February 23, 2024

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35 years ago, I made the decision to leave broadcast journalism to enter the corporate world in a communications capacity. I’ve never looked back but occasionally people ask me if I regret leaving the media business. The short answer is no, although if I could have parlayed my brief radio stint into a career as a late-night talk show host, I might still be behind a microphone today.

That said, it’s amazing how things come full circle…or at least partially full circle. With the advent of podcasting, many wanna-be talk show hosts like me get to interview subject matter experts from around the world as part of our day jobs.

As you may know, since the start of 2023, I’ve set up a giant Yeti mic in front of my computer screen and interviewed 20 tourism industry leaders representing private businesses, DMOs and sector associations for TIABC’s Voice of Tourism podcast series. Although the podcasts are delivered in audio only, each is recorded via video as well so that I can look guests in the eye as we’re conversing. The experience has been both educational and fun.

The podcasts are somewhat scripted. I generally prepare questions in advance and follow an outline unless or until guests say something intriguing that leads our conversation down a different path. To this point, I’ve only been asked to edit one comment where the guest felt her remark would be misconstrued.

Similarly, for a number of years I’ve had a chance to moderate sessions with special guests at various conferences. Again, my hidden talk show host persona is exposed to the audience albeit with the added responsibility of fielding ‘live’ questions from attendees. Most recently, I moderated a panel discussion at the Impact Travel and Tourism Sustainability Conference.

In less than two weeks, I’ll be switching on my talk show voice again at the BC Tourism Industry Conference to facilitate Q&As with Premier David Eby, federal Tourism Minister Soraya Martinez Ferrada, as well as the executive team from Destination BC. While many of the questions will come from delegates via Slido, I’ve prepared a backup list on a variety of issues.

For Premier Eby, I aim to explore topics ranging from sustainability, public safety and housing, to workforce, the value of tourism to government, the BC budget, and the latest developments regarding Land Act amendments, among other issues the province is grappling with. At the same time, questions by delegates could steer our discussion in a completely different direction…which I suspect would make the entire experience more challenging and interesting for both of us.

As a former lawyer turned political leader, it’s a forum Premier Eby prefers. I’m counting on attendees to influence the content for all three sessions where I have the privilege of playing 'talk show' host.

Whenever I have the opportunity to watch a late-night talk show (which is not often because I’m usually sleeping) I try to pay close attention to the host to learn new interview techniques or better ways to manage guests. Same goes for podcasts or radio talk shows that I listen to. I don’t necessarily model myself after anyone in particular but I do attempt to emulate best practices and have fun when I’m behind the microphone instead of in front of it…which is a whole other discipline that I’d rather leave to others if I could.

Walt Judas


Proposed Land Act Amendments Suspended

Government's plans to amend the Land Act were abruptly suspended earlier this week pending further consultation. The legislative changes were outlined as a step toward enacting the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (DRIPA) and would have shared decision-making authority about management of Crown land with First Nations. 

Nathan Cullen, Minister of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship, issued a statement about proposed amendments to the Land Act. Here is an excerpt:

“Throughout these conversations, the vast majority have told us they want reconciliation to work and they want to be partners in this work to create opportunity for First Nations, businesses and all communities through working together.

“I’ve also heard that we need to take the time to further engage with people and demonstrate the real benefits of shared decision-making in action. We want to get this right and move forward together.

“For that reason, our government has decided not to proceed with proposed amendments to the Land Act".

The Adventure Tourism Coalition, which is made up of 18 sector associations including TIABC, supports government's decision to suspend the amendments for now to allow for more consultation with stakeholder groups and the public in the months ahead before new legislation and accompanying regulations are introduced.

Read the full statement from Minister Cullen HERE.

TIABC Releases 2023 Advocacy Report Card

TIABC is pleased to release its 2023 Advocacy Report Card, which details the advocacy efforts and achievements of the organization from January to December.

As noted by CEO Walt Judas in this report, "For the most part, the broader tourism industry fared well in 2023 but some regions and sub-sectors struggled. Suffice it to say, there is much more work to do to help the BC visitor economy become more resilient, reach its full capacity, and thrive once again".

TIABC's annual Advocacy Report Card provides a brief snapshot of the work we did on behalf of our members and stakeholders in 2023. It also provides a synopsis of some of the organization’s key initiatives to ensure that we’re transparent and accountable to our constituents for the objectives we set out to achieve.

We invite you to read our report and connect with us at any time at info@tiabc.ca for questions, comments or recommendations on TIABC’s direction or priorities, as well as any other issues affecting your business.

Read the 2023 TIABC Advocacy Report Card

Restaurants Canada Cites Challenges for the Industry After Record-breaking Bankruptcies

As reported by Restaurants Canada this week, the restaurant industry is preparing for a tough first half of 2024. The update reports the national economy’s performance in the second half of 2023 will spill over into the first months of 2024 with minimal growth expected, leaving restaurants to navigate uncertain times and monumental economic challenges.

New data from Restaurants Canada reports: 62% of restaurants are operating at a loss or barely breaking even – up 9% from July 2023 when it stood at 53%. This is compared to 10% pre-pandemic. This alarming statistic underscores the immense pressure on the industry. It also leads to a notable upsurge in closures in 2023, with bankruptcies up 44% – the highest annual figure in a decade.

One of the main factors driving this difficult environment is weak sales, which are expected to persist in winter/spring of 2024. Disposable income is a critical factor influencing foodservice sales, as customers tend to dine out more frequently when they have greater financial flexibility.

Read more HERE.

go2HR Releases January 2024

Labour Market Information

According to go2HR's Employment Tracker, employment in BC's Tourism and Hospitality sector decreased compared to the previous month, indicating ongoing challenges post-COVID-19.

While some regions of the province experienced slight increases, overall employment in January 2024 remained lower than pre-pandemic levels, with 15,250 fewer jobs than in January 2019. Despite efforts to recover, leading occupations still show lower employment rates compared to pre-COVID levels.


Here are a few key highlights: 


Employment Trends:

  • Overall, employment in BC's Tourism and Hospitality sector decreased by 3.7% in January 2024 compared to December 2023, with a total of 331,500 jobs.


Regional Dynamics:

  • Despite some regional variations, most regions experienced a decline in employment, with only the Cariboo, Northern BC, and Thompson Okanagan regions seeing increases month over month.


Unemployment Rates:

  • The unemployment rate increased to 4.9% in January 2024, surpassing pre-COVID levels, with variations among sectors and regions.

Visit go2HR's Employment Tracker HERE for updated monthly reports and the most current tourism and hospitality industry data.

go2HR Introduces New Resources on Website

Injury Management & Claims Management

go2HR has also announced there are now Injury and Claims Management pages included on their website. These valuable resources are specifically aimed for the tourism and hospitality industry.

Employers now have additional access to learn about their roles and responsibilities when supporting an injured worker, as well as understand modified and alternate duties to get injured workers back on their feet.

Learn more HERE.

Update on Recommended Priorities

for Tourism

Last month, federal all-party Tourism Caucus Co-Chair Blake Richards reached out to Canada's tourism sector to provide thoughts and suggestions on the issues facing the industry in preparation for the release of the upcoming federal budget.

According to Richards, there was a great response and it was made clear that the tourism industry is expecting specific and targeted action from the upcoming 2024 federal budget to assist a tourism sector that was disadvantaged by, and still recovering from, COVID restrictions that closed industry attractions, tours, hotels, and other services. The following is an excerpt from this week's update:

"Highlights of the responses include measures to address the processing delays and red tape that prevent the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) from adequately serving industries, such as tourism, with surge periods. The Hotel Association of Canada (HAC), indicated that this past summer 72% of hotels reported TFW delays, which impacted staffing logistics and service provision for member businesses.

Other ideas for the budget included among the responses were:

  • The creation of a tourism-specific tax credit for Canadians that would encourage domestic travel.
  • Creation of a recovery fund to support businesses in the industry, including those that have been unable to access other government support programs.
  • Renewed funding focus for Destination Canada and for Canada's Regional Development Agencies.
  • Enhancements of airport infrastructure and a reduction in the cost structure for airports and airlines to help bring down the cost of travel".

Among many other ideas were general calls for greater focus on tourism infrastructure, including accommodations, lower aviation taxes & fees, and improved processing times for both visitor and work visas. These were identified as being key to Canada’s international competitiveness and economic growth.

Changes Made to Cannabis Consumption

on Patios

To support the legal cannabis industry in the province, the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch (LCRB) is making gradual changes to improve hospitality and tourism opportunities for the cannabis industry.

With changes to the Cannabis Control Regulation, licensees are able to promote a place to consume cannabis or to spend time after consuming cannabis. 

Additionally, smoking and vaping cannabis on public patios is now permitted where smoking and vaping tobacco are already allowed, subject to local or Indigenous government bylaws and other rules. 

If you plan to allow customers to smoke or vape cannabis on your pub, bar, or restaurant patio, we encourage you to review your municipality’s bylaws on smoking and vaping tobacco. Local governments, Indigenous nations, and police agencies are notified of these changes. If local authorities in your area have not heard about these changes, you can direct them to this website or email cannabisregs@gov.bc.ca

Learn more from Bulletin 24-01: Promoting cannabis-friendly spaces and consuming cannabis on public patios HERE.

Some 400-500 tourism industry leaders from businesses and sector associations, regional and community destination management/marketing organizations, First Nations, provincial/municipal governments, and non-government organizations will gather for discussions around the conference theme - 'Shaping Our Future Together'.

Register Here Today!

An Outstanding Program You Don't Want to Miss!

With both a 'knowledge and skills' track for workshops, delegates will not only be informed but able to apply their learnings within their own professional settings. Our goal is that in partnership, all elements of British Columbia's tourism industry will align to help the sector meet the challenges ahead but also create an environment to build back better than ever.

We’re very excited to offer a stellar lineup of plenary and breakout sessions and we hope you are too. Don't miss out!

Learn more about the conference program including the agenda, speakers, opportunities for sponsorship and silent auction prizes, and more in the link below.

View the Conference Program HERE

Tickets Still Available for BC Tourism Industry Gala Awards

The 2024 Industry Awards demonstrate a standard of excellence for operators and employees in the industry, showcasing the province’s best products, services, experiences, and people. The BC Tourism Industry Awards will be handed out at the Awards Gala evening on Thursday, March 7th. Purchase tickets HERE.  

In Memoriam

We want to ensure that we honour all of those who have passed since the start of last year in a respectful and meaningful way, so we're asking for your help to ensure that each of our industry friends is included.

Please visit HERE for submission instructions. 


Silent Auction Donations Still Needed

Please consider donating a silent auction item to help support the confrence and TIABC's advocacy work.

If you are able to donate an item, please fill out THIS ONLINE FORM. Auction bidding will be available to in-person conference attendees only.

If you have any questions, or wish to learn more, please contact us at: info@bctourismconference.ca

Premier David Eby

For the first time in more than 12 years, a BC premier will speak to delegates at the conference.

Premier David Eby will take centre stage to offer remarks during a plenary session, followed by a Q&A period with TIABC CEO Walt Judas.

Minister Martinez Ferrado

Hon. Soraya Martinez Ferrada

The Hon. Soraya Martinez Ferrada, Minister of Tourism and Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, will attend and speak to delegates at this year's BC Tourism Industry Conference. She will also participate in one of the workshops.

Learn More HERE

Note - TIABC has not partnered with any company to release a conference delegate list. If you receive an email regarding such a list, please consider it spam.

TIABC Members Nominated for North America's

Responsible Tourism Award

The nominees for the 31st Annual World Travel Awards have been announced, and congratulations go to TIABC members Destination Vancouver, Indigenous Tourism BC (ITBC) and Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA) for being nominated for the North America's Responsible Tourism Award!

The voting window is now open and will close March 31st. Click on THIS LINK to register and cast your vote today! 

Free BC Golf Guides Available to Plan Your

Golf Vacation

For the avid golfer - free BC Golf Guides are always available for details on the best courses in each region. You'll find course details, accommodation options, the finest golf resorts and a wealth of insider information on the best things to see and do when not on the course.

If you don't find what you are looking for in THIS LINK, call or drop a line at 1-866-356-6558 or email reservations@golfinbritishcolumbia.com

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REO Rafting, Glamping & Yoga Retreat

REO was created by Bryan Fogelman who started rafting on the Nahatlatch river in 1982. He pursued his dreams and built an eco- adventure lifestyle resort right at the river's edge above the rapids.

Along with their world-renowned rafting experience, guided activities include canyon hikes, archery, outdoor yoga, and cliff jumping.This wilderness retreat is located along the beautiful Nahatlatch River, in BC's Gold Country.

Learn more about REO Resort HERE.

Would you like to be featured in our weekly Voice of Tourism, social channels or on our website? TIABC member testimonials provide visibility and exposure to the tourism industry and a wider audience for your business. If you want to be featured in an upcoming TIABC Voice of Tourism and other platforms, contact Deborah - deborah@tiabc.ca

Become a Member in 2024

Your Membership is Important to Us!

We strongly encourage you to consider membership or renew your membership with TIABC in 2024 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.

Join TIABC Here Today!

TIAC's Associate Program for TIABC Members

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

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.

Learn more about the Associate Benefits Program HERE
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VCC Foundation Presents FLOURISH

Flourish presented by RBC is a tasting event full of food, wine, and music, hosted by the Vancouver Community College Foundation. This memorable and engaging evening showcases tasty creations by Vancouver’s leading culinary minds.

This annual event is to raise funds to help VCC students flourish.

Date: Tues. February 27

Time: 7pm - 11pm

Location: 1120 E. 7th Ave., Vancouver 

To learn more and to purchase tickets, visit HERE.

tourism week

National Tourism Week 2024 

April 15-19

Now in its 14th year, National Tourism Week (NTW) is a weeklong national social media campaign orchestrated by the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) in partnership with provincial/territorial industry associations such as TIABC. This annual event is a crucial platform for highlighting the pivotal role of tourism in Canada.

TIAC and TIABC are enthusiastically inviting everyone to partake in celebrating the nation's finest offerings to the world under the inspiring banner: Canada: Powered by Tourism

There are four easy ways to get involved; Go Green, Get Social, Share a Video Message, and Spread the Word.

The NTW website provides useful toolkits, which includes suggestions on how to do the video, how operators and organizations can get involved, and a valuable factsheet to readily use.

It's time to start planning, to celebrate tourism in our province. 

Stay tuned to TIABC for 2024 Tourism Week in British Columbia toolkit and resources.

National Tourism Week Website
art of leadership

Art of Leadership for Women Returns

to Vancouver

The Art of Leadership Women is returning to Vancouver! This year's conference features a riveting collection of renowned world leaders, business icons, esteemed academics, and bestselling authors who share strategies and insights on the most critical issues confronting leaders in our world today. Don't miss this unique opportunity to develop your leaders, engage your talent, and build high-performing teams.

Date: June 24

Time: 8:30 am - 4:30 pm

Location: Vancouver Convention Centre

Register by March 1st using promo code EBLW41 and save $100 per pass.

Learn more and register HERE.

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Syéx̱w Chó:leqw Adventure Park Delivers a Powerful Cultural Experience

Lighting the Path is a unique interactive outdoor light experience. Prepare your senses as you walk an immersive outdoor path honouring residential school survivors in teachings, story and language. 

tocated at Syéx̱w Chó:leqw Adventure Park in Hope, The mesmerizing lights move through historical grief and pain, to hope and laughter, sharing the experience of Indigenous children today who are raised by their parents with no worry of being taken away. This cultural journey is appropriate for viewers of all ages.

Date: February 24

Limited tickets available. Visit HERE for more details and to book tickets.

International Indigenous

Tourism Conference

The 2024 Indigenous International Tourism Conference (IITC) is on the horizon!

IITC is a gathering of industry professionals, community leaders, entrepreneurs, and partners dedicated to promoting and celebrating the vibrant world of Indigenous tourism. The purpose is to showcase the diverse cultures, traditions, and tourism experiences offered by Indigenous communities in Canada and beyond.

But here's the catch – it's time to seize the moment and grab your Super Early Bird tickets before they're gone!

Date: February 26-28

Location: Ottawa, Ontario

Registration is NOW OPEN - Visit HERE for more information.

Fernie's Biggest Winter Festival

A weekend long festival fun for all ages, with live entertainment, all new lumberjack show, the Extreme Griz competition, Griz Parade, fireworks, bed races, hot wing eating conpetition and so much more!

Dates: March 1-3

Learn more about the weekend activities HERE.

Western Community College

Job Fair

Are you looking for candidates in hospitality, healthcare or business? Join Western Community College in partnership with PICS for a Mega Job Fair with 120+ other employers.

Date: March 13

Location: 12350 Pattullo Place, Surrey

Time: 11:00 am - 4:00 pm

Explore your future by scanning the QR code.


Spring Break Learn to Fish Programs

Looking for an activity to do with the kids this spring break? Join us for a Learn to Fish program in Coquitlam. Register via the links below with the City of Coquitlam.


BC Hotel Association Summit

Registration is now open for the 2024 BCHA Summit Conference.

Date: May 1-2

Location: Fairmont Chateau Whistler

Join the BCHA to network with leaders, owners, operators, vendors, and tech partners. Featuring provincial and federal advocacy, in-person Fast Track Your Future education series, dynamic opening and closing keynote speakers, plus many more speakers, session, and panels!

Learn more and register HERE.

2024 BC Mountain Bike Symposium

Mountain Biking BC has announces the next symposium to be held will be at the Naramata Centre in the South Okanagan. The theme chosen for the symposium is “Stewardship; Creating a Culture of Care”. Stewardship can be applied to many aspects of mountain biking from the responsible management of trails to the effective leadership of our organizations and to the way we promote and market the experience to riders. 

Date: May 1-3

The venue is just 15 kilometers north of Penticton on the east side of Okanagan Lake and has many great riding options to offer including the extensive Three Blind Mice trail network and the Kettle Valley Rail Trail that connects Naramata and Penticton along the scenic Naramata Bench.

Registration is now available HERE.

Pig Out Festival

Buy tickets now for Pig Out Festival Weekend in the heart of Oliver Osoyoos Wine Country.

Date: Saturday, May 4

A colourful "Fiesta" celebration of the diverse food and culture of the South Okanagan, this popular one-day event returns to its original spring dates, in an exciting new location.

Gather with friends and savour the start of the sunshine season with one of the biggest and best outdoor culinary festivals in the Okanagan Valley.

Learn more and purchase tickets HERE.


2024 BC Economic Summit

Transforming Industries, Empowering Communities

With the theme "Transforming Industries, Empowering Communities," the 2024 BC Economic Summit will be delivering this highly anticipated annual event, dedicated to fostering collaboration and growth among Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities alike, and to focusing on local industries and empowering communities to achieve success.

Date: May 6-9

Location: Penticton

The BC Economic Summit serves as a dynamic platform that brings together a diverse range of thought leaders, experts, and innovators from within and outside British Columbia. It offers an unparalleled opportunity to explore the latest economic development trends, strategies, and success stories that are reshaping industries and creating positive change in communities.

Learn more and register HERE.

Save the Date | WORTH Leadership Summit

This Spring, women-identifying leaders and their allies in recreation, tourism, and hospitality will come together for a full-day industry event. Top voices in the sector will share inspiring ideas to spark dialogue about issues that impact women in the workplace. Their perspectives will inform, ignite, and empower to collectively identify ways to retain and develop women in the industry. This event will connect a community of leaders to expand their network and create meaningful relationships.

Date: May 13

Location: Fairmont Waterfront Vancouver Hotel

Tickets go on sale soon! For sponsorship details, please get in touch with summit@worthassociation.com or view HERE.

camping week

2024 Canadian RVing and Camping Week

The Canadian RVing and Camping Week is designed to encourage Canadians and international visitors to get outside to enjoy a fun, safe and secure camping experience with family and friends.  

Dates: May 21-26

The week is organized and sponsored by the Canadian Camping and RV Council and supported by the BC Lodging and Campgrounds Association to:

  • Promote the lifestyle associated with camping and RVing.
  • Promote good behaviour and respect via the Camper’s Code
  • Raise funds for Care Camps to send children with cancer to camp.

Be part of the program and sign up HERE.

bc aviation

Save the Date

2024 Annual Conference | BCAC's "Soaring Above Challenges"

The BC Aviation Council (BCAC) is excited to announce that the 2024 Conference is now scheduled! Mark your calendar now and check in with our draft event webpage closer to the date for more details including agenda, speaker profiles, sponsorship opportunities, activities (including add-ons), travel and hotel partners, and more.

Date: May 27-29

Location: Nanaimo

View the draft event agenda HERE.

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

Location: Coast Capri, 1171 Harvey Ave., Kelowna

2024 CanSPEP National Conference Registration

Join event entrepreneurs at CanSPEP featuring immersive programs, networking and awards in Victoria, BC.

Dates: June 25 - 28th

Early registration is now open until May 3, 2024. Learn more and register HERE.

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.