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Apr 28, 2023

TIABC Voice of Tourism Newsletter – April 21, 2023



Trying to out-bike a train to an unsecured crossing is clearly not very smart. But once in a while I dip into my reserves and peddle like mad to cross the tracks ahead of a long coal or cargo train to avoid waiting forever before being able to continue on my ride.

Although I’m used to seeing, feeling and hearing trains meandering their way to Delta’s Roberts Bank every day, I rarely ponder the purpose or final destination for the hundreds of containers or commodities being shipped to countries all over the world. But perhaps I should considering the implications on the tourism industry.

During a meeting with a professional colleague from the Mining Association of BC this week to discuss areas of mutual concern and interest, I learned that in the quest to move toward clean energy technologies and infrastructure to tackle climate change, enormous amounts of critical minerals and metals found in BC are essential for the desired energy transition including aluminum, antimony, bismuth, germanium, indium, lead, molybdenum, tellurium, and zinc.

While I’m not very familiar with many these materials or their uses, I do know that copper is essential for electric vehicles, silver for solar panels, and steelmaking coal for infrastructure like wind turbines…all of which BC either leads in producing or is close to the top producer in Canada.

Because of the increasing focus on clean technology and the need for both rare and common minerals around the world, the mining sector is growing in British Columbia. Multiple mines are looking to expand operations while several new sites are being explored for the aforementioned materials to help meet climate action targets, among other obvious reasons.

Here’s where the connection to the visitor economy plays out. Notwithstanding that clean energy transition and climate action are so important to both the tourism and mining industry’s future, mining explorers, developers and operators also require access to crown land and water to conduct business. However, joint land use amongst various interests (i.e. tourism, mining, forestry, recreation) is seldom compatible these days and has increasingly led to friction.

I’ve recently become aware of incidents whereby a resource company has staked out a tract of land for exploration and possible development, unbeknownst to a tourism operator that already owns a permit or tenure on the same parcel. What’s more, these resource companies appear to be unaware or have little regard for the operator and the tourism values on the land and have neglected to consult or communicate with the original (tourism) tenure holder. To top it off, government officials have declined to get involved and instead suggested that the two sides sort it out themselves. The question is how, especially if only one side appears willing (to be fair I’ve only heard one side of the story thus far)?

For the record, most tourism operators are not anti-mining, nor is our industry at-large casting aspersions against explorers or developers. Our industry is only asking to be heard and to respect current land use and tenures in the type of situation I described above.

Thankfully all is not lost though. TIABC’s member – Guide Outfitters Association of BC – recently uncovered a three-way Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Council of Tourism Associations (now TIABC), the Mining Association of BC, and the BC & Yukon Chamber of Mines (now Association of Mineral Explorers – AME BC) that was signed nearly 20 years ago to create an atmosphere of business certainty and investment confidence regarding access to land and land use as it pertains to relations between tourism, mineral exploration and mining.

Although TIABC was unsuccessful in attempting to update and renew the original MOU in 2016, the previous agreement and core tenets remain solid and provide a foundation on which to build or rebuild a relationship to allow our respective sectors to prosper in the spirit of mutual recognition, respect, education, open dialogue and cooperation. Fortunately there appears to be a willingness by all parties to move forward under the guise of the existing MOU or through a new pact to help resolve some of the issues I alluded to earlier. Stay tuned.

Now that I’m a bit better educated on the mining sector, during my ride earlier this week I decided to pause and let a super long train pass to ponder where the goods and materials might be shipped to and for what purpose. Truth be told, the other reason I stopped was because I didn’t have any reserves in the tank to beat the lead locomotive to the railway crossing. So instead I enjoyed a quick nap to the rumbling sound of a train as the earth vibrated underneath my tired body.

Walt Judas,

Related Posts

TIABC CEO Walt Judas joined Indigenous Tourism BC's Jamie Bourne and TOTA's Robb MacDonald on a panel to discuss sustainability at Tourism Valemount's Celebration of Tourism event over the Victoria Day long weekend. 

Moderated by Valemount Mayor Owen Torgerson, the session also included Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond, Simpcw Chief George Lampreau and Tourism Valemount Executive Director Marcie Down. On Sunday, the group toured popular tourism attractions in the area and also participated in the community's annual Chinook salmon fry release into Swift Creek.
🏒 Even though the Canucks failed to advance past the second round, home playoff games were a good boost for local bars, restaurants, transportation companies and other sectors within Vancouver’s visitor economy.  TIABC CEO Walt Judas was on hand for game 7 against the Oilers along with Air Canada’s Serge Corbeil and Greater Vancouver Board of Trade CEO Bridgitte Anderson.
Five years ago, China was BC's second largest international market.  However, overnight visitation from China was down 64% in 2023 compared with 2019, largely due to the absence of group tour business.  At the Rendez-vous Canada event this week in Edmonton, BC tourism industry leaders met with Minister Counsellor Li Jiangang of the Chinese Embassy (Ottawa) to begin discussions on a path forward to regain approved destination status for group tour business and ultimately see visitors numbers from China return to pre-pandemic levels. 

Pictured L to R - Destination Vancouver's Karen Soyka, TIABC's Walt Judas, Counsellor Li, Indigenous Tourism BC's Paula Amos, Destination BC's Richard Porges.
WORTH (Women of Recreation, Tourism & Hospitality) hosted its first Leadership Summit in downtown Vancouver, attracting some 250 delegates, including TIABC CEO Walt Judas, that attended sessions on industry burnout, dismantling barriers to gender equity, leadership and other topics. Walt had the pleasure of introducing Tourism Minister Lana Popham who acknowledged a number of women leaders who are making a difference in BC's visitor economy.

📸: @visioneventphotography
📬 Postcards from BC!

"Wish you were here" from Beach Tofino, courtesy of Dave Butler, VP/Sustainability CMH Heli-Skiing & Summer Adventures. 📸

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Sustainability and Partnerships Forum 🤝 💚 

Don't miss out on May 18, an engaging lineup featuring a dynamic panel of tourism experts and an insightful presentation on content creation! 

The event will be hosted at the Eagle Room, Best Western Valemount. Doors open at 5 pm, and the festivities will run from 6-9 pm. Enjoy tasty canapés provided by Tourism Valemount and refreshments at a cash bar. 🍽🥂

RSVP by May 14 to secure your spot! 🎟️
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