August 4, 2023

CEO MESSAGE

A relative of mine spent close to three decades in the food services industry, first working for a well-known fast food outlet, then parlaying his experience into purchasing his own diner as a franchisee within another popular restaurant chain. In a city with a vibrant food scene, he thought he had it made.

Managing the restaurant consumed his life. He stopped seeing friends and family socially. He was dumped by his partner. He stopped exercising and hardly slept. He ultimately worked seven days a week, 16 hours a day to build his dream business and make it profitable. Aside from overseeing the day-to-day operation, he cleaned toilets, cooked meals, seated and waited on hungry patrons...essentially doing whatever it took to keep the doors open.

Despite his valiant efforts, however, within three years he was broke. A combination of a lazy business partner, bad lease, unreasonable terms by the franchise lessee, rising costs, inexperience, and other factors forced him to shutter his restaurant leaving him with nothing to show for years of hard work save for a sizeable debt, a large portion of which was owed to immediate family members.

I’m not suggesting my relative’s experience is the norm but as most folks know, operating a restaurant is not for the faint of heart. Margins are thin, labour is hard to recruit and retain, the hours are long, costs continually rise for leases, goods, products, wages, insurance and utilities, and customers’ expectations and tastes are high and fickle. Although there are countless success stories in the food services sector and plenty of establishments doing just fine thank you, there are equally as many examples of failure each year, never more so than during COVID due to restrictions imposed by government.

Restaurants were and continue to be among the hardest hit of any business as a consequence of the pandemic. Notwithstanding that many were forced to close permanently or at least temporarily between 2020 and 2022, new data compiled by Restaurants Canada comparing Q2 of this year with Q2 of 2019 (pre-pandemic) shows the extent to which the industry is still on shaky ground in British Columbia.

For example, more than half the restaurants report lower sales; 62% are seeing fewer guests; 80% of operators say profits are lower; 13% are breaking even while 32% are operating at a loss; and 56% are in debt with close to half owing between $50,000 and $100,000.

Nearly all of the restaurants that reported debt owe money to government-backed bank loans through the CEBA (Canada Emergency Business Account) program, which obligates operators to full repayment by December 31st or risk losing the forgiveness portion (thus incurring even more debt) compounded by higher interest rates come January. As you saw in last week’s TIABC newsletter, CEBA requirements are proving to be a major obstacle to recovery let alone survival for sectors such as restaurants.

Convincing government to again extend the CEBA repayment deadline by one or two years is critical for the tourism and hospitality industry. The ask is among 10 recommendations TIABC submitted this week as part of the federal consultation process to inform next year’s budget.

At the same time, a full court press is underway by our national counterparts at TIAC, provincial and territorial tourism industry associations (including TIABC), Restaurants Canada, and hundreds of other sector associations and partners to implement changes to the CEBA loan repayment terms now to avoid further hardship on struggling businesses trying to keep their heads above water. Stay tuned for how you can be part of this important endeavour in the days ahead.

Earlier this week I had dinner at a popular restaurant with sister locations all over Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island and the Okanagan. In speaking with the server, I was disappointed to learn that this particular outlet was closing in two weeks due to rising costs, among other reasons. Conversely, I was not surprised considering myriad obstacles restaurants face these days even though there are plenty of customers who enjoy a meal out now and again.

After seeing what my relative went through many years ago when he lost his business, I empathize with the staff, owner, suppliers, and regular customers impacted by the closure and wonder how this situation could have been avoided. As I sit here today, I believe that if changing the CEBA loan terms helps just one restaurant like the Richmond establishment I frequented for the last time this week, the collective lobbying efforts by the tourism and hospitality industry will have been worth it. After all, we simply can't afford to see more of our favourite eateries shuttering forever because of an unwillingness to help an integral sector that is still trying to recover from severe restrictions not of their own doing.

Walt Judas
CEO, TIABC


Wildfires Impact on BC's Tourism Industry

In an interview with The Globe and Mail this week, TIABC CEO Walt Judas stated that despite the current wildfire situation in our province, increased spending by BC tourists and their compatriots is expected to keep tourism revenue “pretty close to matching the $22.3-billion spent across the province in 2019, before the pandemic."

Read the full story HERE.

TIABC Responds to New Outdoor Recreation Strategy Project

TIABC CEO Walt Judas stated in an interview with Pique News Magazine earlier this week that developing a new Outdoor Recreation Strategy is important from many perspectives, and the process is an opportunity to ensure that tourism is a significant part of the strategy.

Read the full story HERE.
Finance Committee Releases Report on
Budget 2024 Consultation

The Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Service has released the Committee’s report on the Budget 2024 consultation has been released.

This year, the Committee’s consultation began on May 25th and concluded on June 16.th During the consultation, the Committee held public hearings in 11 communities across BC and received written submissions that included one from TIABC. The report provides a comprehensive summary of the priorities, concerns, and ideas shared by British Columbians as well as the Committee’s conclusions and 166 recommendations for the next provincial budget.

Note: TIABC was referenced on page 44 regarding our recommendation to retain MRDT for its original intended purpose - tourism marketing, projects, programs & affordable housing.

"Additionally, Tourism Industry Association of BC expressed concerns that some municipalities have looked to use a portion of their Municipal and Regional District Tax to fund infrastructure projects that are not related to supporting the visitor economy or local housing needs for tourism workers, thus, creating a real potential of jeopardizing multiyear marketing investments critical for tourism recovery. The association called on government to protect the integrity of Municipal and Regional District Tax for its original purpose."

TIABC is also referenced on page 81 following a request for emergency management funding for the regional tourism organizations:

"The Tourism Industry Association of BC cited that despite an increase in natural disasters, regional tourism organizations have decreased capacity for emergency management because of a lack of provincial funding. The organization suggested providing annual funding to the BC Regional Tourism Secretariat for this purpose."

Read the full report and recommendations in the link below.
New Report Sees A Slow Road to Recovery for Tourism Spending

According to various reports this year, the tourism sector has rapidly bounced back since the COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020, but that recovery is now starting to slow down, according to a new report by Toronto-Dominion Bank.

Highlights Include:

  • Canada’s tourism sector has bounced back briskly since the initial COVID-19 lockdowns. However, the pace of recovery is now easing as the sector faces headwinds from higher interest rates, a slowing jobs market, and broader cyclical slowdown in the US and abroad.
  • Inflation-adjusted tourism expenditures are unlikely to surpass pre-pandemic levels until 2025. Until then, more of this recovery is expected from foreign demand as international tourist counts have lagged a more robust rebound in domestic tourism.  
  • Despite labour challenges, British Columbia has performed relatively well, outpacing the national level recovery.

The report says "a full recovery for Canada’s tourism sector is expected, with some patience. In the meantime, the slow demand growth may allow the industry to overcome labour shortages and the Canadian dollar should provide an offset to these challenges by remaining relatively low over the next year,."
Impacts of Summer Drought on Fishing
As Prepared by the FFSBC

As we are all aware, summer 2023 is proving to be yet another record-breaker for hot weather conditions in the province. An unusually dry Spring and little recent rainfall has led to several areas already hitting Level 5 drought conditions – the highest level on the provincial scale, and a level at which adverse impacts to socioeconomic or ecosystem values are almost certain.

The Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC (FFSBC) is advising that recreational anglers can be proactive in taking additional steps to help protect fish as summer temperatures start to climb. When water temperatures are elevated, dissolved oxygen is less available and fish become physiologically stressed. The FFSBC has provided two key ways anglers can help reduce the stress load on fish:

  • Take extra care in minimizing air exposure, and avoid taking photos of fish to reduce handling. Check out this article on Best Practices for Handling & Releasing Your Catch
  • Be selective about when and where you fish. Fish early in morning and evening periods, when air temperatures are lower.

Read more about the impact of drought on fish, and what you can do to help, on the blog. Click the link below.
Tourism's Role in Water Conservation
An Excerpt from GreenStep | Shaylyn Robertson

"Regardless of how water restrictions come into effect (e.g. worsening drought, licensing requirements, water quality and contamination etc.), we all depend on it for survival, overall enjoyment and well-being, and for business operations." GreenStep Sustainable Tourism has developed some steps we can take in the immediate, medium, and long term to conserve our water resources and support the health of our watersheds:"

"The tourism industry has come a long way in developing risk, crisis, and emergency management frameworks to support operators, but we still have a long way to go. If you want to learn more about water in your community and improve your knowledge further in this area, here are a few more resources to help guide you:"

  • Become an advocate and ensure that water conservation is included and considered in risk, crisis, and emergency management frameworks, as a prevention measure to drought and other water risks, particularly for communities that are at high risk. 
  • Take the WWF Water Risk Assessment to address water risk and enhance business resilience. 
  • Expand your perception and understanding of water through the resource library of the Indigenous Climate Hub. Research what efforts are being made in your community that support Indigenous Traditional Knowledge in water management and overall ecosystem health.

Visit HERE to read the full blog. Learn more on how to take action both indoors, outdoors, as well as how to educate your guests and visitors.
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New Safety Bulletin | Preventing and Managing Wildlife Encounters

WorkSafeBC has released a safety bulletin about preventing and managing wildlife encounters. Outdoor workers operating at worksites such as remote lodges, campgrounds, parks, golf courses and hiking trails are more likely to encounter bears and other wild animals. When mismanaged, these dangerous encounters can lead to serious injuries. WorkSafeBC reminds employers they should ensure that procedures for encountering hazardous wildlife are included in their Health & Safety Program to best ensure worker safety.

Managers and supervisors also play an important role in providing a safe work environment, including:

  • Educating and training workers about working safely around bears and wildlife, such as how to avoid encounters and what to do if followed or attacked
  • Ensuring workers have effective protections such as two-way communication devices and a safe place to retreat
  • Ensuring there are adequate first aid and evacuation procedures for injured workers
  • Informing new and young workers about basic wildlife information and remembering that some workers (including those from other countries) may never have seen a bear in the wild before

For more detailed information and guidance regarding wildlife encounters, download the WorkSafeBC bulletin HERE.
Celebrate BC Day!

BC Day in Canada is the name for the first Monday in August when residents of British Columbia take the time to relax and celebrate.

The day is traditionally marked by parades, festivals and other public gatherings around the province, many of which are themed. We are fortunate the day does fall in the middle of the summer season and provides a chance to plan a long weekend and enjoy all our province has to offer.

  1. Attend a street fair or festival
  2. Learn more about the history of your region or community
  3. Explore a new part of your community or province
  4. Visit HelloBC for suggestions on where to go, and what to do when you arrive

Whether you are travelling outside your community or planning a staycation, there are plenty of festivities happening this weekend. TIABC wishes everyone a safe and most enjoyable BC Day and long weekend.
DBC Reminder | Stay Safe, Stay Informed This Weekend

Residents and travellers are strongly urged to plan ahead and remain vigilant this BC Day long weekend, with much of British Columbia experiencing elevated wildfire risk.

Warm summer temperatures combined with drought conditions throughout the province are increasing the potential for wildfires. People should follow all fire bans and restrictions and be prepared for wildfires by having an emergency plan and staying informed as conditions change.

Before travelling anywhere within the province, also check for road closures, evacuation alerts, evacuation orders and other prohibitions, such as BC Parks closures. Follow all instructions from local governments or First Nations, including evacuation alerts or evacuation orders.

Destination BC's emergency messaging guidance document outlines official emergency information resources for BC, as well as suggested messaging, visuals, and actions for BC’s tourism industry during emergencies. Additionally, there are a variety of resources available to help you prepare for emergencies, gather up-to-date information and help visitors plan their travel.

  • Learn more and access the resources HERE.
  • For the most up-to-date highway travel information, check DriveBC HERE.
Job Opportunities | Destination BC

Destination BC is hiring for two exciting positions:

  1. Coordinator, Destination Development
  2. Coordinator, Destination Stewardship

These roles provide information and advice to the tourism industry, communities, and other partners on Destination BC programs and activities in relation to destination development and/or stewardship.

Learn more about these opportunities and apply by August 7th HERE.
BC Hospitality Foundation Needs
Your Help!

The BC Hospitality Foundation (BCHF) annual flagship fundraising lottery has raised over $190,000 for the Foundation. Coming off the success of 2022, which was their first campaign since 2019, they are in the process of planning this year’s lottery with an ambitious goal of raising $100,000! In order to expand their reach, they have rebranded the lottery to Spirit of Hospitality Lottery, presented by the Hotel Association of Vancouver.

The BCHF is currently in the recruitment process, securing donated packages from hotels, restaurants, and tourism operators. The BCHF will be packaging up tourism activities/experiences, hotel, and restaurant packages to submit to BCLC by August 23rd to secure our license. We are asking to please consider a donation to this valuable cause. Contact Alana for further information and to submit your package.

The BCHF is the only hospitality worker-specific charity in North America and since its inception 17 years ago, has provided financial assistance helping over 293 people across the province with more than $1,175,000 in support. In 2023 alone, we have provided $79,000 in support.
Destination BC Welcomes New Board Members Bob Simpson and Brian Friesen

Destination BC announced this week the addition of two new members to their Board of Directors:

Bob Simpson, B.A.; B.Sc., is an independent consultant specializing in the areas of government relations and community economic development. He served two terms as Mayor of the City of Quesnel (2014-2022) and led the community through a highly successful rebranding initiative and the development of a community transition strategy which included an increased emphasis on amenities investments and tourism marking and promotion.

Brian Friesen is the Vice President, Trade Development & Real Estate, for the Prince Rupert Port Authority, the federal agency responsible for the overall planning, development and management of Canada’s third largest port. With a mandate to responsibly facilitate Canada’s trade at the Port of Prince Rupert, Brian leads a team that supports $60 billion in annual trade, $1.4 billion in economic activity in northern British Columbia and 3,700 direct jobs in port-related businesses.

Learn more about Destination BC’s Board of Directors HERE.
BC River Outfitters Association

The British Columbia River Outfitters Association (BCROA) is an organization dedicated to help guests find the best information on river rafting and connect you with trained and skilled river guides in British Columbia.

At BCROA, they are dedicated to:

  • Represent the interests of commercial river outfitters in discussions with government and other agencies.
  • Promote a high standard of safety and operations in the river outfitter industry.​
  • Initiate, organize and manage programs to improve the operations for outfitters.​
  • Promote commercial river rafting as a safe, healthy, and fun activity for individuals, families, and friends.

Learn more about the BC River Outfitters Association HERE.
Your Membership is Important to Us!

We strongly encourage you to consider membership or renew your membership with TIABC to support our important advocacy efforts on behalf of the entire visitor economy.

TIABC continues to identify your concerns, raise your voice, champion your needs, and push for support and programs while encouraging policy changes at both the provincial and federal level.

Contact info@tiabc.ca for more information, visit our website HERE or the link below.
TIAC's Associate Program Now Available to TIABC Members

The Tourism Industry Association of BC (TIABC) and the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) are pleased to offer TIABC members an opportunity to extend their membership. Effective now, TIABC members in good standing can enrol in TIAC’s Associate Program FOR ONLY $25.

TIAC is the national voice for the travel and tourism sector and acts on behalf of Canadian tourism businesses promoting and supporting policies, programs, and activities that will benefit the sector’s growth, development, and prosperity.

By visiting this link, you can become a TIAC Associate Member, enjoy access to a range of TIAC benefits and add your voice to National efforts.

Note: If you are already a TIAC associate member, you will receive a renewal notice before your anniversary date. If you are currently a full TIAC member, you already get enhanced advantages. You will continue to enjoy added benefits and savings over and above what is available to associate members, including the TIAC Member Advantage program at Rendez-vous Canada.

Contact info@tiabc.ca for more information or visit our website HERE.
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Safer Spaces: Empowering Your Workplace in the Tourism & Hospitality Industry

Join the BC Hotel Association and host go2HR’s Cindy Conti, Regional HR Consultant for Vancouver, Coast, and Mountains, to explore how you and your organization can create Safer Spaces in the tourism and hospitality industry.
Date: August 16
Time: 1:00 pm (PT) / Virtual

go2HR will be providing an informative, hands-on workshop on how to operationalize Safer Spaces sexual harassment training within your workplace.
Learn more and register HERE.
BCHA Launches Next Chapter in Fast Track Your Future Series

The BC Hotel Association (BCHA) Fast Track Your Future Education Series is back. Register for five exciting and condensed six-week courses that will transform your team. Mark your calendar every Wednesday at 11am PST (12pm MST) for practical knowledge and guidance LIVE from the industry's leading experts and trainers.

  • Leadership & Best Practices in Housekeeping Sponsored by Eden Textile (September 13-October 18)
  • Human Resources Leadership & Best Practices (October 25-November 29)
  • Financial Leadership (January 10-February 14)
  • Property Operations & Maintenance (February 21-March 27)
  • Leadership for Hospitality Professionals (April 3-May 8)

Learn more and register HERE.
BCHF Golf Tournament

Victoria 9th Annual Tournament
August 23 - Olympic View

If you want to become a sponsor, contact Samantha at samantha@sasparilla.ca our Event Manager or Mike Macleod, Golf Committee Chair at mike@bcha.com

Thompson Okanagan Tourism
Golf Tournament

The 30th Annual Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA) Golf Tournament will be hosted at Bighorn Golf & Country Club in Kamloops.

Date: Thursday, August 24

The event comes with a full day of food, drink, and fun and is a fundraiser to create bursaries to support tourism students from Thompson Rivers University, University of BC Okanagan, and Okanagan College.

Learn More & Register HERE.

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Abbotsford International Airshow

The Abbotsford International Airshow has grown to become one of the Fraser Valley’s largest and most exciting annual events.

Dates: Aug. 11, 12 & 13
Location: Abbotsford International Airport

Early Bird Tickets on Sale Now! Early Bird ticket access is EXCLUSIVE to Airshow Insiders.
Learn more about the event performers and event attractions HERE.
Wine Grower's BC | AGM

The official First Call for Nominations has been sent out to WGBC full members with available Board of Director positions to be elected/acclaimed by those members present and in good standing at our Annual General Meeting.

Date: September 6 (Virtual)

Wine Growers BC encourages all eligible Full Winery Members in good standing to consider soliciting nominations from their same Winery Category for the position of a Board Director. Request your nomination package HERE.

A reminder that during the AGM, all Full Winery Members will have the opportunity to vote for each director for which there is an election required.

Register for the AGM HERE.
Northern BC Tourism Summit

The Northern BC Tourism Association will be holding their annual Summit, and you are encouraged to mark your calendar.

The Road Forward is the theme for the 2023 Summit. The sector has taken continual hits from natural disasters and global pandemics to economic pressures and this year is our opportunity to come back together and plot the road forward together.

Date: October 11-13
Location: Ramada Hotel, 444 George Street, Prince George

Learn more and register HERE.
BC Hotel & Liquor Conference

The highly anticipated second annual SPARK BC Hotel and Liquor Conference is back!

BC’s Alliance of Beverage Licensees (ABLE BC) and the British Columbia Hotel Association (BCHA) are joining forces once again to bring together industry experts in hospitality, liquor retail, and accommodation.

This event offers an unparalleled opportunity for liquor and hospitality businesses across BC to network with like-minded professionals, connect with industry leaders, and gain valuable insights from informative sessions and speakers.

Date: October 16 & 17
Location: Anvil Centre, New Westminster

Learn more HERE.
BC Restaurant Hall of Fame 2023

The BCRFA BC Restaurant Hall of Fame is returning. The BC dining scene is recognized across the country as industry and trend leading.

The highlight of the evening is the 2023 BC Restaurant Hall of Fame awards presentation. This year’s inductees will join the almost 100 individuals whose contributions have been forever commemorated in the BC Restaurant Hall of Fame to date.

Date: October 23
Location: Italian Culture Centre, Vancouver

Tickets to attend the Inductee Evening are now on sale and are available HERE.
Business Distinction Awards - 2023

Greater Vancouver Board of Trade is pleased to be hosting the second annual Business Distinction Awards.

Date: October 25
Location: Pinnacle Hotel Harbourfront, Vancouver

These awards recognize businesses that have gone above and beyond to set themselves apart in the Greater Vancouver region in the areas of growth, employee engagement, community impact, sustainability and more.

Winners will be announced and celebrated at this event in front of colleagues, families and friends.

Learn more and register HERE.
Kootenay Rockies Tourism Association
AGM | Save the Date

The Kootenay Rockies Tourism Association will be holding it's 46th Annual General Meeting & Industry Conference. You are encouraged to mark your calendar.

Date: November 1-2
Location: Copper Point Resort - Invermere

Details to follow in the months ahead!
Boating BC 2023 Conference

Be sure to save the date for Boating BC’s 2023 conference. There will be world class speakers, great discussions and amazing entertainment at the Cascades Casino.

Marina night will be on November 20th. Please mark the dates in your calendar - more information to be shared soon.

Date: November 21-22
Location: Delta Hotels by Marriott, 6055 Highway 17A, Delta

2024 Tourism Industry Conference

Planning for the 2024 Tourism Industry Conference has already begun, and you are encouraged to "Save the Date" for this must attend conference. The conference will be held at the Victoria Conference Centre, March 6 & 7, 2024.

Stay tuned for updates on workshops, speakers, sponsor opportunities, daily activities, awards, as well as schedule and accommodation.

We look forward to seeing you in Victoria next year!

2024 BC Chamber of Commerce AGM

Join us and explore this vibrant, diverse and naturally beautiful city located on the traditional, ancestral, unceded territory of the Syilx/Okanagan people.

Date: May 28 - 30, 2024
Location: Coast Capri, 1171 Harvey Ave., Kelowna, BC
Thank-you for your readership! We encourage you to send us your ideas or content that would be valuable for TIABC to share through our Bulletin.
Drop us a line at info@tiabc.ca.
TIABC recognizes that our members, stakeholders and staff occupy the ceded, unceded and traditional territories of Indigenous Nations across British Columbia. We sincerely appreciate the opportunity to live, work and play on the lands that our Indigenous friends and First Nations ancestors honour and care for.