July 20, 2017
The Voice of the BC Tourism Industry

Chair's Message
 
When tourism is on a roll (like it has been in recent years), we often take for granted that business prosperity and exceeding KPIs are the consequence of multiple factors including being spared from Mother Nature's occasional wrath.
 
Yet, as we know, B.C.'s visitor economy can also be fragile especially when natural disasters like the floods and now wildfires ravage parts of the province. In some respects it's a bit of a wakeup call to appreciate the good times while at the same time preparing for inevitable adversity that befalls our industry from time-to-time.
 
In that context, it saddens me to see how the wildfires have affected tourism operators in the South Cariboo and parts of the North, Thompson Okanagan and Kootenays. These are businesses that count on the busy summer months for the bulk of their annual revenues. Some are already considering the year a write-off and it's only July.
 
At the same time, I am encouraged by how tourism operators have stepped up to help displaced evacuees and visitors with meals, transportation, accommodation and other necessities. Sometimes I think that our industry shines best in the midst of hardships like this. I'm hearing story after story that proves my theory correct.
 
It goes without saying that we have a big hill to climb now and long after the wildfire situation in B.C. is under control.  Countering the negative publicity and news stories that proclaim 'all of B.C. is burning' is a monumental task.  Providing accurate and timely facts on what is actually happening is challenging too, especially when the situation seemingly changes by the hour. Yet, it's a task several key stakeholders in our industry are endeavouring to do.
 
While acknowledging places that are off-limits, as well as areas affected by air quality, TIABC, Destination B.C., Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association, Northern B.C. Tourism Association, Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association, government, B.C. Parks, and others are meeting regularly to gather facts, share information and convey messaging to in-province and prospective visitors on where to go, where not to go and other options. Most of B.C. is still open for business, and as such, we need to work collectively to mitigate further impacts on the province's visitor economy while at the same time recognizing the gravity of the wildfires in certain regions so as to avoid misleading visitors.
 
It's a delicate balance to be sure and one where we'll stumble on occasion.  But at the very least, collectively we'll do everything we can to ensure that our industry remains strong and stable in spite of this crisis. You can be assured that TIABC will lobby our new government to take action and assist where needed, especially on behalf of those who have essentially lost their livelihood.
 
So while our thoughts, prayers and actions focus on those that no longer have homes and/or businesses, we also need to provide support and gratitude to the first-responders from B.C., other parts of Canada and from around the world who are working round-the-clock to battle the wildfires.  We offer our sincere gratitude and pray for continued safety in the days and weeks ahead.
 
One final note...congratulations to Hon. Lisa Beare who has been appointed the new Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture.  We look forward to working with her to ensure that British Columbia's visitor economy is recognized as one of the province's leading and sustainable industries, and is given the attention it deserves, especially during these challenging days. 

Jim Humphrey
Chair, TIABC

 BC Wildfires Key Messaging and Industry Updates

TIABC has created a special page on our website to share information and key messaging on the BC wildfires situation: 

Stay safe, stay informed

During times of stress and uncertainty, it is important to share information from official sources only. There are a variety of resources available to help you prepare for emergencies, gather up-to-date information and help visitors plan their travel.

Please feel free to share wildfire impacts on your business or region with TIABC at info@tiabc.ca

There are so many stories of the tourism industry and community members helping each other out where they can. Let's keep sharing these incredible stories and encouraging those who need our help.

Local Tourism Operators Support Wildfire Crews, Evacuees
Tourism operations across the South Cariboo have stepped up their game for both firefighters and evacuees.  The Spruce Hills Resort & Spa, despite being evacuated on July 9, have opened their doors to accommodate firefighters, helicopter crews and emergency officials.

A sign outside the Iron Horse Pub reads, "Evacuees welcome." The pub is located in Lone Butte, B.C - a small town located 25 kilometres southeast of 100 Mile House.  Pub co-owner Tracy Armstrong lets evacuees stay in the field. And her generosity doesn't end there.  The pub serves evacuees breakfast every morning and offers laundry facilities, showers and anything else they might need.

#BCTourismMatters

 Download TIABC's Wildfire PSA

Summer, hot weather and wildfires are upon us. Please take the opportunity to remind visitors and residents of their responsibility for preventing wildfires fires by downloading our wildfire public service announcement. 
#BCTourismMatters


 It's TIABC Membership Renewal Time!



Many of TIABC's members are on a July renewal schedule. Please watch your emails for a renewal notice. We look forward to your continuing support while encouraging new members to join us in our advocacy efforts. 

Save the Date: TIABC AGM & Summit - October 12

TIABC's AGM and one-day Summit takes place October 12th in Richmond in conjunction with an annual general meeting by Aboriginal Tourism B.C. The day also includes a  Town Hall with participation by TIAC, Destination Canada and Aboriginal Tourism Canada. 

Stay tuned for more details.

TIABC Welcomes British Columbia's New
Minister of Tourism, Arts & Culture

Congratulations to Hon. Lisa Beare, MLA for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows on her cabinet appointment as Minister of Tourism, Arts & Culture. 

A native of Maple Ridge, Lisa is an active community member and served as a Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School Board Trustee. She  is one of three new MLAs who is going straight into a cabinet role. 

TIABC looks forward to connecting with Lisa and her team in the near future to update her and the new government on priority issues for our industry.


Connect with Lisa Beare on social media:
www.facebook.com/lisabeare

Grouse Mountain Resort Under New Ownership


A message from Grouse Mountain:

GM Resorts Limited Partnership was established by CM (Canada) Asset Management Co., Ltd. (CM Canada) to purchase Grouse Mountain Resort. CM Canada is based in Vancouver, with more than 60% ownership by Canadian investors. CMIG International is CM Canada's international investor.
 
CM Canada recognizes the strong management team already in place and the successful business operation we've spent years carefully building. We will continue to deliver high quality, best-of-BC experiences and our new owners are looking forward to working with us, as well as all our partners in local business, government, industry, tourism - and of course, the community.
 
Throughout the sales process, Grouse Mountain continued on a business-as-usual basis. During this period, the Resort has seen some very strong business results including our best holiday season with momentum that carried through the entire winter season. Now well into our summer operations, we are seeing continued strong business results as we remain focused on our core strategies.
 
I have attached the news release that is being sent to media today for your reference. Should you have questions about the change of ownership, please do not hesitate to contact me.
 
On behalf of CM Canada and the entire management and staff at Grouse Mountain, we look forward to continuing to work with you.
 
Michael Cameron
President
Grouse Mountain Resorts Ltd.
Office: 604.984.0661

Minister Chagger Appoints New Chief of Staff

Government House Leader and Small Business and Tourism Minister Bardish Chagger has welcomed Olivier Duchesneau as her new Chief of Staff while Rachel Bendayan is on parental leave. Olivier brings a wealth of experience to the role. He is a specialist in communications and he previously served as Deputy Director of Communications for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
 
Olivier has spent more than 10 years in politics. During this time, he had worked closely with a number of MPs, members of the Quebec National Assembly, as well as provincial and federal ministers. Olivier studied political science and public administration at the University of Ottawa. 


Numbers You Need To Know

Approximately 45,000 people have been displaced by the fires across the province. So far this year, 327,000 hectares have been burned by wildfires across B.C., according to the wildfire service. There are 155 active fires in the province, including 15 significant blazes threatening communities. 

The Princeton fire is now 30% contained, the Lake Country/Okanagan Centre fire is 80% contained, Elephant Hill (formerly known as Ashcroft Reserve) is 30% contained, and the Little Fort Complex fires are 30%, 80%, and 100% contained. The absence of wind over the past couple of days has allowed firefighters to make progress on the fire lines, with no significant evacuation orders or alerts since Saturday. 

"We've had a relatively calm few days," says Kevin Skrepnek, information officer of the B.C. Wildfire Service. "That downturn in activity has been everything to do with the wind. Wind has been our most significant challenge."  

Roughly 3,000 firefighters have been deployed.

Sources:
TOTA email update

#BCTourismMatters

B.C. Market Acquiring a Taste for Aboriginal Cuisine
Caterers are helping give traditional native dishes a bigger seat at the mainstream table. Among the region's handful of aboriginal caterers - who are part of the small but growing aboriginal hospitality industry that includes the boutique hotel Skwach√†ys Lodge and the restaurant Salmon n' Bannock - is Cedar Feast House Catering, founded by chef Theresa Contois and Friendship Catering Services. 



BC Shellfish & Seafood Festival Drives Results


While data is still rolling in, preliminary results demonstrate significant growth for the festival, which is now the largest seafood festival in Western Canada.



50+ domestic and international chefs participated
50+ events, tours, competitions and workshops held - over 3,500 tickets sold
40+ accredited domestic and international media attended -  view media coverage here

Largest seafood festival marketing campaign in Western Canada preliminary highlights include:
  • Digital ad campaign captured 7,614,619 impressions, 56,014 clicks and 129,181 video views
  • Social media campaign captured 6,679,426 impressions and 35,134 clicks
  • bcshellfishfestival.com received 141,710 page views and bcseafoodexpo.com received 23,549 page views
  • Two BC Seafood Month Festival features were inserted in the Province (350k distribution) and the Blackpress papers (100k distribution) in early June
  • GlobalBC TV Brand and Contesting Campaign; 10,629 contest entries received 
  • Alberta Air Canada (Extremely Shellfish Festival Getaway Contest): 11,024 contest entries received
  • An incredible roster of sponsors and partners have been confirmed for both the festival and the expo; instrumental in the growth of the event(s) this year

Is Your DMO Facebook Page Verified Yet?


Scott Bauer wrote a blog post on how a DMO can improve their Facebook page. It's a simple how-to on verifying their page and why its important. TIABC's Facebook page is now verified (thanks Scott!).

Why is it important to verify your Facebook page?
  1. Page authority. Facebook has a newsfeed algorithm and a search algorithm. In order to improve your page visibility, ensure all the information is complete and up to date, has recent reviews, and verified. Facebook is likely to favour search rank and visibility on verified pages vs. those that aren't.
  2. Trust. Like making a purchase or any other online engagement, people want to feel safe and trust that the Facebook page is who they claim to be. This is very important for international travellers wanting to engage your DMO on Facebook. If a Facebook page is verified, that traveller has confidence that they are liking, following, reviewing, messaging, sharing content with the correct tourism organization page.
For more information, on how to verify your Facebook pages, visit Scott's blog at:  

CRA Small Business Tax Deduction  Eligibility 
for Campgrounds

The Canadian Camping and RVing Council met with the policy advisor to the Minister of Revenue and learned CRA did undertake a compliance test on 3,000 small businesses during a 2-year period that ended February 2017. It is not known how many campgrounds were included in this test sample.

There is agreement by the Ministry of Revenue for the need to brighten the line so that campgrounds/CRA and stakeholders know the tax rules within which they operate. To this end, CRA is working on an updated folio (policy) which is planned to be made public after the camping season in 2017. The council asked what a folio change does and were informed it is used by CRA, accountants and lax Lawyers as law. 

The policy advisor also mentioned that there may be a bulletin update to the one published last August - click here for the current bulletin published August 23, 2016. 

Vancouver Community College
Bachelor of Hospitality Management 
Executive Cohort Program

Tourism Vancouver Island Seeks CEO
Tourism Vancouver Island (TVI) has the enviable task of inviting the world to experience all that Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, and a portion of the mainland coast have to offer. Providing leadership and passion in the pursuit of TVI's vision, the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) works with a dedicated, high performing group of professionals in partnership across the region and beyond to create economic benefits that flow from tourism to the Vancouver Island Region.  

To learn more, visit:
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