March 15, 2018
Photo credit: Destination BC/Blake Jorgenson

CEO's Message
Now that another BC Tourism Industry Conference has come and gone, I've quickly moved on to other pressing priorities including getting rid of the nasty head cold I picked up.
However, reflecting back on last week, the best parts of the annual conference for me are seeing familiar faces, meeting new people, engaging in meaningful conversations, learning from the experts and celebrating our collective achievements. Conversely, I regret not being able to connect directly with each delegate or attend every workshop. Nonetheless, I was encouraged to see our industry come together in Kelowna as a united and powerful sector that continues to build clout within the provincial economic and political landscape.
A couple of questions I always ask myself at the end of any conference (including BCTIC), are..."W hat did I learn and did I receive fair value for my time and investment"? I sincerely hope the answer to the second question is overwhelmingly yes for all delegates. Obviously the answer to the first question will be different for each attendee but here is a small sample of some key takeaways that I referenced in my closing remarks last Friday.
  • As employer, you need to develop your own brand to attract & retain employees;
  • The path to purchase is not linear and it's your job to make order of chaos;
  • While Millennials generate all the 2030, 10% of international travelers will be over the age of 65 (double the number today) and they have disposable income;
  • It is important to recognize the past...even for its injustices...and use it for good. "Go back inside the building and go and get it";
  • There are differences between being a leader and a leader during a crisis. We were reminded that little things can make the biggest difference in a crisis scenario;
  • In keeping with our theme Together Towards Tomorrow, we learned that the pace of change so far is nothing compared to what we'll experience in the years ahead and what we need to do to prepare and adapt;
  • We witnessed the capabilities and direction of Destination British Columbia that affirms we're in good hands with one of the best DMOs in the world;
  • We witnessed the youthful enthusiasm and creative minds of the future of our industry (e.g. Winning Pitch competitors);
  • Virtually any community can embrace the meetings business but you need to think differently and recognize that it's an enormous economic opportunity; and
  • B.C.'s airports are very progressive and are leading the charge in changing the travel experience.
Clearly these brief points require further context and explanation, something that delegates received at the workshops and plenary sessions. Over the next couple of weeks, we will endeavour to add as many workshop presentations as possible to the conference website and app for your interest and perusal.
Let me conclude by offering my sincere appreciation to all delegates, sponsors (conference & awards), workshop presenters, plenary speakers, staff, the organizing team (including volunteers), our hosts (Tourism Kelowna/Delta Grand) and to Hon. Lisa Beare for contributing to the success of this year's event.  Stay tuned for more details on next year's conference in Vancouver.
As always, please feel free to send me or any of our board members a note with your comments or suggestions.  At the very least, please share your best cold remedies. I look forward to hearing from you.

Walt Judas, CEO

BC TIC Recap - Day 1

The Key #'s

36 sponsors of BC TIC 2018
46 speakers sharing their expertise
420 delegates helping prove that #BC Tourism Matters
21 workshops offering tourism education to delegates
57 companies supporting the silent auction
1 good time had by all

TIABC's Town Hall covered more than 10 key topics.

Attendees provided insight, feedback and ideas for TIABC and industry action.

The opening reception hosted by  Indigenous Tourism BC featured a greeting by young members of the Westbank First Nation

BC TIC Recap - Day 2

Keynote speaker, Lital Marom shared fascinating insights about the future in lock step with the conference theme of Together Towards Tomorrow

Destination BC demonstrated its leading-edge marketing and partnership prowess that included examples of collaborative efforts with sector and community DMOs

Marsha Walden, Lital Marom, Maya Lange and Lisanne Ballantyne

Sophie Pierre reminded of us of the importance of learning from the past, sharing our culture and going to get what is ours.

We celebrated International Women's Day (with matching uniforms too) with some of our industry's leaders


A super fun night at Big White with a multitude of recreation options

BC TIC Recap - Day 3

Darby Allen, Fire Chief during the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire, started off day three with reminders of what is truly important. There were very few dry eyes left in the house at the end of his presentation

"It's all about team. You may not be able to pick the people, but find everyone a spot." Darby Allen

Concurrent Sessions were held throughout the conference on a range of topics including marketing, sustainability and future of airports
Marijuana Legalization & Tourism  Panelists: 
Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran; Travel Oregon CEO Todd Davidson; Colorado Tourism Director Cathy Ritter; and Niche Canada CEO Barinder Rasode

And the Winner is...
Congratulations to all the winners of a 2018 BC Tourism Award.  At the closing lunch and award ceremony, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Hon. Lisa Beare joined award sponsors to congratulate the Province's  best-of-the-best.

Customer Service Award

Winner - Bram Bolwijn, Mission Hill Family Estate Winery

Presented by Go RVing

Employees First Award

Winner - Island Lake Lodge

Presented by go2HR

Innovation Award

Winner - Fairmont Hotels

Presented by BDC

Remarkable Experience Award

Winner - Spirit of the West Adventures
Presented by Destination Think!

BC Destination Marketing Organization Association 
Professional Excellence Award

Winner - Tourism Chilliwack

Jointly presented by the Tourism Industry Association of Canada and Andrew Peller Limited

Thank You! Thank you! Thank you!
The annual B.C. Tourism Industry Conference could not happen without the support of our dedicated  sponsors. 

We Want to Hear From Delegates of BC TIC 2018

In order for us to continually improve the annual conference, please take a few moments to complete the survey.  You have until 4pm on March 23rd but the sooner the better.

The survey can be found  here  or by visiting: 

Early-bird Registration Draw Winner
Congratulations to Jimmy Cleovoulou  of Expedia, Inc.  who won a fabulous Big White getaway in the draw for early-bird registrants. A big t hanks to Michael J. and Big White Resort for their partnership and support.  


Thank you to the organizations that stepped up to send five students to this year's conference. 

TRU student Samantha with Tourism Kamloops' Monica Dickinson
UNBC student Sandra with Pacific Gateway Hotel's Eda Koot

TIABC's Walt Judas and Laura Plant with Yuezheng and Jarrett Bachman from Fairleigh Dickinson University

TRU student Taryn with Kathleen, Destination BC

VIU student Flynn with Sun Peaks Grand Hotel's Vivek Sharma


Included in your full-package conference pass:
Sunday welcome reception, Monday breakfast and lunch, Tuesday breakfast and lunch, BC Hospitality Industry Awards Gala Dinner, three keynote speakers, eight educational seminars,  vendor marketplace,networking and more.
Don't miss these industry-leading keynote speakers:
  • David Sax: Analog Revenge
    Retailers and tech giants are fusing screens with analog processes to increase creativity, outsmart the competition, and boost their bottom line - and you can too. Sax will show you how digital's one-size-fits-all promise is being complemented and enhanced by tangible, analog processes.
  • Stephen Barth: Emotionally Intelligent Leadership
    Mastering emotional intelligence is the key to unlocking your potential as a leader, manager and communicator. Learn how to use emotional intelligence in your organization to develop engaged, productive and committed employees.
  • David Goldstein: Destination Canada Update 
    Canada welcomed a record-breaking 20.8 million tourists in 2017, the highest ever in Canadian history. Get clear insights into the global tourism interest in Canada, BC's integral role in the Canadian tourism market, and how businesses can support and tap into the growing number of visitors.

All keynote speakers and educational sessions are included in your BC Hospitality Summit conference pass


Kelowna's 2017 Hotel Occupancy Numbers Show Strength
The final months of 2017 saw year-over-year growth in hotel occupancy numbers. Year-over-year hotel occupancy remained virtually on par with 2016 posting just a -0.3 per cent decrease over 2016's benchmark, which remains Kelowna's highest at 64.1%. Since 2012, Kelowna's hotel occupancy levels have risen from 51.8% to 63.7% as an annual average.

Tourism Kelowna works to drive overnight visitation to Kelowna and surrounding communities throughout the year. In 2016, over 1.9 million visitors came to Kelowna and area and spent $337 million. Overall, the local tourism industry contributes over $1.25 billion in total economic output, provides nearly 12,000 jobs and generates $142 million in tax revenues. Tourism Kelowna's goal is to welcome three million visitors annually by 2021.

Record Numbers at YKA

Kamloops Airport saw record passengers in January besting its previous busiest month in 2015 and surpassing the same time last year by 9%.

YKA saw 32,963 passengers in January. The record-setting month is part of a three-month trend. November and December saw an additional 5,100 passengers over the same months in 2016.

McArthurGlen Vancouver to Commence Construction of Phase II

After welcoming nearly 10 million shoppers since opening in July 2015, the award-winning McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Vancouver Airport is announcing the start of construction on Phase II. Scheduled to open in Spring 2019, Phase II will deliver 84,000 square feet of additional retail space and up to 35 new luxury, premium and lifestyle brands to the centre. In addition, the expansion will result in the creation of 400 jobs for the construction and retail sectors.

Help us Find British Columbia's
Top Tourism Entrepreneur

Previous winner, local entrepreneur and Rocky Mountaineer owner Peter Armstrong is spearheading a campaign to promote the Tourism and Hospitality category of EY Canada's Entrepreneur Of The Year program in the Pacific region with CEOs from the industry.
As one of the world's largest financial institutions and business consultancies, Ernst & Young LLP (EY Canada) has always recognized the value of nurturing entrepreneurs. To formally highlight and celebrate these innovative business founders, a quarter of a century ago the company launched the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Program in Canada.

Armstrong, owner of Rocky Mountaineer, is a previous winner of the Tourism and Hospitality category in the Pacific region. He has committed to sponsoring the category for five years to unearth BC's brightest entrepreneur.  "I am passionate about tourism and I am proud of the entrepreneurs in our industry. A winner from the Tourism and Hospitality category has never gone on to win the regional EY Entrepreneur Of The Year accolade and I'm determined to change that. Tourism contributes more to our economy that any other industry in Canada."

Armstrong has gathered an impressive group to drive engagement with this program. Industry leaders including Destination Canada President & CEO David Goldstein, YVR President and CEO Craig Richmond, TIABC CEO Walt Judas, Destination BC Vice President Grant Mackay and WHERE Magazine Publisher Peggie Terry form the initiative's steering committee.

"The EY EOY program is the biggest of its kind in the world. Every year we are inspired by the individuals and the stories that we encounter through the program," said Lui Petrollini, EY Partner Tax Assurance and Client Services and Director of the EY EOY program, Pacific Region, Canada.

"Our industry thrives on the ingenuity and passion of entrepreneurs. This award is yet one more example of why BC tourism matters," said Walt Judas.

To find out more and to nominate an entrepreneur go to

Nominate an entrepreneurial visionary by April 15.

Canadian RV & Camping Week 2018

From May 22-27, select campgrounds and dealerships across Canada will help raise funds for Make-A-Wish® Canada and offer special discounts in support of Canadian RVing and Camping Week, the official start to the camping season.

Participating BC campgrounds  are offering campers either a special discounted rate of $50, $60, $70 or $80 for two nights stay (May 25 and 26), or to stay five for the price of four (May 22 to 26). To ensure you secure the campground of your choice, reservations must be made in advance directly with the individual properties listed. Campsite availability is limited and on a first-come-first-served basis. Some conditions apply.

Go RVing Canada and the Canadian Camping and RV Council have once again partnered with Make-A-Wish® Canada. Last year $20,000 was raised by generous campers and visitors through the Canadian RV and Camping Week participating campgrounds.

On Saturday, May 26th at dusk, campers across Canada will gather around the campfire and host nationwide s'more roast. Campers are encouraged to purchase and fill out a Wish Star at participating campgrounds with 100% of the proceeds going to Make-A-Wish® Canada.  To make a donation in support of the Go RVing Camping Week Campaign.

Indigenous Tourism Specialist Hired 
for Northern BC 
Lucy Martin, Regional Indigenous Tourism Specialist

Northern British Columbia Tourism Association  (NBCTA) and  Indigenous Tourism British Columbia  (ITBC) are delighted to announce the hiring of a Regional Indigenous Tourism Specialist dedicated to the north. After an extensive search, Lucy Martin was hired for the new role, which is a partnership between the two tourism organizations.

Ms. Martin is a member and past councillor of McLeod Lake Indian Band and was a successful Economic Development Manager for Tse'khene Community Development Corporation before taking on this role. Martin's strong relationships, past committee work in tourism destination development, and certification in Technical Aboriginal Economic Development uniquely qualify her for the position. 

Call for Applications:
Minister's Tourism Engagement Council 

Hon. Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture announced the creation of the Minister's Tourism Engagement Council to advise her on tourism issues and opportunities, and to provide input into the provincial tourism strategy.

British Columbians in the tourism sector are invited to apply for a seat on this council. The application process closes on Monday, March 19.

The Minister's Tourism Engagement Council is being created to connect communities, industry and government on tourism related policies, issues and actions in a more structured and inclusive way.  The Council is an advisory group that provides advice on the issues and opportunities facing the tourism industry and informs the development and implementation of the provincial tourism strategy.  Members commit to providing a provincial perspective, working collaboratively and participating in a minimum of two meetings annually. Members will be compensated for travel.

The council will be comprised of up to 25 members who collectively provide:
  • the broadest possible variety of participants from the tourism sector
  • knowledge of current and emerging issues affecting tourism
  • ability to formulate options or recommendations for addressing issues 
  • knowledge of the broader tourism community
T he composition of the Council will reflect the geographic scope and broad diversity of British Columbia's tourism sector. Applicants may be appointed from one or more of the following components of tourism:
  •    Tourism and related sector businesses
  •    Sub-sectors of tourism such as adventure tourism, agri-tourism, ski resorts, etc.
  •    Cultural, recreation, sport or arts organizations linked to tourism
  •    Indigenous tourism
  •    Tourism labour organizations
  •    Industry associations
  •    Local or regional destination marketing organizations
If you have questions about the application process, please email

Additional information and the application form can be found at the Ministry of Tourism , Arts and Culture webpage at .

 3% Accommodation Tax Approved for 
Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Region

Starting  May 1st, the addition of a 3% tax on accommodations will take effect.

"It means that tourism accommodators eligible to collect a PST in our region will be able to collect an additional tax that returns to this region to market the area," said CCCTA CEO Amy Thacker.

"So it will provide a boost of about $1 million dollars annually in marketing funds available to promote our communities, our experiences, and corridors."

The additional funds will be managed by a local tourism industry marketing committee and it's expected the MRDT will be applicable until 2023.

"The MRDT is collected in every other region of the province except this one, and that is why our accommodators wanted to do the broader joint collection to level that playing field of voice and market," said Thacker.

The CCTA will be working with the Ministry of Finance to ensure accommodation providers (excluding Quesnel and Wells) are aware of how to properly collect and remit the tax.

Royal BC Museum Exhibits

Spring is just around the corner and that means the Royal BC Museum is closer than ever to opening the blockbuster exhibition    Egypt: The Time of Pharaohs. This year the Royal BC Museum will be hosting an exclusive evening opening for industry partners. Mark  May 30th at 5:15 pm on your calendar and stay tuned for more information.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year is on until  April 2nd so don't miss your chance to see a selection of 100 of the most stunning images from around the world. Did you know that the Royal BC Museum has added a sketching station to the exhibition? We invite visitors to take a closer look at and to draw specimens featured from the museum collection. 

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