September 29, 2016  
Voice of the BC Tourism Industry

CEO's Message
Recently I was having dinner with relatives from Arizona...people I would describe as laid-back retired seniors, middle-class Democrats, regular church goers, avid travelers and warm hosts.  That is until you bring up the subject of American politics.
You see, I love wading into the presidential charade with my American relatives, not only for pure entertainment but to see how alive and animated they become talking about the candidates and their respective positions on everything from the gun control to immigration.
I'm no expert on U.S. politics but understand enough to be somewhat conversant on the primary issues, parties, platforms and processes to hold my own in a conversation. At least I thought I was somewhat informed until two nights later when I attended a dinner with renowned American political strategist Steve Schmidt.
You may recognize his name from MSNBC where he regularly discusses U.S. and world politics, among other issues. Aside from his role as vice-chairman of Edelman, (one of the world's largest PR firms), Steve has run campaigns for President George H.W. Bush, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, two Supreme Court justices, and numerous other politicians over the course of his fascinating career. Most recently, he turned down an opportunity to manage Donald Trump's campaign.  Suffice it to say, he knows what he's talking about.
Walt Judas and Steve Schmidt
Steve's engaging and thought-provoking presentation and Q&A held the attention of the entire room of 30+ business leaders for nearly two hours.  While taking notes proved to be futile, there were several takeaways for me including the recognition that we live in an era of major distrust between regular folks and institutions, government and the so-called elites. It partly explains why Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are among the least beloved presidential candidates of any in recent memory.
Steve also pointed out that most Americans no longer turn to traditional journalists for knowledge and subject expertise as they once did.  Instead, many people consume news through sources (largely online) where their opinions are validated, not where they can find factual information. That, in turn, has led to an avalanche of misinformation and rumours that many will base their election decision on.
Closer to home, Steve does not anticipate many ramifications for Canada no matter who wins the election given that most trade agreements and other deals are firmly in place between our respective countries.  Although that was somewhat comforting to hear, we've learned from history that U.S. elections affect visitation by our American friends, neighbours and even relatives. In other prepared for a decline in US visitors.
One thing I know for certain...if Trump wins, my relatives will be visiting British Columbia more often and may even consider staying.  If Clinton ascends to the White House, my Aunt will be on the phone inviting me back to the desert to celebrate. However, talking American politics won't be as much fun until the next election.
My thanks to Edelman Vancouver and McCarthy Tetrault (Vancouver law firm) for inviting me to dinner with Mr. Schmidt.
For the record, Mr. Schmidt did not offer a prediction on the outcome.  However, he did suggest that the race will largely be decided by the television debates (the first took place this week), likely to be the most-watched TV programs in U.S. history...and maybe even in Canada.

One final note...while next year's BC election will be no where near as comical and entertaining as the American contest, I do hope it is as engaging for all residents of our fine province.

Walt Judas

The fall tourism season is in full swing and TIABC is preparing for another event-filled October!

Three regional tourism association summits are taking place the first week of October and our members of the TIABC team will be attending all of them: Laura Plant will be in Prince George for the Northern BC Tourism Summit on October 3rd and 4th; Walt Judas will be in Nelson on October 4th and 5th for the Kootenay Rockies Tourism Industry Conference & AGM; and Christine Willow will be attending and speaking at the Tourism Vancouver Island Conference & AGM in Ucluelet from October 4th through 6th. 

Walt, Jim Humphrey and Patrick Gramiak will attend the BC Lodging & Campground Ideas Forum in Kelowna, October 19th & 20th.  On the 21st, TIABC will host its board meeting in Kelowna.

Our team is excited to be moving around the province visiting with stakeholders and members and we look forward to seeing you soon!

A Second BC  Member of Parliament Joins TIABC 
TIABC welcomes its second Member of Parliament, Gord Johns, to our membership. Gord is a first-term NDP MP for the new riding of Courtenay-Alberni and is the NDP's critic for Small Business and Tourism.    

Gord is a former municipal councillor for the Tofino Council and has many years of experience in the tourism sector in British Columbia. Prior to his election in 2015, Gord was the Executive Director of the Tofino-Long Beach Chamber of Commerce.  Under his leadership, the Chamber grew its membership, doubled its budget and launched the highly successful Tofino Ambassador Program. 
Gord developed his economic know-how through more than 14 years as a successful entrepreneur. Gord is a proud eco-entrepreneur and has owned several small businesses including a natural clothing company, an art gallery and a bicycle rental business. All were founded on the belief that you can grow a business while caring for the environment at the same time.

If your MP or MLA is a tourism champion, please let them know about TIABC and the opportunity to support our efforts. 

To find your MP:
To find your MLA:

Suggest a Stop of Interest! 
The B.C. government is looking at adding 75 new signs to the  Stops of Interest inventory , providing an opportunity to highlight other people, places and events. It is also an amazing opportunity to involve the public in identifying as-yet unsigned sites of significance to celebrate even more of B.C.'s rich history.

The webpage provides more information and a  Suggestion Form to provide ideas of landmarks and stories that should be recognized for their historic or cultural meaning to communities and the province. Suggestions will be collected between September 26, 2016 and January 31, 2017 , and there will be an adjudication process once all the submissions have been received.

Lodging and Camping Ideas Forum 2016
Join the BC Lodging and Campground Association at the Lodging and Camping Ideas Forum October 19 - 20, 2016 at the Ramada Hotel, Kelowna. The Forum is s ponsored by WorkSafe BC, Western Financial Group and go2HR.

Education and Information Sharing
The Ideas Forum is designed to provide BC Lodging and Campground Association members and guests with an inexpensive learning opportunity thanks to our sponsors and suppliers. It is a chance to network with the sponsors, suppliers, fellow members and meet the volunteer Board of Directors. This is where ideas are discussed, knowledge is shared and member's questions answered.

The Ideas Forum kicks off on October 19th with two behind-the-scenes property tours at member Holiday Park Resort where attendees can choose an operator-hosted tour of either the lodging facilities or the campground. Once the tour is complete, the association holds it AGM followed by a lively cracker barrel session for attendees to pose operational questions to VP Campgrounds, Patrick Gramiak and VP Lodging, JJ Belanger.

At 5:00 o'clock, attendees travel to the Ramada Hotel for a trade show with preferred suppliers and to partake in hot and cold hors d'oeuvres complemented by wine tasting from a local Little Straw Winery.
Marsha Walden_ Destination BC CEO

After breakfast on the 20th, there is a strong lineup of presenters with topics ranging from setting rates, to managing google business listings, to harassment and bullying, and a keynote presentation by Destination BC CEO, Marsha Walden..

Registration Details
There is a charge of $80 (plus GST) per person for BCLCA members and $120 per person for non-members to attend the Lodging and Camping Ideas Forum. The fee covers food and refreshments while the rest of the forum expenses are generously paid by the sponsors - WorkSafe BC, go2HR and Western Financial Group. 

To register please call Anne Philley at 778-383-1037 or e-mail

Call for Nominations

Working on behalf of TIAC's members, the Board members play a pivotal role in guiding Canada's national tourism organization towards a clear vision for the industry's future.

All TIAC members in good standing are permitted to stand for nomination or nominate candidates who are TIAC members in good standing for a two-year term of office which will run from November 2016 to November 2018 in any of the following categories :  
  • Destinations
  • Travel Trade
  • Attractions/Events
  • Convention/Incentive
  • Travel
  • Accommodations
  • Industry Suppliers
  • Transportation
  • Other
Click here to download the Nomination form. 

Nominations must include a  biography or  resume of the candidate and a  letter of interest from the candidate and must be received at the TIAC Office no later thanFriday, October 14, 2016. Nominations will be reviewed by the Nominating Committee who are mandated to ensure an appropriate, balanced, cross-sector representation, regional representation and other skills-based representation. The final slate of candidates to be elected at the Annual General Meeting will be sent to members by November 14, 2016.
If you require additional information, please contact Kathleen Simmons at: 

Whistler Blackcomb Named No. 1 Ski Resort in North America Third Year in a Row

For the third consecutive year, the SKI Magazine Resort Survey has named Whistler Blackcomb as the No. 1 Overall Ski Resort in North America. Whistler Blackcomb has held this title four times in the last five years and has also consistently scored high for terrain variety, off-hill activities, lodging and apr├Ęs. With approximately 15,000 people surveyed, the SKI Magazine Resort Survey is the most comprehensive survey of its kind.  Read the press release

Grouse Mountain Listed for Sale

Since the beginning of their ownership in 1974, the McLaughlin family has worked hard with their team of employees, partners and the community to build a very successful and iconic resort.  They recently made the decision to allow others to continue its strong heritage and further cultivate the Grouse Mountain brand and future opportunities.
Grouse Mountain Resorts announced recently that it has been listed for sale.
Grouse Mountain has grown to become a key visitor attraction in the Lower Mainland and this thriving business now hosts over 1.3 million visitors annually.
Grouse Mountain management and staff are very proud of their past and look forward to continuing "business as usual" to deliver world class experiences to our local community and tourists worldwide. 

The Mountain Bike Tourism Association (MBTA) has concluded data collection for the Sea to Sky Mountain Biking Economic Impact Study. Over 900 mountain bikers participated in Squamish, Pemberton and the North Shore over the summer (Whistler's data was collected in 2015 and will be added in for the overall economic impact calculations).

Data will be analyzed over the new few months with summary reports for each community and an overall report for the corridor released by year end. The reports will highlight shifts since 2006 when the last study was conducted. Findings will be used to demonstrate the value of mountain biking to each community and to the corridor overall.

MBTA wishes to thank everyone who participated, along with the survey teams in each community. Research projects such as these assist the industry in gathering the data needed to demonstrate that#BCTourismMatters!

For further information, please contact Donna Green at o r Martin Littlejohn at .

October is Small Business Month

Small Business BC, the province's premier resource for entrepreneurs, and TD Bank Group have partnered to offer the MyBizDay Series events in Kelowna, Prince George, Vancouver and Victoria throughout Small Business Month in October and November.

These full-day education events featuring workshops, exhibits and networking will connect over 2,000 entrepreneurs with helpful tools and resources to start and grow their business. Dates include:

MyBizDay Thompson Okanagan - Wednesday October 19 in Kelowna

MyBizDay Northern BC - Thursday October 27 in Prince George

MyBizDay Metro Vancouver - Tuesday November 1 in Vancouver

MyBizDay Vancouver Island - Wednesday November 9 in Victoria

The public and small business community is encouraged to join Small Business BC on the MyBizDay tour. For more information or to register, visit TIABC stakeholders can get $10 off tickets to any MyBizDay event with the promo code COMMUNITY. 

Learn more about Small Business Month free events, being hosted at the Small Business BC Education Centre in Vancouver, and broadcast via webinar to business owners throughout BC:


go2HR Welcomes Industry Health & Safety Specialist

go2HR, BC's tourism industry human resource association, is pleased to announce the appointment of Stephanie Mallalieu to the position of Industry Health & Safety Specialist.

Stephanie will be responsible for increasing industry engagement in health and safety, and the Certificate of Recognition (COR) program -- a nationally recognized audit, certification and incentive program.

Recently relocating from the UK to Canada, Stephanie brings extensive health and safety experience to the go2HR team, with a particular focus on the foods services sector. Her previous roles include Health & Safety Manager at First Choice Holidays UK (resort management) and Client Services Director for Food Alert, providing support to restaurants for food service hygiene and general health and safety.

Stephanie holds a Master of Science in Food Safety Management (First Class) from the University of Central Lancashire and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours Degree) in Tourism and Business Management from the University of Birmingham.


Langley Experiences Tourism Growth Fours Years in a Row
Tourism Langley is celebrating  the fourth consecutive year of tourism growth...specifically  the increase in overnight stays for local accommodation providers and the number of  visitors they have greeted in their destination.

The introduction last fall of a new and modernized visitor services model that includes a stronger online presence and mobile information unit has ensured the ability to deliver a more personalized level of engagement while better assisting visitors and Langley residents at events and public spaces where there is visitor volume. As a result, during the peak travel months of May through August, Tourism Langley exceeded expectations connecting with approximately 2,600 visitors during this period. That's an increase of 117% compared to 2015 where Tourism Langley greeted approximately 1,200 visitors during the same period.

Local accommodation providers are also boasting robust and at times historical outcomes to date. Most recent figures indicate a growth of approximately 10% in occupancy and 15% in revenues compared to the same 2015 time frame. Additionally, Langley attractions such as the Fort Langley National Historic Site have reported a significant increase, welcoming an additional 5,000 visitors during the summer months. The continuous growth pattern can be attributed to several factors including the strong US currency, an increased interest in Langley products and services from new markets including Japan and China, as well as capitalizing marketing efforts to reach travellers who have positioned the region as a desirable place to visit.

K elowna International Airport Records Busiest Month in History
The last peak was in August 2014 when the airport welcomed some 152,000 passengers. August 2016 saw nearly 160,000 passengers.

Traffic is up at the airport for a number of different reasons.  YLW has been adding more and more capacity with their airline partners at both Air Canada and WestJet. For example, this summer YLW had Air Canada Rouge operating the A321, which is a 201-seat airplane, operating on a day basis between the GTA and the Okanagan.  Another reason more people are flying in and out of Kelowna is because of NewLeaf.  The ultra low-cost carrier made news in July when it landed in Kelowna.

Read more at:


Tourism Indicators 
Passenger volume to YVR continues to grow each month resulting in an increase of 8.4% year-to-date (January -July 2016). Air capacity to YVR has also increased every month compared with the same period in 2015, up 7.7%. BC Ferries has serviced over 12 million passengers year-to-date (January - July 2016), an increase of 4.7% over the same period in 2015. For other tourism indicators, see the Destination BC website.

Custom Entries
In July, international overnight entries to BC were up an impressive 11.8% overall. Some key international markets contributed to this great month; Asia +13.3%, Australia +30.4%, New Zealand +22.9%, Mexico +20%, UK +35.8%,Germany +15.4%. The International Visitor Arrivals publication summarizes custom entries data to British Columbia and Canada from selected markets of origin. See the full report on international visitor arrivals on the Destination BC website.

The monthly International Arrivals by Province publication provides insight into overnight visitor arrivals for each province. The publication can be found on the Destination BC website

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