Voice of the BC Tourism Industry
November 28, 2019
CEO's Message

Sometimes I feel like I’m living the verse in the old Steve Miller song that goes, “I went from Phoenix, Arizona all the way to Tacoma, Philadelphia, Atlanta, L.A.” Only in this case I’ve been criss-crossing BC over the past eight weeks, participating in some 13 tourism conferences in Cranbrook, Prince George, Barkerville, Whistler, Nanaimo, Kamloops, and Kelowna.

Attending and presenting at these conferences is a privilege I never take for granted. In fact, not only do I enjoy meeting with professional colleagues and friends throughout the province, I learn a tremendous amount about various communities, sectors, and individual businesses, much of which I can apply to the files that TIABC is actively working and/or supporting our partners on.

Two of those files - transportation & sustainability - happen to be among the top priorities in nearly every part of Canada. And much of the debate centres around how quickly our vast country and province can move toward the full electrification of airplanes, cars, buses, ferries, trains and even the Trans Canada Highway, all for the greater good of the environment and future generations, not to mention the visitor economy.
Truth is we’re several years away from weaning ourselves off of fossil fuels, but much progress has been made on multiple fronts in BC and around the world with respect to the electrification of various modes of transportation aside from cars. For example, Harbour Air is just days away from the launch of the world’s first electric commercial float plane with a full fleet conversion planned in the years ahead; BC Ferries is introducing new battery powered Island Class vessels in 2020 and 2022; Gray Line Westcoast Sightseeing has plans to convert its entire bus fleet to electric power within the next few years; and government is adding dozens more charging stations along several BC highways. The list goes on and on.
I was again reminded about electrified transportation possibilities after spending a few days in Palm Springs earlier this week where my primary modes of transportation were an e- (electronic) bike and an electric golf cart. I spent hours e-biking to visit friends and get some exercise. I drove the golf cart from the house to the golf course and In-N-Out Burger.
With the golf cart, I was permitted to drive on side streets or on sidewalks next to highways for as long as my little two seater had power. On my e-bike, I had the choice between the sidewalk and a dedicated bike lane. Ironically, in a highly litigious state, I didn’t need insurance, seat belts or a license of any kind, let alone gas to get from point A to point B. The only accessories I relied on to stay mobile each day were plugs and keys.

While e-bikes are already popular in BC (as are scooters), could golf carts be a more viable option in communities throughout the province, particularly in an aging society and for people with mobility challenges? To be fair, some small towns on the island and in the interior are already experimenting with this transportation option, but will golf carts one day ply the streets of larger cities such as Victoria, Kelowna or Vancouver?
I know what you’re thinking (he's nuts)…and you’re right…there are obstacles such as weather, infrastructure, insurance, safety, etc. that all seem insurmountable. Yet, I can’t help but wonder how other cities around the world like Palm Springs have overcome these challenges. It begs the question, " Why can’t we?"
For the record, I’ve been driving golf carts since my first job at the Richmond Country Club in the late seventies. From what I’ve witnessed over several decades, aside from the odd intoxicated moron that parks his golf cart sideways on a steep hill or ignores standard operating procedures, these vehicles are very easy to operate and don’t require extensive safety features such as seatbelts…something the province wants golf courses to install in all carts. Along from the unnecessary step of over-protecting ignorant drivers and the exorbitant costs to add seats belt, enforcing such a regulation would be nearly impossible.
As for e-bikes, I expect they’ll be a staple in most households in the near future…at least once they become more affordable for the average person. However, the road for e-bikes isn’t exactly smooth either as I learned at the BC Mountain Biking Conference last month. As you know, mountain bike enthusiasts typically invest thousands of dollars on bikes and spend countless hours building and maintaining local trails, many of which require a high degree of skill and courage to ride.
Then along come e-bikes that make it significantly easier for cyclists of all skill levels to access steep and difficult terrain, but not without a cost. Increasingly, mountain bike and recreational trails are seeing a higher level of degradation and over-crowding while accident and rescue rates are up, as are unpleasant encounters between mountain bike purists and the so-called weekend e-bike leisure riders.
Thankfully, the Province and many individual communities have enacted regulations or bylaws to deal with where and how e-bikes can be used on trails, streets and highways. At the same time, more needs to be done at the local and provincial level to address the many unintended consequences that this next evolution of transportation brings.
As I mentioned earlier, I learn a lot from the people I meet on the conference circuit. And I am becoming even more aware of the role that we as tourism leaders must embrace to build, promote and implement transportation options that help BC and Canada tackle climate change, reduce our environmental footprint, and leave this world a better place than when we first arrived. As you've heard numerous times, we need to get moving now.

Because this is my final message of 2019, allow me to take the opportunity to thank you, our valued member, for your support of TIABC and our advocacy efforts this year. Thank you to my DMO and sector friends for inviting me to your conferences and for engaging TIABC in issues that matter to your communities and businesses.
A special thanks to TIABC’s volunteer board (both past and present) and committee members for your dedication to BC’s visitor economy and commitment to tackling various issues. I also want to acknowledge the many partners of TIABC who faithfully support our organization and the annual BC Tourism Industry Conference. Finally, a shout out to the MLA’s, cabinet ministers and government bureaucrats who we work with regularly to move BC’s visitor economy forward.
With that, I wish you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah, Season’s Greetings, or whatever you choose to celebrate this holiday season. To my American friends on this day, Happy Thanksgiving.
By the way, I’m Running Back to Saskatoon to visit family for Christmas. In case you’ve forgotten, the reference is to an old Guess Who song about the prairies.

Walt Judas
Strengthening Indigenous Tourism

A new partnership between the Province and Indigenous Tourism BC will help grow opportunities for people and tourism businesses around British Columbia.

The Indigenous Tourism Accord, signed at the International Indigenous Tourism Conference in Kelowna two weeks ago, outlines a commitment to work together in areas such as:
  • skills development;
  • revitalization of Indigenous cultures, protocols and languages;
  • better co-operation across provincial ministries; and
  • more collaboration between Indigenous and non-Indigenous tourism operators.

Seven Affirmations for Seven Generations

The Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA) launched its Regional Pledge which provides the framework for sustainable tourism for all visitors. The pledge was announced at the International Indigenous Tourism Conference on November 14th..

Along with TOTA, signatories included representatives from the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada; TIABC, Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture; Destination British Columbia; Indigenous Tourism British Columbia; Shackan Indian Band; Xeni Gwet’in First Nation; Tourism Kamloops; Tourism Kelowna; Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association; Tourism Vancouver Island; Northern BC Tourism Association; Kootenay Rockies Tourism; Big White Ski Resort; as well as a youth representative from Kelowna.

The Regional Pledge was conceived as part of the larger sustainable tourism mandate TOTA has prioritized over the last several years. Through a lengthy consultative process that involved international tourism, academic and indigenous stakeholders, the philosophies of respectful, authentic travel in the region, visitors, tour operators and residents alike were integrated into a comprehensive pledge document.

To learn more about the Seven Affirmations for Seven Generations, go to  thompsonokanagan.com/pledge

To support the pledge, TOTA has created a video to inspire both visitors and residents to make a commitment to the Thompson Okanagan. With a strong, emotional storyline set against the scenic backdrop of the region, the video aims to connect with viewers by encouraging them to ensure the destination can be enjoyed for generations to come.
Air Canada
Business of the Year Award
Harbour Air Seaplanes – Victoria

Founded in 1982 with two seaplanes, Harbour Air began as a charter airline servicing the forestry industry in BC. Now with a fleet of 40 aircraft and a team of 450 staff, Harbour Air offers scenic tours, private charters and daily scheduled flights to destinations throughout coastal BC and Washington. As one of the world’s largest all-seaplane airlines and North America’s first carbon neutral airline, Harbour Air welcomes nearly 500,000 passengers on 30,000 flights annually.
Pursuit Attraction and
Adventure Award
Big White Ski Resort – Kelowna

Big White Ski Resort showcases the natural beauty of the Okanagan, all while challenging visitors to push their limits through a variety of outdoor activities. In winter, Big White is home to 119 ski runs, Canada's Highest Elevation Skating Rink, snowshoe and cross-country ski trails, dog sledding, sleigh rides, ice climbing, snowmobile tours, and tubing. In summer visitors can hike, mountain bike, camp, and participate in one of the many festivals.
TIABC Welcomes Re-appointment of
Minister Melanie Joly

TIABC is pleased to continue working on federal tourism issues with Hon. Melanie Joly, new Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages. While Minister Joly's portfolio has been expanded and includes a name change, she will retain responsibility for the tourism portfolio and Destination Canada.

In her previous role as Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie, Minister Joly introduced a new federal tourism growth strategy that included input from TIABC and several of its sector, DMO and business members.

TIABC will continue to advance the interests of British Columbia's visitor economy on the national stage through Minister Joly and her cabinet colleagues.

On behalf of the board and members of TIABC, we congratulate Minister Joly on her new portfolio.

Thompson Okanagan Repeats as World’s Responsible Tourism Winner at the World Travel Awards

For the second year in a row, the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA) has been named the 2019 World’s Responsible Tourism Award Winner at the 26th Annual World Travel Awards.

The announcement was made at the Grand Final Gala Ceremony held in Muscat, Oman, on November 28th, 2019.

President and CEO, Glenn Mandziuk, stated: “We are so honoured to be recognized for a second time with this prestigious global award for our commitment to sustainable growth and responsible tourism practices. This reinforces our collective focus on this critical component of destination development and marketing and would not be possible without the dedication and support of our board, staff, partners, and stakeholders.”

University of Guelph Honours Keith Henry

Keith Henry, president and CEO of the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) has been awarded the honorary degree Doctor of Laws Honoris Causa from the University of Guelph, for his work at ITAC and commitment to the economic development of Indigenous tourism across Canada.

Henry was visiting the university as an executive-in-residence at the Lang School of Hospitality, Food and Tourism Management, presenting on Indigenous tourism in Canada and its global implications to faculty and students, when he was told of the honour.

“To be recognized this way by the University of Guelph, a school known for its hospitality, food and tourism management programs, this is an honour I will cherish always,” said Henry. “I thank my good friend Professor Marion Joppe for initiating this recognition and for being a champion of ITAC’s work.”

Locals Value Tourism

Tourism is a vitally important industry according to 95% of residents recently surveyed by Tourism Kelowna. In addition, 81% felt the tourism industry provides positive employment opportunities for Kelowna and that money spent to attract tourism to the destination is a good investment.

“The survey proved Kelowna residents have a strong understanding of the importance of the tourism industry and that they care deeply about responsible, sustainable destination development,” said Lisanne Ballantyne, president & CEO of Tourism Kelowna. “The survey also showed opportunities to delve deeper into who the right type of visitor is and to learn what experiences and attractions will support our four-season destination development.”

Other survey results included
  • 57% felt the tourism industry was a contributing factor to their quality of life.
  • 86% stated that sustainable, responsible tourism is important to them.
  • 64% felt that Kelowna has sufficient attractions and infrastructure to be a desirable tourism destination in the future.
  • 79% stated they valued the work done by Tourism Kelowna and its positive impact on residents.
  • 96% reported some level of awareness of the Kelowna Visitor Centre.

The  September 2019 survey  was the first in what will now become an annual benchmarking measure.

Members Encouraged to Complete Cross Border Tourism Survey

Pierre-Alexandre Beylier is a visiting scholar at the Border Policy Research Institute at Western Washington University. He obtained a research grant from WWU and the University of Victoria to study Cascadia as a cross-border region, specifically as it relates to tourism.

Mr. Beylier is looking for as many people as possible take a survey on perceptions and practices of the Canada/US Border.

The survey can be found at: https://forms.gle/1rUhc9NxXrFXUhxa8

Feel free to forward this survey to any colleagues, friends, or family.

Greater Victoria Harbour Authority Looking at Shore Power for Cruiseships

As the GVHA continues to press forward on their short and long-plans for the Victoria Cruise Terminal, much of the focus has been on shore power as an option for reducing the impact of greenhouse gases from cruise ships while in port.

In their  emissions inventory for Ogden Point, Synergy Enterprises identified  that much has been done to reduce criteria air contaminants over the past eight years.

The inventory showed that since 2010:
  • Criteria air contaminants have decreased by 41%
  • SOhas been reduced by 95%
  • Particulate matter has been reduced by 79%
  • Cruise ship passenger counts have increased 45% while GHG emissions have only increased 19.1% due to increasingly stringent emission standards

The GVHA leadership team is working on the development of the business case for shore power. 

British Columbia Welcomes the World
Sport Tourism Event Announcements From Around the Province

Kamloops to Host Blazers Memorial Cup & WHL Anniversary
2020 marks the 25th anniversary of the Blazer’s last Memorial Cup win in 1995, winning three times in a span of four years. Tourism Kamloops has penned a deal as the presenting sponsor of the Blazers Memorial Cup and WHL Anniversary celebration, February 21 & 22, 2020.

2020 World's Women Curling Championship Coming to Prince George
The World Women’s Championship is scheduled for March 14-22 at the CN Centre, where teams will not only be chasing a world gold medal, but also will be looking to help their respective countries qualify for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. The Prince George World Championship is the first event that will help decide the Olympic qualifiers.

Kelowna to Host 2021 Tim Hortons Brier
A full house is expected at Prospera Place when one of Canada's biggest sporting events, the Tim Hortons Brier™, comes to Kelowna in March 2021. The week-long tournament and celebration, where the country's best men’s curling teams will go head to head for a national title, will draw curling fans from across Canada and will have an estimated economic impact of more than $10 million. The sought-after event was awarded through a lengthy bid process, with Curling Canada announcing Kelowna's win late last week. 
ABLE BC Welcomes New Board Members

ABLE BC elected their 2019-20 Board of Directors at the Alliance's Annual General Meeting on October 20th. The organization is pleased to announce Al McCreary has been re-elected as president of the Alliance for the next two years.

Al, from Smithers, is a long-time member of ABLE BC and former co-owner of the Hudson Bay Lodge. He was part of the founding Board in 2004 when the BC Liquor Licensees & Retailers Association, BC & Yukon Hotel Association, and BC Cabaret Owners Association joined together to create the present-day Alliance of Beverage Licensees. Al served as the Alliance's President in 2006 and 2007 and was re-elected in 2017.

ABLE BC also bid farewell to Directors Patrick Greenfield, Damian Kettlewell and Randy Wilson, while welcoming Yvan Charette, managing partner at Haney Hospitality Group.

Amazing Race Canada
Casting for Season 8

December 1 Deadline

Amazing Race Canada is casting for season 8. British Columbia applications are encouraged!

Industry on the Move
Jolleen Dicks Joins TVI As Indigenous Tourism Specialist

In October, Tourism Vancouver Island, in partnership with Indigenous Tourism BC, embarked on a new path to promote growth and enhance awareness of Indigenous tourism across the Vancouver Island Region.

Working collaboratively, the two organizations have jointly hired a Regional Indigenous Tourism Specialist for Vancouver Island. Jolleen Dick has taken on the newly created role with a focus on developing networks and collaborative relationships with Indigenous communities, nations and operators in the Vancouver Island Region.

Jolleen Dick is a Nuu-chah-nulth woman and a proud member of Hupacasath First Nation in the Alberni Valley. After completing her Tourism Management degree at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo, Jolleen moved back home to Port Alberni in 2014 and got involved in the community. Hupacasath First Nation (HFN) hired her on in a research role, and she managed the Sunset Market in the summer. Later on she became the Communications Manager at HFN.

In 2015, Jolleen ran for the Hupacasath First Nation council and was successfully elected for a two-year term. In 2017 her term ended and she took a new opportunity to work for the Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation in the BC Government.

Tourism Richmond Welcomes Two New Team Members

Tourism Richmond recently welcomed two new team members:
Judy Frankel - Manager, Business Development and David Wright - Manager, Digital Insights & Intelligence.

Judy was most recently the Executive Director for Tourism New Westminster and her mandate is to create impact and be focused within the meetings and conferences market, and to build new partnerships that will bring business to Richmond.

David, a Steveston local, will be an integral part of the marketing team. He will be responsible for the strategic direction and operational management of Tourism Richmond’s data-driven capabilities. Most recently, David was at Great Canadian Gaming as their Senior Manager, Marketing and Business Intelligence.

TOTA Launches Mobile Indigenous Artists Studio
The Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA) has partnered with First Nations communities in the Interior to create a mobile space where artists’ works can be displayed and sold.The trailer, sponsored by TOTA and Indigenous Tourism British Columbia (ITBC), was funded in part by the Western Economic Development Fund, the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust and the Rural Dividend Fund, and will travel to areas within the Thompson Okanagan starting in March 2020. Currently, there are almost a dozen artists involved in the project with many more slated to come on line.
2020 Foam Container Ban in Vancouver
Effective Jan 1, 2020, businesses are required to comply with a city-wide ban that restricts licence holders from serving prepared food and beverages in foam cups and foam take-out containers. The foam ban is one of the actions being taken by the City of Vancouver to reduce single-use item waste in support of their zero waste 2040 goal. 
New Super Camping BC App
It’s new - check out the  Super Camping British Columbia app video  then go to the App Store on IOS or the Play Store on Android and download today. Includes over 180 BC private campgrounds, 40+ lodgings, BC drives, travel tips and more.

UNDRIP - What it Means for Indigenous Tourism
British Columbia is the first province in Canada to enshrine the human rights of Indigenous peoples in law. Bill 41, the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples act, passed unanimously on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019.
Article 11(1) of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP) states: “Indigenous peoples have the right to practise and revitalize their cultural traditions and customs. This includes the right to maintain, protect and develop the past, present and future manifestations of their cultures, such as archaeological and historical sites, artefacts, designs, ceremonies, technologies and visual and performing arts and literature.”
Canada's First District Wine Village Planned for Oliver
Oliver will soon be the home of Canada’s first District Wine Village, which will serve as a gateway to Canada’s Wine Capital. The village will have 16 spaces for producers in the wine, cider, beer and spirits industry.
BC Wine Institute Update
Media Report | Q2 Summary of Coverage
Direct and indirect media coverage of the BC Wine Institute, its members and the  Wines of British Columbia  reached 255 million readers and viewers from July 1 through September 30. Value for media coverage totaled $1.1M.
WestJet Commits $100K to Indigenous Tourism
“From launching Indigenous itineraries with WestJet this summer, to announcing this invaluable multi-year commitment, WestJet is providing ITAC and Indigenous tourism entrepreneurs endless opportunities to grow Indigenous tourism across Canada and showcase our experiences to global audiences,” said Keith Henry, president and CEO of ITAC.
International Indigenous Tourism Conference - ZenSeekers blog
"One of the most compelling moments at the International Indigenous Tourism Conference (IITC) recently held in Kelowna was the moment TV host, artist and activist Sarain Fox proclaimed, “It’s not influencer, it’s infiltrator,” in describing the importance of her role as a change-making indigenous woman and how others can do the same. Her words resonated with the more than 700 of us in the room, underscoring the importance of how Indigenous tourism empowers communities across Canada and around the world. It was an inspiring discussion for all part of this catalytic experience for indigenous prosperity."
Upcoming Industry Events
January 17-18, 2020, Victoria

January 19-22, 2020, Victoria

March 4-6, 2020, Victoria

April 6-7, 2020, Kelowna

April 28-30, 2020, Whistler

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