Voice of the BC Tourism Industry
May 16, 2019
CEO's Message
Fishing is the standard answer I give to my wife at least once a week when she asks me about weekend or evening plans. If only I was telling the truth. I love fishing but rarely have the opportunity to drop a line at my favourite hole close to home.

Nonetheless, I am still up to my hip waders on the fishing file, as well as representing the interests of our whale watching members who are feeling the impacts of further decisions by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to limit or restrict fishing and whale watching in certain areas…predominantly around southern Vancouver Island.

As we pointed out in this newsletter a couple of weeks ago, DFO’s new regulations were anticipated but still sting. In fact, a recent BC Chamber of Commerce MindReader survey showed that 71% of fishing related businesses said they (or those in the value chain) have already experienced cancellations with over half citing client bookings are down some 31%, and one-fifth of businesses experiencing a whopping 50% rate of cancellations.

What’s more, the concern extends beyond this season given that a quarter of the businesses affected say they’ll have to close for good either this year or next, and more than a third of business owners conceded that they will lay off staff.
 
Of course we know that once many of the skilled employees are gone, it may be difficult to get them back even if things return to normal. Consequently, there are further ramifications on the horizon for marine tourism operators. Similarly, if guests decide to take their rod and reel elsewhere, they may not return to BC either.
 
While the non-retention of Chinook in specific areas is not an actual closure, due to lower guest preference for catch and release in tidal waters, 88% of respondents nonetheless believe Vancouver Island’s reputation as a great place to visit for a recreational fishing experience has been affected.
 
To be fair, in the interest of protecting Chinook stocks and retaining enough food for Southern Resident Killer Whales to thrive, TIABC acknowledges that DFO needed to act. And while the marine tourism sector reluctantly accepts the measures and will adjust accordingly, it is also keen to work with government on Chinook abundance measures, enhancement projects and other initiatives they believe to be more effective to ensure healthy stocks for the foreseeable future. TIABC will support those efforts.

From a recreational angling perspective, the new regulations dictate a different experience than in previous years, especially with a catch and release regime for Chinook in tidal waters. Yet at the same time the amazing places on the island combined with the exceptional service provided by guides, lodges and other businesses connected to the recreational fishing sector remains unchanged. That’s the clear message to give to visitors.
 
Similarly, a 400-metre avoidance zone placed on whale watching companies for viewing Southern Resident Killer Whales will mean an adjustment that is expected to have some consequences for visitors.
 
The expanded no-go zone required by DFO means that guests will not be viewing the Southern Residents (i.e. too far away to see anything). However, our coastal waters have plenty of transients and other species to see at a relatively close and safe distance to provide that thrill of a lifetime experience our whale watching companies provide to visitors. Again, another important message to convey to visitors.
 
For the record, the BC Chamber MindReader survey received responses from 379 businesses, 313 of which were identified as being in the recreational fishing industry (i.e. guides, lodges), directly linked to the industry (i.e. accommodation, marine outfitters), or peripherally linked (i.e. spin-offs). The number of businesses that responded to the survey is not only impressive, it leaves little doubt about the accuracy of the data.
 
I’m about to hang the ‘ gone fishing’ sign on my office door for a few days of vacation. Okay, in the spirit of full disclosure, I’ll be golfing but would rather be fishing. You see with fishing I can always brag about the big one that I threw back but in golf I can’t hide a triple bogey on my scorecard.

On a side note, kudos to Eagle Wing Tours for safely and professionally looking after guests on board one of their vessels that came in contact with a rock and was grounded late last week. Ironically, guests actually enjoyed the mini crisis experience likely because it added to the day’s adventure and made for a compelling story to tell friends and family back home.

On another side note, TIABC extends its well wishes and a speedy recovery to immediate past chair Jim Humphrey who underwent heart surgery this week.

Walt Judas
CEO, TIABC 
Policy Spotlight
New TIABC Policy on Recovery of Southern
Mountain Caribou

For tourism business across British Columbia, recovery programs for species-at-risk such as southern mountain caribou have the potential to maintain and support the natural values that - given they are critical components of world-class tourism experiences - are shared with guests from around the world. However, those same initiatives, if developed or implemented without meaningful involvement of sector associations and businesses, and without a full understanding of economic and social implications, can - through restrictions or prohibitions - have unnecessarily devastating impacts on tourism businesses.

Canada's federal Species at Risk Act (a.k.a SARA) has been in place since 2002. Until recently, SARA had only been an issue for wildlife species with very small home ranges (e.g Sage Grouse). However, it is contemplation of habitat protections and operational restrictions for wide-ranging species such as Southern Mountain Caribou that have made the implications of SARA to BC's tourism sector of greater concern.

Given the government consultation process currently underway provincially, TIABC has introduced a new policy specifically on recovery of Southern Mountain Caribou. Among other things, the policy supports landscape and ecosystem-based management efforts, while suggesting that species-by-species management is inadequate. TIABC also maintains that any approach taken to restore caribou populations must make sense for recovery outcomes vis-a-vis ROI for the time and money invested.

TIABC's full policy on Recovery of Southern Mountain Caribou in BC is available in the members-only section of www.TIABC.ca

All Aboard!


TIABC's board recently enjoyed Rocky Mountaineer's incredible hospitality and service, as well as amazing BC scenery, during a recent meeting on board the train from Vancouver to Kamloops.
May is Buy BC Month

The Province and the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association (BCRFA) are proud to present the second annual Buy BC: Eat Drink Local campaign. This month-long event, held during the month of May, offers diners the opportunity to sample innovative, tasty cuisine, B.C. style, at more than 300 venues throughout the province, including everything from food trucks to fine dining, and coffee shops to brew pubs.
 
To find a participating restaurant, visit:

Chefs wanting to participate can visit: 

Sharing on social? Tag and follow @EatDrinkBuyBC and #BuyBC
 
To read the full news release, visit:
BC Ferries Open Houses
BC Ferries is welcoming the public to two open houses to view the new Northern Sea Wolf ferry.
See details below for Bella Coola and Port Hardy events - June 2nd and 3rd.
TransLink is leading the development of a new long-term transportation strategy called "Transport 2050". This Regional Transportation Strategy, along with Metro Vancouver Regional District’s Regional Growth Strategy ("Metro 2050") will help the region navigate an uncertain future as TransLink works towards achieving their shared vision and goals.

A regional strategy needs regional input, and TransLink would appreciate you attending a workshop to hear more about this project and your opportunities to share your organizational perspectives.

In the first phase of engagement they are asking what you value and your transportation ideas for the future. In the fall, they will report back on what the have heard and start to evaluate the transportation ideas you have shared.
To learn more, visit: link.etranslink.ca
BCWI CEO Update

The BC Wine Institute remains active in several key project areas:

  • British Columbia Vintners Quality Alliance (BC VQA)

  • BC Wine Appellation Task Force - BCWA Industry Plebiscite

  • Business Technical Advisory Panel (BTAP)

  • CVA Meets with Federal Minister of Internal Trade’s Policy Advisor

2019 BCWI Annual General Meeting - Tuesday, July 9th in Kelowna

ABLE BC Update


In the last  Industry Update , ABLE BC shared an update on liquor policy reform, including progress on recommendations from the  Business Technical Advisory Panel.

In addition to the issues discussed in the BTAP report, ABLE BC continues to advocate for key policy issues on behalf of their members, including:

  • Maintain the 1 km distance rule between liquor stores
  • Extend the moratorium on new LRS licenses beyond 2022
  • Allow private liquor stores and liquor primaries to sell and refill growlers
  • Allow liquor primaries to offer table bottle service
  • Create fixed and transparent markup policy for hospitality products carried in BC Liquor Stores
  • Modernize inducement policy to better reflect business relationships
  • Labour shortages: through our work with go2HR and other industry partners, and as Chair of the Coalition of BC Businesses, ABLE BC is meeting regularly with government to advance sustainable, business-friendly labour policies that provide greater access to workers and resolve these challenges over the long term.

To learn more about the work ABLE BC is doing,  download the 2019 Member Handbook . As always, please don't hesitate to contact their office with any questions or concerns: 604-688-5560 or  info@ablebc.ca .
Sixth Rural Dividend Intake
Begins June 15

The sixth intake of the BC Rural Dividend Program runs Saturday, June 15 to Thursday, August 15. Please review the revised program guide prior to submitting an application. 

The online application form will open on June 15 Additional resources and documents to support applicants will be added to the website prior to June 15. 


For more information, please visit:
Tourism Showcase on the Lawns of the Leg

As part of Tourism Week, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture is hosting a Tourism Showcase on the lawn of the legislature from 11am to 1pm on Tuesday May 28. Several DMOs and sector organizations have arranged to have booths on site and welcome the chance to talk tourism to MLAs during their lunch break, and with the general public who will be passing by. TIABC will be there - watch for photos on our social media channels.

If you wish to use the new Tourism Week banner (above) in social media or on your website, please contact us straight away so we can email you the file.

Other ideas for celebrating our industry during Tourism Week:

Host an event in your community that celebrates #TourismWeek – perhaps at your local Visitor Centre or a popular tourist attraction.

Invite your Mayor and Council, municipal staff, Indigenous leadership, Chamber of Commerce, or other key stakeholders to a breakfast where you celebrate your local tourism leaders, business owners and ambassadors.

Tell your local media (radio, newspaper, television) about Tourism Week and your activities and achievements.

Share stories on social media using #BCTourismMatters and #TourismWeek to help spread the word.

Be sure to keep TIABC updated on your activities so we help share your stories, posts and images. You can reach us at info@tiabc.ca

Further resources are available on the Destination BC website:

#BCTourismMatters

Canadian RV and Camping Week
Have you booked your site for May 21 – 26, 2019?

Participating campgrounds across Canada, including   20 campgrounds in British Columbia ,  will be offering discounted rates to their campers for reservations made between May 21 and May 26. Rates such as two nights for $50, $60, $70 or $80 and an offer of 5 nights for the price of 4.
 
Camping is an affordable family activity that promotes a sense of community, creates life-long memories and encourages Canadians to discover Canada’s rich landscape and engage with nature. A recent report, commissioned by the  Camping and RVing BC Coalition , found that more than 2,100,000 campers in the short-haul markets of BC, Alberta and Washington are planning to camp or RV in British Columbia in the next 2 years.
 
Other findings in the report for the BC residents questioned showed:
 
  • The most popular equipment used was a tent/tent trailer (36%) followed by trailer/fifth wheel/truck camper (19%) and motorhome/camper van (19%).
  • About a third of BC residents who camped had camped in shoulder seasons (29% - spring and 22% - fall). 
  • 9% of BC residents who camped had camped or RVed in the winter.
  • The estimated camping population for BC (over 15 years) was 428,342 of which 36% camped more than 15 days per year.
 
The importance of camping has been recognized by the Province of British Columbia who issued a proclamation to proclaim May 21 – 26 “RVing and Camping Week”.
 
The  Camping and RVing BC Coalition  encourages all campers to camp respectfully and safely. For a few helpful reminders and tips on how we can all enjoy our camping experience for years to come, please visit   Camping Etiquette .

Mountain Caribou Recovery Engagement

The Government of British Columbia has extended the deadline for the caribou recovery engagement process for the draft Bilateral Conservation Agreement under Section 11 of the federal  Species at Risk Act  (“Section 11 Agreement”) and draft Inter-Governmental Partnership Agreement for the Conservation of the Central Group of the Southern Mountain Caribou (“Partnership Agreement”).  
Feedback will now be accepted until May 31st

Please visit  https://engage.gov.bc.ca/caribou/section11agreement/  for detailed information about the draft agreements, as well as maps, information bulletins and Frequently Asked Questions.

TIABC's Policy Committee has prepared a new policy on mountain caribou that will be released later this month.

You can provide feedback via the  online feedback form .
#BCTourismMatters
Vancouver Airport Authority Recognized as Leader in Canadian Innovation
Vancouver Airport Authority (YVR) has been recognized as a winner of PwC Canada's 2019 Vision to Reality (V2R) awards for its self-service border control solution, BorderXpress in the Builder category. BorderXpress technology was developed by Innovative Travel Solutions (ITS), an independent business unit within Vancouver International Airport. The award ceremony took place in Toronto on May 9, 2019.
Mountain Bike Trail Development in Quesnel
The City of Quesnel and Cariboo Regional District (CRD) recognize the value of trails for both residents and visitors. Following the completion of the North Cariboo Trails Inventory and Master plan, the City and the CRD committed to further developing and marketing trails in the Quesnel area and are moving forward with a phased approach focusing on future development and upgrading the existing trail networks to become an outdoor enthusiast destination.
Britannia Mine Museum New Live Action Experience
Discover BOOM! This new live-action experience at Britannia Mine Museum brings the massive Mill No. 3 building back to life with light, sound and leading-edge special effects. Opening June 1st!
Indigenous Tourism BC Launches New Website
Indigenous Tourism British Columbia (ITBC) recently unveiled www.indigenousbc.com  , a brand-new resource for locals and visitors to BC. The user-friendly and intuitive website shares compelling video and digital stories that shine a spotlight on thriving and inspirational #IndigenousBC cultures!
Juan de Fuca Trail Closures and Proposed Logging
Businesses in Port Renfrew are tackling fishing closures, proposed logging of old growth forest adjacent to the Juan de Fuca trail, and now a temporary closure of a 21-kilometre section of the trail with no available detour for maintenance.
Conservationists and Port Renfrew Business Community Welcome Postponement of Old-Growth Logging Plans near Juan de Fuca Provincial Park:
Rural Dividend Grants Support North Thompson Communities
Almost $19 million in 153 single applicant and partnership project grants are being awarded by the Province to eligible local governments, First Nations and not-for-profit organizations through the Rural Dividend Program. The Thompson-Nicola region will receive $1,206,897 for 13 projects, of which $414,481 has been awarded to North Thompson Valley communities.
Rocky Mountaineer Dedicates New Rail Car to Former CN Chairman
Roc ky Mountaineer  founder and owner Peter Armstrong dedicated one of the company’s new bi-level GoldLead Service rail cars to David McLean, chairman emeritus of  CN . The announcement marks the eighth rail car dedicated by Rocky Mountaineer since 1990 to acknowledge notable people and their contributions to the rail industry. Having served from 1994 to 2014, McLean was CN's longest-serving chairman.
Historic Hat Creek Ranch in State of Uncertainty
B.C.’s Historic Hat Creek Ranch finds itself in a state of uncertainty after receiving correspondence from the Province this month. In a release issued from the Friends of Historic Hat Creek Ranch Society (FHHCRS) on May 1, the board announced that the Province will proceed with a public process to seek new site managers for Hat Creek.
SilverStar Earns Green Kudos
Vernon’s SilverStar Mountain has been recognized as one of the top ski resorts in North America for environmental performance. Silver Star was the only Canadian resort to receive a nomination for the 2019 Golden Eagle Award for Environmental Excellence from the National Ski Areas Association. Silver Star was up against U.S. giants Vail Resorts, Colorado, Sun Valley Resort, Idaho and Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort, Mass.
Industry on the Move
Highly regarded tourism professional Ingrid Jarrett recently announced her departure from Watermark Beach Resort as General Manager, VP Business Development, a position she held for 11.5 years, developing the brand and the experience so intertwined with the Watermark personality.

Ingrid has joined the Canadian Vacation Ownership Association as president and CEO. She is also the new general manager of The Royal Kelowna, the city's newest independent luxury resort on the shores of Okanagan Lake.
Upcoming Industry Events
May 21-26

May 23-25, Burnaby

May 26 - June 2

July 9, 2019, Kelowna

October 2-4, Whistler

October 3 - 4, Prince George

October 8 - 10, Nanaimo

October 23 - 24, Nanaimo

November 1 - 3, Barkerville

November 12 - 14, Kelowna

January 19 - 22, 2020, Victoria

March 4 - 6, 2020, Victoria

April 28-30, 2020


Send us your event listings and we can include it on our list!
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