Voice of the BC Tourism Industry

BC Tourism Industry Conference - it's not too late to register!

February 7, 2019
Chair's Message
Diplomatic and political issues in two of BC's key markets - China, U.K. - have created some uncertainly about the year ahead for many tourism operators in the province.

While the federal government declared 2018 as The year of Canada-Chinese Tourism, it could hardly have ended more ironically. The ongoing diplomatic rift between our two countries—which all began with the December 1 st arrest of high-profile Chinese executive Meng Wanzhou—has prompted both countries to issue respective highly-cautionary travel advisories.

Rising tensions have many operators worried about trip cancellations and lost revenue, given that Chinese citizens represent our province’s second-largest international visitor market after the U.S.A.

And then there is the United Kingdom whose citizens take the number three spot on BC's international visitors' list.

With a looming deadline for departure from the EU of March 29 th, even Europe’s top politicians are uncertain about how Brexit will play out. Many are anticipating economic turmoil, especially if there is a hard Brexit...a departure from the EU without a trade deal. Given the economic, political, and trade uncertainty in the U.K., experts are projecting that discretionary incomes will likely fall. This, of course, worries those of us in the tourism industry who rely on British visitors. 

As we consider the consequences and contemplate the year ahead, I am convinced that the annual BC Tourism Industry Conference (TIC) couldn't be coming at a better time. We look forward to meaningful discussions, educational workshops, and exceptional plenary sessions to help us navigate various issues and opportunities this year and beyond.

Alroy Chan
Chair, TIABC 
Conference Session Spotlight

If you’re uncertain about your business prospects and the economy right now, you’re not alone. Despite leading growth in Canada and near historic unemployment, there are signs that BC’s economy is softening. Throw in a federal election (and Alberta election), strained relations with China and other factors, it’s easy to wonder about what comes next.

Join BC’s business experts for a discussion on what lies ahead for the province, and how these and other issues will impact BC’s visitor economy. This session will include research results from the BC Chamber’s Collective Perspective annual economic pulse-check, the BC Business Council’s economic outlook, and of course deep insight from the Mustel Group.
  • Evi Mustel, Mustel Group
  • Val Litwin, BC Chamber
  • Jock Finlayson, BC Business Council

Thursday February 28 9:45am to 11:00am

Top BC Post-Secondary Teams Battle for 2018/19 Winning Pitch Title at the BC Tourism Industry Conference
Four student teams will be competing at the provincial Winning Pitch competition during the BC Tourism Industry Conference (TIC) in Vancouver on Feb. 27th and only one team will emerge the champion.

The Winning Pitch , organized and presented by go2HR, BC’s tourism human resource association, is a post-secondary student case competition. This year, student teams developed a new product or service that supports the development of accessible tourism opportunities in their respective regions.

The regional winners who will be competing in the provincial competition include:
·        BCIT – “Reel YVR”
·       College of the Rockies – "Kimberley Alpine Outdoor Adventures”
·       Okanagan College – “AccessFest”
·       Vancouver Island University – “Reach Vancouver Island”

As part of the live audience, TIC delegates will vote for their favourite business pitch, which will contribute to the overall score and help pick the ultimate winner.

go2HR would like to thank the competition’s provincial sponsors, Partners in Tourism Society and Destination British Columbia, for their support .
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TIABC Welcomes New Member
AdventureSmart and its suite of five programs, is a national prevention program focused on reaching Canadians, and visitors to Canada who participate in outdoor recreational activities.
Advocacy Days 2019 - Unlocking Tourism’s Potential

This week, the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) led a team of businesses and stakeholders calling on the federal government to support the $97.4 billion travel economy. Stakeholders from across the country engaged parliamentarians in a series of meetings highlighting public policy challenges that inhibit growth in the sector.

While Canada has experienced growth in recent years, our market share globally is not keeping pace with other countries. The UNWTO ranks Canada 17th in overall visitation globally when we had been as high as 8th in 2000. Canada’s market share of international tourism will continue to weaken without addressing key labour, access, cost competitiveness, and marketing funding issues as identified by TIAC.

As Canada’s largest service export representing $21.3 Billion in export revenue, $41.2b in GDP, $32b in the meetings and conventions sector alone, and employing 1.8 million Canadians, tourism’s current momentum is not sustainable without addressing public policy challenges that are preventing the sector from capitalizing on opportunities.

The recent much-needed and long overdue increase in international visitation, favourable currency exchange and federal support for international marketing through Destination Canada are all positive signs. Yet growing international arrivals buoyed by favourable exchange rates should be seen as a platform for continued improvement - not a signal that the industry is performing at ideal levels.

TIAC members believe that public policy challenges in four key areas are inhibiting growth in the sector: Labour, Access, Cost Competitiveness and Marketing Funding.

The TIAC led tourism team meeting with parliamentarians this week included TIABC board member and Destination Greater Victoria CEO, Paul Nursey.

Is BC Losing Its Edge?

The February issue of BCBusiness magazine has a story, entitled Is BC Losing Its Edge? , about BC's economy and how many businesses are facing challenges.

The  BC Chamber of Commerce  caught the same unease with its latest Collective Perspective member survey. In the annual poll by Ottawa-based Abacus Data, 79 percent of almost 900 people surveyed last fall said business costs had climbed in the past year.

Although nearly all respondents agreed that their business was in decent shape, compared to 2017 about 10 percent fewer rated prospects for the next three to five years as very good or good. The proportion who expected their business to grow in the next five years fell roughly the same amount, to 73 percent.
Just 15 percent said that their confidence in the B.C. economy had improved over the previous year, versus 49 percent and 36 percent, respectively, for those who saw it decline and stay the same.

Asked what impacts their business, respondents put labour costs, access to labour, provincial regulations, housing costs and provincial taxes at the top of the list. On the question of whether the provincial government generally supports business, only 46 percent said yes—a big drop from 78 percent in 2016.
One-of-a-Kind Course on Inclusive Customer Service

go2HR has launched Service For All, the final course of the new suite of SuperHost Customer Service Training program.

Service For All is a unique course around customer service in today’s diverse environment, teaching the concepts of accommodating those with different needs and interacting with customers of all identities. 

Students will learn about best practices around customers from various backgrounds and identities, including but not limited to: 
• Different generations (e.g. boomers, Gen X, millennials, etc.) 
• Persons with disabilities 
• LGBTQ/2S people 
• Indigenous peoples 
• People for whom English is a second language 
• Customers from varying ethnic, social, and economic backgrounds 

Currently, no other course covers as comprehensive and updated range of topics as Service For All does. Offered online only, the course contains engaging activities and realistic examples to help students gain practical knowledge and tips to help them understand and deliver exceptional service to guests and clients of all backgrounds. 

TOTA Achieves Biosphere Certified Destination Gold Status

The Thompson Okanagan was awarded Biosphere Certified Destination GOLD status by the Responsible Tourism Institute this week. This distinction recognizes not only tourism sustainability developed from the Biosphere certification but the work made to extend this commitment to the tourism companies and services of the destination. The Thompson Okanagan becomes the third destination in the world to receive it.

BC Wine Institute (BCWI) Update

As outlined in the recent BCWI e-newsletter, fall 2018 saw developments in several key BCWI priority advocacy initiatives including the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and Interprovincial Direct-to-Customer Shipping

At the recent First Ministers meeting in December 2018, Prime Minister Trudeau and the premiers committed to considering amendments to the  Importation of Intoxicating Liquors Act  to remove the federal requirement that alcohol moving from one province to another be sold or consigned to a provincial liquor authority.

Learn more about all of BCWI's advocacy efforts at:
Inspire Her Event Aims to Motivate Tourism Students

On March 4th, WORTH Association will bring together tourism, hospitality and recreation students for an evening of inspiring panelist discussions.

Inspire Her aims to educate and motivate over 100 students entering this dynamic industry. Some of BC’s top female leaders will share inspiring ideas with the intention of sparking dialogue about issues that impact women when entering the workforce. Their perspectives will inform, inspire and empower young women as we collectively identify ways to move the dial for equality. Panelists will include senior leaders from hospitality and event management, outdoor recreation, sales and marketing, and successful business owners.

WORTH association provides members with opportunities for networking, mentorship, education and development. 
Northern Development Initiative Trust Releases State of the North Economic Report

The 2018 State of the North report is intended to provide community and business leaders with comprehensive sector-specific and regional data that will help shed light on opportunities and inform investment decisions.

Tourism in Northern BC is a large economic driver, and the report notes that it is generally related to outdoor recreation and to visiting friends and family. The wildfires during the summers of 2017 and 2018 are expected to have both short-term and potentially longer-term impacts on tourism in Northern BC. In the short-term, tourism businesses in areas directly affected by the wildfires lost most of their summer season which created financial hardship.

Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot Project Seeks Community Partners

A new federal immigration pilot is pairing remote northern cities with newcomers who need jobs

The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot was developed to help spread the benefits of economic immigration to smaller communities throughout Canada. The Government of Canada will work with local communities to:
  • use immigration to help meet local labour market needs and support regional economic development
  • test a new pathway to permanent residency in rural Canada for skilled foreign nationals at various skill levels
  • create welcoming environments that encourage and help new immigrants to stay in their new communities

If your community is interested, your community must work with a local economic development organization to complete your application. The economic development organization must be the one to submit the application.

The application must have the support of:
  • your municipal leader(s) and
  • a local or regional immigrant-serving organization

TIABC Members Receive Discounted Pricing to Upcoming Art of Leadership for Women

This unique one-day conference features a remarkable collection of world leaders, business icons and bestselling authors including Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, International Bestselling Author and Founder of Malala Fund.

TIABC Members save $50 per pass or save an additional $50 for group of 5 or more  when using promo code  TIABC33

Numbers You Need to Know
UNWTO Survey on Tourism Impact

The UNWTO and IPSOS have conducted a global online survey across 15 countries and targeted 12,000 people to better understand residents’ perception towards city tourism, its impacts and management strategies. 

Key findings:
• 47% of respondents think “they live in a city with a high number of tourists visiting”
• The mixed-picture of the perceived impacts rising from urban tourism in the different countries demonstrates the complexity of economic, social and environmental issues faced by destinations today.
• On the positive side, 52% think tourism has a big or moderate impact in generating wealth and income. On the other spectrum, 46% think it “creates overcrowding”. 
• 49% of respondents think “there should be measures to manage tourism”
• Respondents are most receptive to the following measures: ‘improve infrastructure and facilities’ (72%), ‘create experiences and attractions that benefit both residents and visitors’ (71%), and ‘ensure local communities benefit from tourism’ (65%).
• Results also show that half of responses emphasized communicating and engaging with local communities (50%) and visitors (48%) as an important measure, whereas only 12% think there should be a ‘limit to the number of tourists’ and only 9% think tourism promotion should be stopped. 
The Revival of the Cultural Economy
The Creative sector of British Columbia continues to be a key driver of the economy providing over 6 billion in 2018 with no projected slowing for 2019 according to Minister Lisa Beare. Providing over 100,000 British Columbians with employment income, the sector is a major player in our provincial GDP. The government of BC has continued to report significant growth in the Creative Economy since 2010.
Predictions for 2019 released by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture show no sign of slowing for the industry. Increased government spending in support of the creative economy is built into the budget for the coming year, including the augmentation of the BC Arts Council support with a plan to double funding over a four year period. The government plan includes the vision to see these dollars funneled directly to artists and cultural producers, improving the accessibility and equity for arts funding.
There is no doubt that the Creative Economy in BC is a viable, strong and continually growing one that supports the livelihood and legacy of artists and cultural producers.
The most recent Canadian data collected, studied and summarized by an exhaustive study by Hill Strategies is for the year of 2016.

Source: BC's Guide to Arts & Culture: www.art-bc.com
2019 Proclaimed Year of Tourism in Kamloops
On January 29th, in front of Kamloops City Council and amongst Kamloops tourism industry partners, Tourism Kamloops and the City of Kamloops proclaimed that 2019 shall be know as “The Year of Together in Tourism”.
Northern BC Tourism
Northern BC Tourism's content team has been hard at work over the fall and winter capturing inspiring video and photography to align with Destination BC's Super, Natural BC brand.
Building on their partnership with Indigenous Tourism BC and BC Parks , they set off to Haida Gwaii to connect with local surfer and carver Gwaliga Hart and capture off-season surf opportunities in Naikoon Provincial Park. 
Sea to Sky Gondola Proposes Elevated Tree Walk
The iconic structure would be the first of its kind in North America and will be designed to integrate into nature from all angles and viewpoints beautifully. The tree walk will gently wind around a structure that draws visitors from the base, through the treetops, and up high into the clouds. The unique, spiral architecture will not only offer panoramic open-air views, but will also provide cover over the walkway for a year-round, weather-independent, sightseeing experience that will enthrall adventurers of every ability.
Low-cost Airline Swoop to Begin Service From Kelowna
Swoop began its initial service last summer with flights out of Abbotsford and will now expand to Kelowna. Starting on May 24th, Swoop will provide non-stop service from YLW to Winnipeg Richardson International Airport (YWG) three times per week.
Mandy Farmer Featured in BC Business Magazine
"Although it did take 10 years to open Hotel Zed—the board couldn’t see the vision of how a motel could be cool, but I definitely did. Maybe I wasn’t explaining it well, but they finally saw the light and are huge fans of it now. Our profits have doubled in the past five years, so it’s all good!”
Destination BC Launches New Corporate Website
The new mobile-first website contains industry news, program information, the latest research, and a brand-new Learning Centre featuring 24/7 access to free resources and tools for BC's tourism industry. 
International Curling Event Draws New Spending to Kelowna
A new economic impact survey reported that the World Mixed Curling Championships held last October brought $1.21 million in new spending to BC. Kelowna welcomed 350 out of town visitors taking part in the event, 25% of whom were international guests. Collective visitor spending was $630,000 with the majority attributed to accommodations (82%), followed by restaurant dining (13%).
Industry on the Move
Tourism Kamloops Welcomes New Digital Marketing Specialist
Jordan Fraser's role includes planning and execution of paid digital media campaigns and other digital marketing projects. A native of Kamloops, Jordan is a Bachelor of Business Administration graduate of Thompson Rivers University.
Upcoming Industry Events
February 27 - March 1
JW Marriott Parq Hotel, Vancouver

March 28-30, Kelowna

April 8-9, Kelowna

April 24-26, Whistler

October 23-24, Nanaimo

November 12-14, Kelowna

January 19-22, 2020, Victoria

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