Voice of the BC Tourism Industry
October 31, 2019
CEO's Message

On more than a dozen occasions this year alone I’ve been asked, “Are you planning to retire soon?” What? Me? Do I look that old? Am I beyond my best before expiry date?

Thankfully, these same people have never asked me twice likely because they’ve experienced the eyebrows of fury look that shows how unamused I am at the question.

At the same time, I recognize that many of my friends and peers are retiring to enjoy their twilight years playing pickleball, becoming part-time Walmart greeters or disappearing from civilization. In fact, within our sector, the retirement question is becoming more acute and a greater concern.

go2HR’s recent labour market impact analysis shows that within the next 10 years, BC’s visitor economy will need some 110,000 new employees to replace those that are retiring or simply not entering our sector (among other factors).

At a recent meeting of the Vancouver Community College Hospitality Management Program Advisory Committee (PAC), faculty noted that while their diploma and degree programs are relatively popular, more than 80% of graduating students don’t end up pursuing long-term tourism careers here. Because I serve on more than one PAC, I know other post-secondary institutions describe a similar problem.

Talking to multiple business owners around the province over the past couple of months, many have told me that finding workers continues to be their biggest challenge, especially in rural communities and for those with seasonal operations. Of course the obvious question is, “What can we do about it?”

For starters, now that the federal election is behind us, we need to double the pressure on Ottawa for policy and regulation changes that help our industry easily and more efficiently attract and retain employees of all skill levels (not just high skilled workers through the Express Entry program) who wish to settle in Canada and work in tourism. The re-elected (albeit minority) federal government must look at labour needs on an industry-by-industry level and link these to Canada’s economic strategy tables, of which tourism is now one of seven. Simply translated, tourism cannot grow to $128 billion in revenue without an adequate workforce.

You may recall that government introduced a new federal tourism strategy a few months ago with targets for 2025 that included creating 54,000 more tourism jobs, generating an additional 25% in revenue, and building tourism in rural communities by dispersing more visitors to places beyond Canada’s major cities and attractions.

While the strategy is good, my question is, “How in the world are we going to fill tens of thousands of new tourism jobs if we can’t even fill a fraction of what’s needed for current vacancies in BC, let alone across the rest of the country?”

While there are no simple fixes or easy answers, government and industry need to continue to pursue innovative strategies to help solve complex workforce challenges. Whether it’s business succession planning, investor forums, more career counselling, incentives for students, and the aforementioned major policy changes, it’s time to get serious especially given the fragile state of the economy. The last thing we need is yet another consultation process although TIABC, go2HR and other tourism sector associations are ready to respond with ideas and solutions when the inevitable government processes occur.

On a related note, in my travels I’ve also heard from many long time operators who are keen to transition to retirement but simply can’t. Some of these industry veterans would agree that they’re beyond their best before expiry date but are loathe to sell their valuable enterprises to speculators who have little to no interest in maintaining a viable tourism business. Either scenario is not healthy for tourism.

Having worked steadily for over four decades, the notion of retiring from full-time work occasionally crosses my mind, especially when issues pile up without resolve and the frustrating pattern of one step forward, two steps back becomes too familiar. That's when the call of spending more time with my grandchildren two provinces away and traveling the world has some appeal.

At the same time, as long as I continue to use my skills and experience, enjoy what I’m doing, can provide assistance to our industry where necessary, feel challenged, have my board’s support, and make a contribution, I have no plans to retire soon. And when the time comes, you’ll be among the first to know…so PLEASE STOP ASKING.

Walt Judas


Tuesday, November 12 - Kelowna

Click HERE to register

Note - TIABC AGM will be held in conjunction with the
Call for Presentations

This is your opportunity to participate in the premier tourism event in British Columbia. 

We’re looking for new ideas, new speakers and innovative concepts for our education program. Ideal speakers are those who are keen to share valuable information, creative ideas for audience engagement, can provide superb educational session delivery, and who are willing to meet with conference delegates after their session. If you fit this description, then please submit your presentation proposal today.

Presentation proposals will be accepted for the following themes:
1. Technology and Innovation – With a focus on emerging technologies pertaining to tourism, content, platforms, etc.
2.  Politics and Policies – With a focus on issues such as: transportation, housing, labour/HR issues, crisis management, land use, etc.
3.  Tourism Trends and Social Shifts – With a focus on topics such as: sustainability, visitor capacity management, reconciliation, the gig economy, destination and product experience development, economic development and investment, climate change, etc.
4.  Marketing and Visitor Engagement – With a focus on understanding, communicating and connecting with visitors.

Please read the Call for Presentation Guidelines before you proceed to the submission form.

Seeking Wellness Providers

Aventus Hosptiality Marketing Co. have launched WellnessTravelBC and are seeking wellness travel providers to join them during their test phase/soft launch (now through Dec 31) by submitting a (complimentary) listing+profile+image.

 The online profile/listing submission form can be found at: wellnesstravelbc.com/submit

British Columbia Effect Campaign

In this year’s Global Brand campaign, Destination BC is heightening travellers’ emotional urgency to visit BC by tapping into the growing research around the benefits of spending time in nature. Leveraging this concept,  The British Columbia Effect  connects the emotional, cognitive, and creative benefits of spending time in nature with BC’s unique brand promise.

Launched in Destination BC's key international markets, the campaign focuses on the personal transformation travellers can expect while immersing themselves in British Columbia’s iconic natural surroundings, and long after they have left. Marketing messaging also aims to motivate travel during shoulder seasons and geographic dispersion beyond the major centres.

The campaign kicked off in January 2019 and continues throughout 2020 —reaching audiences in the United States, Australia and China. Marketing activities include digital and traditional advertising, content partnerships with premium publishers such as  Outside Magazine  (USA), USA Today, National Geographic (CHN) and Traveller (AUS), media events, OTA advertising, email campaigns, custom content and landing pages tailored by market (i.e.  China USA ), as well as a mini-documentary captured this fall, launching in January 2020.

See an example of the campaign at: www.hellobc.com/the-british-columbia-effect-US
TOTA Joins Exclusive UNWTO Network

The Thompson Okanagan Region (TOTA) is the first Canadian destination to join the World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO)  International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories  (INSTO), joining 27 committed partners across five continents. 

The network was established 15 years ago to support destination stakeholders to take focused and coherent action to accelerate the shift towards sustainable consumption patterns, thus turning the goals proposed by the international community into reality.

Through a lengthy application process, destinations are required to meet the criteria outlined in the INSTO framework and commit to the ongoing monitoring and reporting of nine core issue areas including Tourism Seasonality, Employment, Local Satisfaction, and Energy Management.

The Thompson Okanagan Tourism Observatory was recognized last week at the UNWTO Global INSTO Meeting in Madrid, Spain, and is the first Canadian destination to join the network.

BC's Emergency Program Act Modernization

Emergency Management BC (EMBC) is modernizing the Emergency Program Act (EPA) to support more effective management of emergencies in BC.

On October 28th, Minister Mike Farnworth publicly released a discussion paper explaining the need for new legislation and outlining the proposed policy direction for modernized emergency management legislation. With the discussion paper government is seeking comment and feedback from its many emergency management partners and the public.

TIABC and its partners on the Tourism Emergency Management Committee will be submitting recommendations on behalf of industry.

Feedback will be accepted until 4:00pm on January 31, 2020.

Tourism Podcasts

PATA Canada Vancouver Capilano University Student Chapter
PATA Canada Vancouver Capilano University Student Chapter has released the ninth episode of its podcast What in the World in Travel. Hosts Carma Chan and Shaun McGrath had the opportunity to talk to Sarah Rhodes, Founder of Plastic Free Southeast Asia, a social impact organization that focuses on stopping plastic pollution at the source.

Tourism Kamloops
Luv'n The Loops is about equipping locals with the tools to share Kamloops' boldly unscripted stories. On our weekly radio segment, we chat with folks that are moving the needle for the tourism economy in our city. You will be surprised who is affected by the tourism industry and which businesses are thriving because of it. Our hosts open up the weekly guests so listeners get a taste of the personal experiences of each individual. There are lots of laughs and unexpected twists and turns on each episode.
Tourism By The Numbers
Value of Tourism in BC Report
Published annually, the Value of Tourism in British Columbia takes a deep dive into the economic value the tourism industry contributes to the province. The publication summarizes 10 years of tourism revenue, gross domestic product, and business and employment data. Visitor volume and associated expenditures by both domestic and international markets of origin are also covered.
August International Visitor Arrivals to BC up 7% (YOY)
International Visitor Arrivals were up 7% in August driven by continued growth out of the US. Total US arrivals to BC are up 5.2% year-to-date, putting us on track for a record year.
Overnight Visitor Volume to Vancouver - YTD
Vancouver visitor volume estimates have been updated with the most recent statistics.
Highlights (YTD July):
  • Overall overnight visitation volume is up 2.8%.
  • Overnight visitation from the US is up 3.2%
  • Overnight visitation from China down by -5.2%
  • Overnight visitation from Mexico up by 14%
YXS Passenger Traffic Increase
Prince George Airport (YXS) reported 39,767 passengers going through the airport September in 2018. September 2019 has seen a 2.34% increase with 40,697 passengers arriving and departing during the month.
Seaplanes to eplanes
Harbour Air and their partners at magniX are thrilled to share the completion of significant project milestones in the conversion of the world’s first seaplane to ePlane! With the delivery and successful installation of the magniX motor, they are working hard to connect the internal systems in preparation for its first flight. By mid-November, Harbour Air expects to have a concrete time-frame to test the first fully electric flight.
Revelstoke Adventure Park Update
Almost a decade since it was first proposed, the Revelstoke Adventure Park is one step closer to reality after the Columbia Shuswap Regional District board recently adopted zoning amendments that will allow resort commercial activities on the proposed site. The park, planned for the Greely Creek area about 10 kilometres east of Revelstoke — and bordering the Revelstoke Mountain Resort — will be spread out over a square kilometre of private land and five square kilometres of Crown land. Activities will include zip lining, a ropes course, bungee jumping, mountain biking, rock climbing and surfing on a man-made wave lake, as well as camping opportunities.
New Cable Being Installed at the Sea to Sky Gondola
After an 8,275 km journey from Switzerland to Squamish, the brand new 120 tonne haul rope arrived earlier than first anticipated and is being installed. The installation of the cable is a major milestone in the rebuild process and keeps the Sea to Sky Gondola on track for an early spring 2020 opening. 
Tourism Discussed at Vancouver Island Economic Summit
Mindful Travelers and the Future of Tourism was one of the sessions at the recent Vancouver Island Conference Centre. The session focused on finding a way forward that achieves balance: economic growth and viability balanced with sustainability. TIABC CEO Walt Judas also moderated a session on Marine Tourism that focussed on fishing, whale watching and the impact of federal regulations on the sector.
EBus Celebrates a Successful First Year
Ebus is celebrating One Year of Partnership with the Abbotsford Airport (YXX). Ebus has filled the gap left by Greyhound's departure and is providing much needed connections for the Fraser Valley and YXX. Earlier this month, EBus announced service to the Shuswap to offer connectivity to the communities of Armstrong, Enderby, Salmon Arm, Sorrento, and Chase.
Whistler Voted Best International Ski Resort by Australian Families
Out & About with Kids Magazine in Australia has revealed Whistler Blackcomb as the Best International Ski Destination for Families. More than 120,000 votes across 44 categories were counted in the this year's Readers' Choice Awards. The full list of winners and finalists can be viewed online and in the October edition of the magazine.
Surrey Board of Trade Calls for Continued Investment
The Surrey Board of Trade has released a recommendation paper that urges the City of Surrey to create a “more robust, aggressive and focused” arts and culture strategy to “bring positive change in communities.” Tourism is another focus of the SBOT report, which calls for continued investment in the creation of new tourism infrastructure.
Kicking Horse Canyon Project
The Kicking Horse Canyon, located just east of Golden, is one of the most rugged and scenic sections to be found on the Trans-Canada Highway. As a tourist and commercial transportation corridor, the highway carries more than 10,000 vehicles daily during the summer. While the mix varies by season, up to 30% of the traffic consists of commercial vehicles moving millions of dollars in goods to serve interprovincial and international trade. Three phases of work have transformed 21 kilometres of narrow, winding two-lane highway into a modern four-lane, 100 km/ standard. Construction of the fourth and final phase to complete the remaining – and most difficult – 4.8 kilometres is expected to begin in 2020.
Nanaimo Airport's Blue Navigator Program
Nanaimo Airport is showing dedication to accommodating people with disabilities through the Blue Navigator Ambassadors program. Easily identifiable ambassadors in blue vests provide directions and information in the airport terminal building, offering personalized assistance to travellers. The terminal building floor map, available online, also helps prepare travellers for what they can expect on arrival.
Royal BC Museum Returns Totem to Nuxalk First Nation
A party of about 20 members of the Nuxalk First Nation recently visited the Royal BC Museum to reclaim a valuable piece of family heritage, a totem carved by late hereditary chief Louie Snow Snuxyaltwa. The provincial government allocated $2 million to help return family treasures in museum collections to First Nations. The Royal BC Museum has been the clearing house for repatriations and works with a First Nations cultural advisory council on procedure. The communities have been bringing home ancestral remains as a first priority Several hundred remains at the museum have been returned, mostly without media attention. Together with partners from Haida Gwaii, a repatriation handbook helps First Nations with the formal process.
International Indigenous Tourism Conference

There are only 2 weeks left until we are in Kelowna for the 2019 International Indigenous Tourism Conference (November 12-14).

Tickets for the conference are just about sold out. Don’t miss this opportunity to be a part of the three-day conference, where you will experience breakouts sessions available for every level of business, inspiring keynote presentations and the Indigenous Tourism Awards Gala.

 The Race is on for Half Corked Marathon 2020

Lottery for Oliver Osoyoos Wine Country’s hottest ticket opens November 5, 2019

30th Annual Vancouver Tourism Awards Gala

In addition to the monthly awards presentation, the annual Vancouver Tourism Awards Gala Breakfast honours and recognizes the year’s monthly winners as well as each and every nominee put forward throughout the year.

Join special guest Darby Allen, fire chief during the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfires, and pay tribute to tourism’s top performers at the 30th Annual Vancouver Tourism Awards Gala Breakfast.

Wednesday, November 6th @ 6:45am

Upcoming Industry Events
November 1-3, Barkerville

November 3-5, Victoria

November 12, Kelowna

November 12-14, Kelowna

November 19-20, Ottawa

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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