June 29, 2016  
Voice of the BC Tourism Industry 

CEO's Message
Those that know me well know that I love sport analogies. To me, sport represents the ultimate metaphor for many of life's experiences, including business (more in a moment).
As I connect with professional colleagues around the province, I'm encouraged by the news that many communities are again seeing increases in tourists, occupancy levels, spending and other key measures that show British Columbia's visitor economy continues to out-perform other business sectors.
Similarly, if media stories are but one barometer of industry success, I've read dozens of reports from throughout BC and Canada of how tourism is sustaining regional economies, creating jobs, generating investment and building British Columbia's international reputation, among other things.
These two examples show that TIABC's vision for 'tourism to be recognized as one of BC's leading and sustainable business sectors' is yet one more step closer to reality.
That said our industry is not in the habit of looking in the rear-view mirror for what we did last year or even yesterday. On the contrary, we regularly cast our eyes forward to see how we can build on recent momentum to achieve even higher targets and exceed the expectations we set for ourselves annually.
Here's where my sport analogy fits.  They say (author unknown) that becoming a champion is not the hardest thing to do, it's repeating as a champion that's far more difficult. Such is the case for the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. With the season barely over, the Penguins are already working diligently to find a way to do it again.
You see, earlier this year the team was headed for playoff oblivion before taking a risk and changing coaches mid-season, trading for new players and ultimately altering their playing style (i.e. system) to eventually claim Lord Stanley's coveted hardware.  Goal attained...so now what?
In the age of salary caps, free agency (i.e. players moving to a different team for better money), retirements, other teams getting stronger and myriad other factors, it is increasingly more difficult for teams like Pittsburgh to repeat as champions let alone make the playoffs.
For BC's visitor economy, we're faced with a similar challenge. In other words, how do we sustain such significant growth year-over-year in view of labour shortages, diminished purchasing power (due to low Cdn. dollar), competition within sectors (e.g. Airbnb) or from other destinations, world events such as Brexit that send markets into a tailspin...the list goes on and on?
Fortunately, British Columbia's tourism industry is blessed with products and experiences that are unmatched. We've earned a reputation for spectacular scenery, outstanding customer service, affordability, safety, accessibility, and countless other attributes to complement our highly trained, professional and skilled tourism workforce.
Yet in spite of these bragging rights, we cannot expect to set new records year over year unless we resolve the issues that impede tourism growth...issues such as finding workers for thousands of vacant positions; building transportation infrastructure and providing more access for visitors to move around the province; securing funding for marketing to remain competitive in the international marketplace; ensuring environmental sustainability so we don't ruin our Super, Natural footprint; and dealing with the unintended consequences of the so-called sharing economy, among other things.
Can we do it? The short answer is yes. But it will take the entire tourism eco-system to cooperate, strategize, focus, work hard, and come together as a team to make it happen. That's where TIABC comes in...to bring industry together and to represent the interests of British Columbia's tourism operators and their employees to tackle the aforementioned issues and keep the winning streak going.
Please keep this in mind as you consider renewing your TIABC membership and remaining part of a winning tourism team. Okay, I'm done with the sport references.
Have a wonderful summer and championship calibre year.

Walt Judas

TIABC Welcomes Its Newest Member

With Green Tourism, Canadian tourism destinations have the opportunity to join a trusted and credible sustainability rating system. By becoming a member, tourism operators can grow their business and attract new visitors while ensuring Canada's beautiful environment stays healthy for generations to come.

Renewals for most members will be upcoming in July. Please watch your emails for a reminder notice. 

Federal Government Freezes Temporary Foreign Workers Program Limits for Some Businesses

TIABC welcomes a recent announcement by the Minister for Employment and Social Development, Maryann Mihychuk, that the workforce limit of 20% TFWs will remain in effect for businesses who were at the 20% cap before June 20th, 2014. Businesses whose workforces are between 11% & 19% will be able to continue to hire at their current level until further notice. This means that the drop to 10% on July 1, 2016 will only impact businesses who hired TFWs after June 20th, 2014, and any new hires from the program moving forward. The move is a compromise until further study and changes can be made by the government. It is unclear how long the freeze will be in place.

For more information, please see the Minister's statement here.

Canadian Tourism Awards Deadline July 5, 2016

The Canadian Tourism Awards are presented annually by TIAC to recognize success, leadership and innovation in Canada's tourism industry, and to reward those people, places, organizations and events that have gone above and beyond to offer travellers superior tourism experiences in Canada.

The Canadian Tourism Awards have become the standard of excellence for businesses and organizations in the travel industry, showcasing the nation's best tourism products, services and experiences.

Nominate the best of BC today!

Visit the TIAC website for more details:  http://tiac.travel/cgi/page.cgi/nominate.htm

Mountain Biking BC Launches New Website 
and Economic Impact Study

The mountain bike rails in the province continue to expand and improve, and Mountain Bike BC felt it was time to do the same with the website.  The new site offers many new features with more planned for the near future.
  • Regional exploration - The province is divided into 6 regions, each with its own unique flavour in terms of landscapes, culture and amazing riding adventures found in over 30 communities and resorts.
  • More inspiring content - Inspiring content is key to convincing riders that BC should be on the top of their bucket list and we have plenty of new stories waiting to tell. Watch for more to come over the season ahead. 
  • Trip planning - Experiencing BC vicariously through stories and videos is great, but we want to make it easier for you to actually experience it for yourself by providing sample itineraries based on the stories we share.
  • Trailforks - No other trail database for BC matches the level of detail and accuracy provided by Trailforks.com and the Trailforks app.  This has become an essential tool for understanding all the riding options that are available.
  • Mobile friendly - The number of visitors accessing the website with mobile devices is increasing rapidly.  The new platform provides easy navigation from any size of screen. 
Check out the new website at: www.mountainbikingbc.ca

The Mountain Bike Tourism Association, in conjunction with municipal partners and Destination BC, will be conducting a mountain biking economic impact study this summer on the North Shore, Squamish and Pemberton (Whistler collected their data in 2015). This study was last conducted in 2006 and showed mountain biking in the Sea to Sky corridor was worth $26.5 million. A lot has changed over the past 10 years and this is the chance to prove it.

Data will be used demonstrate the value of mountain biking to each community and will help trail groups get support for trail construction and maintenance. Results should be available in late 2016.  

Tourism Leader Achieves Prestigious  Honour

TIABC congratulates Mandy Farmer, CEO of Accent Inns/Hotel Zed, on being selected as one of Canada's Top 100 Female Entrepreneurs.

The PROFIT/ChatelaineW100 ranks female entrepreneurs by a composite score that considers the size, growth rate and profitability of the companies they own and manage.


Victoria's Tourism Momentum Continues

Victoria's tourism industry shows no signs of slowing down after another strong month in May.
Data compiled by Chemistry Consulting showed improvement last month compared to the year previous, and most of its indicator categories are up year to date.

"May saw strong year over year growth in airport, ferry and cruise ship passenger traffic. Additionally, conference delegate days were up by 48 percent, which likely contributed to the increase in May's year-over-year occupancy rate," said Chemistry principal Frank Bourree, noting the occupancy rate is at its highest point since 2007.

Victoria International Airport showed an 8.03 percent increase in May passenger numbers versus a year ago, and through the first five months of the year, a 4.7 percent increase in passengers.

For B.C. Ferries, vehicle traffic was up 4.8 percent while passenger traffic was up 3.2 percent in May compared with May 2015. Year to date, B.C. Ferries has seen a 5.3 percent increase in vehicle traffic and a 4.4 percent increase in passengers.

Black Ball Ferry's Coho car ferry also saw a bump up in May with an 11 percent increase in traffic between its ports in Victoria and Port Angeles, Washington, versus a year ago. 

Tourism Industry Growing in Kamloops

According to a recent update by Tourism Kamloops:
  • Kamloops has seen a +26% increase in hotel revenues within the past 5 years 
  • 2015 gross hotel revenues increased by 6% since 2014 
  • 41% of 2015 visitors are visiting Kamloops for leisure purposes, 21% for corporate, 5% for sport tourism
  • Kamloops Airport saw a +3.4% increase in air travel volume
  • +198% increase in winery visitation
  • 102,567 people visited the BC Wildlife Park
  • Visitation from the primary markets of BC, Alberta, other Canada and Washington were all up significantly from 2014.
  • #ExploreKamloops hashtag for social media demonstrates 7.1 million potential impressions

Kelowna Airport Set for Banner Year

Kelowna International Airport hit its all-time record for passengers in 2014, and this year is on a course to set a new record.  Four out of the first five months of 2016 were recording-breaking passenger count months, with May 2016 welcoming 126,674 passengers, 5,269 more passengers than May 2014.

In 2014, the airport first hosted 1.6 million passengers.  As of May 31, 2016, YLW has seen 696,007 passengers, putting it on track to beat the 2014 number. 

A good ski season, a larger  Air Canada  jet on the Kelowna-Toronto route,  WestJet  service and the Canadian dollar are all playing a role. 


Tourism Enjoys Significant Growth in First Quarter of 2016

2016 is off to a remarkable start with BC breaking records in several markets. From January - April, BC recorded the highest number of international overnight visitor arrivals for the same reporting period since 2000. In addition, overnight visitor arrivals from China, Australia, France, Mexico, and India, between January and April, were the highest since 2000. BC continues to have significant increases in US overnight entries, up 22.1% compared to April 2015; similarly, year to date US overnight entries is up 20.7%. Total international overnight visitation to BC is up 21% for April compared to April 2015 and up 18.2% year to date. 

See all international arrivals information on the Destination BC website:

Canadian Tourism By The Numbers

Rounding out the first quarter of 2016, tourism is shaping up to have a stellar performance in our international markets this year. Heading into the busy summer season, visitor numbers are up 14.7% YTD. 

All statistics are in comparison to April 2015.

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