Voice of the BC Tourism Industry
May 30, 2019
Chair's Message
This week, as we celebrate BC Tourism Week, we have the opportunity to reflect on the impacts our industry has on this province, not only economically, but socially and culturally as well.
 
Just in time for Tourism Week, federal tourism Minister Mélanie Joly released a new  Tourism Growth Strategy  that sets an ambitious goal of growing our industry’s revenues by 25% – to $128 billion – by 2025. 
 
The  Strategy  announced funding opportunities in five target areas: winter travel, Indigenous tourism, rural experiences, culinary visits and LGBTQ2 visitors.
 
In theory, the  Strategy  contains many good ideas. In my view, however, the federal government has a number of other issues to address first, in order for the plan to be successful.
 
Take for example the goal to increase winter travel. While the desire to attract tourists outside of the summer season makes perfect sense to me, a lack of tourism funding is not the main impediment to progress here.
 
What about the snowy months of the year, when we – even in B.C. – can’t always rely on our roads, highways or even airports, to get us where we need to go? Without significant investments into infrastructure, there is only so far one will be able to safely travel during the winter months. The same applies to the  Strategy ’s   goal to increase rural experiences, where access remains entirely reliant on infrastructure.
 
Another issue that many in our industry are grappling with is the labour shortage. Tourism operators in many communities around BC have great trouble staffing their businesses, partially due to the high costs of housing. Without significant investments into affordable housing, how can our industry be expected to attract and retain more staff?   
 
What about high gas prices? Or the lack of investor confidence in domestic markets, including the hospitality sector, which has led to hotel shortages in Canada’s biggest cities?
 
These are just some of the key barriers to growth being faced by the tourism industry, that are, unfortunately, out of our control. 
 
In short, I support what Minister Joly is trying to achieve with the newly-released  Tourism Growth Strategy.  I am all for ambitious goals, and I know growth and success are important to all of us, but I see a number of issues standing in our way. Growing our industry’s revenues by 25% is going to involve more than simply funding tourism operators and businesses, and I hope all levels of government will work together with the tourism industry to tackle these complex issues.
 
Alroy Chan
Chair, TIABC 
It's Our Week to Shine!
As part of Tourism Week, the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture hosted a Tourism Showcase
on the lawn of the legislature Tuesday May 28.
TIABC's booth at the Tourism Showcase.
Spencer Chandra Herbert stopped by to say hello!
Paula Amos (ITBC), Marsha Walden (DBC), Amy Thacker (CCCTA) and Minister Lisa Beare.
And on social media, communities and tourism organizations from around the province shared posts about the tourism industry and how they were celebrating #TourismWeek.
#BCTourismMatters to South Okanagan E-Bike Safaris Inc.
BC Place was lit up green and blue to celebrate Tourism Week.
Businesses in Dawson Creek celebrated the tourism industry.
Please keep sharing 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
Tourism Minister Messages
Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture issued the following statement in celebration of B.C. Tourism Week:

Tourism Week is recognized across the country from May 26 to June 2, 2019, as a celebration of the incredible adventures and experiences to be had in our province, as well as the people who make the tourism industry thrive.

British Columbia is a top vacation destination, welcoming 6.1 million visitors from across the globe last year. Our tourism industry truly offers something special for everyone. Indigenous culture, outdoor recreation, music festivals, world class restaurants and local specialities are only a few of the experiences available in regions throughout our province.

People are at the heart of B.C. tourism. This industry is filled with people who are passionate about sharing beautiful B.C. with visitors and helping them create memories that last a lifetime. Tourism is the third largest employer in B.C., providing jobs to 137,000 people. Working in the tourism industry is an opportunity for people to follow their dreams while making a good living in the place they call home.

A strong and sustainable tourism industry also contributes to the high quality of life we enjoy in B.C. The industry helps highlight community and Indigenous arts and culture through festivals and special events. It creates opportunities for outdoor recreation and active living through trails and other infrastructure. It attracts major sports competitions, like the Rugby 7s, and adds to the beauty of our communities by supporting parks, gardens and public art.

Tourism is an economic engine, contributing $18.4 billion in revenue in 2017. Our government is working to sustainably grow this sector even further by investing more than $145 million to support communities in creating tourism opportunities in every region of the province.

The new Strategic Framework for Tourism in B.C. sets out our vision for a prosperous and sustainable tourism sector over the next three years. This will be our roadmap as we work toward the ambitious target of 6% revenue growth by addressing capacity challenges and exploring new opportunities within communities. Our plan for tourism respects nature and the environment while increasing support and celebration of our Indigenous cultures.

On behalf of the Government of British Columbia and the people of B.C., I thank everyone in the tourism industry for your work in growing this sector and sharing its benefits with all of us. This Tourism Week, I encourage everyone to get out and explore everything that beautiful B.C. has to offer.
Message from the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie to the Tourism Industry Association of Canada on Tourism Week 2019:

Canadians are proud of where they live, and this pride is at the heart of  Creating Middle Class Jobs: A Federal Tourism Growth Strategy .

This strategy began taking shape after Prime Minister Trudeau asked me last summer to build a new strategy that would help create new tourism opportunities and jobs for the middle class.

So I considered in-depth research, struck up an expert advisory council and, most importantly, launched a cross-Canada listening tour to hear directly from Canadians and especially tourism operators and industry leaders.

At every stop, from Gander in Newfoundland and Labrador to Victoria in British Columbia and from Niagara Falls in Ontario to Rankin Inlet in Nunavut, I saw pride in people’s eyes.

And it was clear that this pride fuels a desire to create compelling tourism products and experiences to share with other Canadians—and with the world.

This work, in turn, energizes local economies and provides jobs for middle class families.

Pride also animates the new Federal Tourism Growth Strategy.

Tourism is already a powerful economic engine, supporting one in 10 Canadian jobs. In 2018 we welcomed a record number of international visitors for the second year in a row.

But we know we can do better.

Three out of four visitors to Canada head to Toronto, Montréal or Vancouver. And most visit during the peak summer months.

That’s why this strategy includes the $58.5-million Canadian Experience Fund  Canadian Experiences Fund, which will diversify Canadian tourism. The fund will help develop or enhance tourism products and experiences in five segments: winter and shoulder-season tourism, rural and remote tourism, Indigenous tourism, LGBTQ2 tourism and culinary tourism.

But we know we need to do more. That’s why we’re giving Canadian tourism a stature it’s never had before.

The Government will create a seventh Economic Strategy Table devoted exclusively to tourism. This will be an industry-led body that will tackle tough barriers to growth, like the labour shortage and high domestic travel costs.

The tourism strategy also includes the creation of regional tourism investment groups. Through these groups, the federal government will become a more effective partner to each of the regions, enabling promising products to be developed and ensuring that investments are coherent and congruent.

Your president and CEO, Charlotte Bell, says our “whole-of-government” approach shows that TIAC’s views are being heard “loud and clear.”

I am proud to work with Charlotte and tourism’s many hard-working women and men as we implement this strategy.

I wish you all a great Tourism Week 2019. The future for our sector is bright!
Minister's Tourism Engagement Council Seeks New Members

The Minister’s Tourism Engagement Council (Council) is an advisory body providing advice to both the Minister and Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture.
 
The Council helps inform cross-government tourism related policies and programming, in addition to providing advice on tourism issues and the development and implementation of government’s tourism strategy.
 
The members of the Council will reflect regional and sector diversity. Representatives of key tourism subsectors will be drawn from tourism businesses, Indigenous communities, local government, tourism marketing organizations, the arts sector, the sports sector, and labour sector, among others.

The Council is seeking three new members. The competition will close at midnight on June 11, 2019

Please visit the link below for more details:
FAME Seeks Festivals and Events for Economic Impact Study

Over the next few years, until February 2021, Festivals and Major Events Canada (FAME) will be conducting a new economic impact study with its members and they are seeking events in BC to participate.
 
With festival participation in this study, the hope is to develop an updated and complete portrait of the economic impact of the industry in Canada. Ultimately, a pan-Canadian study with a standardized methodology will serve to strengthen the case for increased Federal Government support for festivals and events.
 
For more details, visit: fame-feem.ca/about or contact Martin Roy, Executive Director, remi@remi.qc.ca
Federal Tourism Growth Strategy Announced

Canada's tourism sector is booming, bringing in record numbers of international visitors in 2017 and 2018. It is Canada's number one service export and accounts for one in 10 jobs. The Government of Canada is committed to building on this momentum and investing in tourism to create middle class jobs, grow Canada's economy, and bring new opportunities and pride to communities looking for a chance to show the world what they have.

On May 21st, Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie, unveiled  Creating Middle Class Jobs: A Federal Tourism Growth Strategy , which will bolster growth and diversify the sector by enhancing and developing the unique experiences that attract tourists year-round to all regions of the country.

This strategy will empower communities of all sizes through short- and long-term measures by:
  1. providing $58.5 million in funding through the Canadian Experiences Fund to enhance Canada’s tourism products and experiences; (see story below for more details)
  2. changing the way we invest in tourism by developing Tourism Investment Groups where all levels of government will collaborate to invest more efficiently while meeting local priorities and identifying ways to raise private investment; and
  3. creating the new Tourism Industry Economic Strategy Table to provide a platform for government and industry leaders to collaborate on overcoming sector challenges. 

These three pillars will take a whole-of-government approach to addressing barriers to growth such as lack of investment coordination and labour shortages.
These measures will position the sector to meet the strategy’s ambitious targets by 2025 by increasing:
  • tourism revenues by 25% to $128 billion;
  • jobs directly related to tourism by 7.3%, creating 54,000 new jobs in the process;
  • growth in the visitor economy to outpace the growth in the national economy;
  • international arrivals during the winter and shoulder seasons by over 1 million; and
  • the proportion of tourism revenue generated beyond Montréal, Toronto and Vancouver, the three big cities where tourism activity is currently concentrated.


View the strategy here:
Canadian Experiences Fund

Announced in Budget 2019, the Canadian Experiences Fund (CEF) is a national program that supports communities across Canada as they create, improve or enhance tourism products, facilities and experiences.

Delivered through Canada's  Regional Development Agencies (RDAs), this two-year fund helps Canada's tourism sector innovate and grow by providing targeted investments based on regional priorities.

Eligible projects and events
Investments made through the CEF will focus on supporting:
  • winter and shoulder-season;
  • Indigenous;
  • inclusiveness, especially for the LGBTQ2 community;
  • rural and remote communities; and
  • farm-to-table, also known as culinary tourism.

Eligible CEF proponents could be non-profits, for-profit businesses, local governments, local development agencies, or any other organizations provided they are in line with the relevant RDA's contribution programs and related terms and conditions.

For more details, visit: www.wd-deo.gc.ca/eng/19858.asp
HeliCat Canada Announces
Wildlife and Environmental Research Fund

HeliCat Canada recently announced their Wildlife and Environmental Research Fund being implemented next season. This is a skier-funded initiative that is focused on supporting research projects that enable the helicat sector to continuously improve its operating practices in the areas of Wildlife, Habitat Conservation & Species at Risk, Climate Change, Sustainability, Avalanche Research and Safety. HeliCat Canada has established this fund to support their partners, including First Nations, governments and others with comprehensive, research-based data to support decisions that impact best operation practices and tenure security for our sector.

Participating helicat operators will bill guests a per-skier day fee, which will go directly to the fund. HeliCat Canada anticipates being able to accept funding proposals early in 2020 and issue grants by the spring/summer of 2020.

View the HeliCat Canada Wildlife Fund brochure here
Did You Know?
Skills Training Programs Available to Employers

Skills training programs assist employers in providing certain types of training to their employees. With the right training, your employees can help your business grow and move into new service areas in the most dynamic sectors of B.C.’s economy. Find out if these programs can help you train your employees for the skills your business needs.
 
B.C. Employer Training Grant
The goal of the  Employer Training Grant  is to help unemployed and employed British Columbians access the skills training they need to adapt to the changing requirements of jobs and the labour market.
 
Labour Market Partnerships Program
The Labour Market Partnerships (LMP) Program focuses on projects that address a local labour market imbalance or other human resource planning activities that are in the public interest. It includes the Employer Sponsored Training (EST) program, which provides eligible employers with financial assistance to support training for employees who would otherwise lose their jobs.
 
Trades Training and Apprenticeships
Supporting employees when they pursue specialized training in trades or apprenticeships can ensure that your business has the capability to sell its services and products in demanding sectors of the B.C. economy. The apprentice you sponsor brings not only the ability to meet demanding standards, but a direct link to new techniques and technology your business can use.

The  Industry Training Authority  has many resources to help you manage and train the apprentice. Review the  6 Steps to Success  for a simple guide to your role as a sponsor. The  Canadian Apprenticeship Forum Employer Toolkit  also includes information that inspires and answers questions about sponsoring an apprentice. Check out their  Hiring an Apprentice  page.

Your business may be eligible for various tax credits when you provide apprenticeship training. See the Industry Training Authority website for more information on  tax credits .

Last Days of Online Feedback for
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 .
Numbers You Need to Know

2019 Quarter 1 International Visitor Arrivals Up 1.2% 
With the late Easter dates this year, international arrivals dipped 0.5% in March. Quarter 1 arrivals are up 1.2%, led by ongoing strength from the U.S. market. 
#BCTourismMatters
Tourism Prince George Partners with BC Parks
Tourism Prince George has partnered with BC Parks to provide a display and an interactive computer in the Prince George Visitor Centre for tourists who want to visit any one of the provincial parks in Northern BC. It allows visitors to search for specifics around certain parks, such as their amenities. It also provides an opportunity to showcase under-utilized parks.
Coming Soon - Re-designed Casino of the Rockies
St. Eugene Resort has announced a significant renovation of their on-site Casino of the Rockies, which opened in 2002. Kootenay Rockies Tourism (KRT) staff member Bonnie Castle-Dixon is pictured here with Barry Zwueste, St. Eugene CEO & KRT Director, displaying the bold nature-based design concept.
Victoria Celebrates Cruise Milestone
On Friday, May 17th, the Lekwungen Dancers welcomed Victoria's eight millionth cruise passenger at Pier A South. Newlyweds Meghan and Brent arrived on the Norwegian JOY. Victoria Harbour Authority Board Chair Dave Cowen and Director, Cruise Development Lindsay Gaunt greeted the happy couple with a gorgeous bouquet of flowers and a gift basket. The couple was visiting from Florida and were thrilled with Victoria's hospitality.
Big White to Host SBX World Cup in 2020
The Barrels & Berms Snowboardcross World Cup at Big White Ski Resort will make its inaugural debut in the beautiful Okanagan region January 20 - 27, 2020. This will be the first Snowboardcross World Cup in Canada since 2013.
Tourism Kelowna Launches New Website
Along with the new website, Tourism Kelowna also launched a quick and easy way for travellers or locals to purchase activities and tours right on tourismkelowna.com. With the OnceThere system, visitors are able to see ticket availability in real-time.
Kelowna Councillors Protect Long -Term Rental Market in Close Vote
The City of Kelowna won’t be seeing secondary suites and carriage houses available for short-term rentals any time soon after council defeated a motion to allow them in that type of housing. The bylaw will be up for review again in the fall of 2020, and council will reconsider its choices based on the vacancy rate at that time, the rental market, and progress on developing the Healthy Housing Strategy.
New Tourism Management Diploma Program
With $40,000 in funding from Columbia Basin Trust, the Okanagan College campus in Revelstoke will establish a high-tech learning lab as part of a new two-year Tourism Management Diploma to help address workforce needs of local tourism-based businesses.
Tourism Fernie Trails Update Provides Excellent Local & Visitor Info
A variety of local trail notices and updates have caused the need to clarify the current situation regarding access for this summer season. Trails in Fernie are extensive, cherished and a critical part of what Fernie is well known for. Though 2019 will experience a few interruptions, most trails are accessible to mountain bike, walk and hike. Click the link below for current details and updates.
Rocky Mountaineer Expands Capacity with New Luxury Rail Cars
Rocky Mountaineer   recently announced that seven newly built GoldLeaf Service rail cars will be offered on its Western Canadian rail routes for the 2019 season. The world's largest privately owned luxury train company will add four rail cars to its fleet in April, with three additional cars coming later in the season. The bi-level rail cars feature oversized glass-dome windows and a separate dining area for guests traveling through the Canadian Rockies.
Industry on the Move
Fairmont Hot Springs Resort is pleased to announce Vivek Sharma as its new CEO. With more than 25 years of global and national experience managing hotels, resorts and corporate operational teams of international hospitality brands. Vivek comes to Fairmont Hot Springs Resort most recently from Sun Peaks Grand Hotel & Conference Centre, where he served as general manager and led the company through extensive upgrades and its transition to an independent hotel. Prior to Sun Peaks,Vivek served in leadership positions at SilverBirch Hotels & Resorts, Fox Harb’r Golf Resort & Spa, Sandals Resorts, Hilton Hotels, and a variety of international hotels, including the Oberoi Group. Vivek is also on TIABC's Board of Directors.
Tourism Vancouver Island pleased to welcome Lauren Semple to their team. Joining them in mid-April, Lauren has taken on the new role of Corporate Communications Specialist and is responsible for our industry-facing communications and branding, stakeholder relations, corporate media relations and more. Lauren's most recent position was as a Constituency Assistant and Outreach Officer to then-Member of Parliament, Sheila Malcolmson, where she was known for her dedication and drive. With proven success in the areas of communications, public relations, and project management, Lauren's experience includes corporate and not-for-profit sectors.
Tourism Kamloops pleased to welcome Rob Dobson to their team as Research and Data Analyst. Rob brings to the team many years of experience in IT project planning and delivery,  business process and data analysis,  most recently with the City of Kamloops.  His prior work also includes special events planning and managing a busy campground / restaurant.
An east coaster originally, Rob has made a few stops along the way before settling in Kamloops 7yrs ago with his wife and baby boy. He can be found running and snowshoeing the Kamloops and surrounding trails with his golden retriever, or on the slopitch field, or cycling the local roads. Rob is happy to talk data, research, and innovation needs and opportunities with the Tourism Kamloops community and their partners.
Upcoming Industry Events
May 26 - June 2

July 9, 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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