Earlier this week, TIABC held its annual general meeting in Kelowna. If you were unable to attend, I have taken the liberty to share pertinent sections of my AGM report in this week’s newsletter.
I would first like to thank the board for their faithful service this past year and for making my first year as Chair both enjoyable and beneficial. We worked well together as a board and through different committees that also included professional colleagues and members from various businesses and sector organizations. In fact, partnerships with the BC Chamber of Commerce, Coalition of BC Businesses, Spinal Cord Injury BC and many others have added another layer of depth to our organization that helped us fulfill our mandate.
I would also like to thank our departing Board members for their contributions throughout the years. Erica Hummel, David Mackenzie, Tony Munday, and Paul Nursey all dedicated countless time and energy to TIABC and helped the organization successfully grow and flourish.
A big welcome to the new incoming Board members:
Ty Speer, President & CEO, Tourism Vancouver (DMO category)
Beverley DeSantis, CEO, Tourism Kamloops (DMO category)
Michael J. Ballingall, Senior Vice President, Big White Ski Resort (Sector category)
Ian MacPhee, Controller, Prince of Whales (Business category)
Allow me also to thank our team – Walt, Laura, Fiona and Darlene for their efforts throughout the past year. Together, we made progress as an organization, particularly in our primary role as advocates on behalf of BC’s visitor economy.
It took a lot of work in recent years, especially after the last election to establish new relationships, but TIABC is well respected by government and regularly consulted and engaged on numerous issues as the voice of tourism acting on behalf of communities, regions, businesses, employees and sectors throughout BC.
Now reflecting inwards at TIABC, how did the year go for us? Well, I’ll point you to TIABC’s 3-year strategic plan that is posted on our member website. Our vision is for tourism to be recognized as one of BC’s leading and sustainable industries, while our mission is to unite operators, sectors, DMOs, government and residents to support and be passionate about making BC a great place for tourism.
In order to advance the vision and mission for the association, TIABC developed four strategic goals, each representing an ultimate outcome to be achieved and a forward looking path for the association. Collectively these goals and strategic initiatives take into account how to leverage organizational strengths, overcome weaknesses, realize opportunities and defend against threats.
These initiatives are:
Advocacy and Policy Development
Strategic Communication and Government Relations
Membership and Strategic Alliances
Organizational Sustainability and Excellence
We made great strides against these initiatives over the past year. Furthermore, we bolstered our financial position through the support and commitment of our members and stakeholders. I’m proud of our achievements but there is a lot more work to be done and seemingly looming headwinds for our industry in the coming years.
By most measures, 2019 is shaping up to be a strong year for tourism in BC. We experienced a healthy increase in total international overnight arrivals with 3.6% growth based on August year to date figures. It was encouraging to see that the growth was fairly balanced, with the US, Europe and Asia each growing at approximately 3%. After two of the worst wildfire seasons on record, 2019’s fire season was relatively muted. For the first time in two years, we got a respite from a major crisis in our province.
The cruise industry enjoyed the second-largest season in its 33-year history, where almost 1.1 million cruise passengers transited through Vancouver, and a further 700,000 passengers that visited Victoria. All told, these were great macro signs of a healthy year for tourism.
On the flip side, there was a significant decrease in visitors from China, and it’s our largest international market outside of the US. The US-China trade wars, the protests in Hong Kong and the Huawei incident have clearly created a black mark for BC. We continue to face uncertainties and external threats when it comes to the sports fishing and whale watching sectors. And of course the mainstay issues of labour shortages, transportation and connectivity, capacity and housing affordability continue to limit industry’s ability to reach its full potential.
Alas, I’m sure many can relate in your own businesses and appreciate that the work never stops. As the old adage goes, it you’re standing still, you’re falling behind. Rest assured, TIABC is not standing still. We will continue to push the ball up the hill… sometimes we’ll achieve our objectives, other times we won’t, but I can guarantee you that we are always driving forward to create a stronger visitor economy for British Columbia.
Our organizational goals for the coming year remain largely the same, albeit with an even greater focus on the important policy priorities as identified by our members and industry. I am grateful for our solid membership that provides the support and means by which we can operate. I also want to thank our multiple partners that support us each year at the BC Tourism Industry Conference.
Please continue to connect with us on a regular basis.