In approximately 21 days, 19 hours and 47 minutes from now, I will no longer be the chair of TIABC. I know what you’re thinking…Jim is counting down the days. Truth be told, only a small part of me is ready to step aside.
Given the impending November 1
AGM, this is my final newsletter message as chair of the Tourism Industry Association of BC, a volunteer position I’ve held for more than three years. To say it’s been quite a ride would be a big understatement.
When I first assumed the role, we were in survival mode having nearly folded some months earlier because of declining membership, shaky finances, lack of focus and relevancy, as well as other issues that the board had been grappling with.
However, thanks to the leadership of past-chair Christine Willow and the board at the time, we soldiered on believing wholeheartedly that TIABC, and by extension, the entire tourism industry was worth fighting for.
In some respects, we re-launched TIABC in 2015 with new board members representing nearly all regions of the province. Over time we added new staff, developed a multi-year strategy, entered into partnerships, focussed on policy and advocacy work, produced events, launched programs, and continued to build relationships with tourism industry stakeholders and government to address the challenges and opportunities before us.
Since I started, I’ve also seen us make progress on or close many files while tackling new issues that emerge with regularity at the civic, provincial and national level. In a relatively short period of time, TIABC has reversed its fortunes by adding dozens of new members, elevating our presence and relevance throughout the province, and finishing each fiscal year with a healthy balance sheet so we can invest in activities that make a difference to our members and BC’s visitor economy.
Again, I know what you’re thinking. And while I admit that I am a proud and confident navy veteran, I am neither arrogant nor ignorant enough to believe that our progression is solely because of me. In fact, I just happen to be in the chair’s seat contributing alongside a group of skilled, dedicated, professional, knowledgeable, and passionate individuals who care deeply about BC’s visitor economy, and work extremely hard to ensure our industry thrives.
As I get set to transition the chair’s responsibilities to Alroy Chan (Rocky Mountaineer), allow me to offer a few parting thoughts:
1. TIABC is on the right track but we haven’t yet reached our full potential nor accomplished all of our objectives. However, we remain committed to finding solutions to industry challenges, and to be even more effective as an organization.
2. The addition of several new directors will serve our members and industry at-large much better in the days ahead.
3. Direct engagement by sectors, DMOs, operators and communities in TIABC committees, events, research projects, various initiatives, and multiple communication channels will continue to keep us accountable and on track with our priorities.
4. Serving as chair has been an exceptional learning experience, especially given that tourism was my second career after a short-lived retirement.
I’d like to take the opportunity to thank our board, staff and you as members for allowing me to serve as chair for the past three plus years. It has been an extremely rewarding experience. I look forward to seeing you at TIABC’s AGM on November 1
In the meantime, I know what you’re thinking. Jim…you have three weeks left. Get back to work!