferries to Replace Aging Mayne Queen
BC Ferries has commissioned the construction of another liquefied natural gas-fuelled vessel it says will replace one of its oldest vessels on a minor route. The company has awarded a contract to build a fourth natural gas, electric hybrid Salish Class ferry to shipbuilders Remontowa Shipbuilding SA, based in Gdansk, Poland.
Mobility-Focused Travel Itineraries on HelloBC.com 
Destination BC has created and added mobility-focused travel itineraries to HelloBC.com, highlighting over 250 attractions and experiences throughout the province. The itineraries are designed to increase access for people living with physical disabilities, and help people plan their visits to BC with added peace of mind. It's all part of the  Province's commitment   to ensure experiences and adventures in BC can be accessed and enjoyed by all..
The Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Student Association (TRECSA) is currently promoting this year’s premiere event RiSE.  Every year, RiSE celebrates the achievements and successes of Capilano University's tourism community and provides an exciting opportunity for its outstanding alumni and industry partners to connect and engage with graduating tourism management students.
#CapUTourism's amazing alumni, stellar students, fantastic faculty members, and illuminating industry partners are all invited for an exciting evening on Wednesday, February 27th at Streamworks Brewing Company (375 Water St. Vancouver, BC). Registration will begin at 5:30PM. 
Attendees of the BC Tourism Industry Conference can use a promo code to receive a 15% discount off of Peak/Full-Fare/Off-Peak (not sale) flights.
Valid for travel March 2-8, 2020.

Attendees of the BC Tourism Industry Conference can use a promo code to receive a 5% on Air Canada Standard Fares and 15% on Flex Fares or higher.

Upcoming Industry Events
February 12, Maple Ridge

March 4-6, Victoria

April 6-7, Kelowna

April 28-30, Whistler

October 21-22, Kelowna

November 17-18, Ottawa

Send us your event listings and we can include it on our list!
Learn More About TIABC
TIABC Policies

TIABC Board of Directors

TIABC in the News

TIABC Member Directory