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Apr 5, 2024

TIABC Voice of Tourism Newsletter – April 5, 2024


A Way Forward

It has been a tough new year for you. If you own a vineyard or winery it has been tough. If you are a manager or a leader you have had it tough. You may be a cellar worker, a maintenance lead, a wine club manager, pruner, shipper, CFO, accounts payable, restaurant manager, or a dishwasher, you have had it tough. Maybe you used to be one of those people but have been let go. For sure this has been tough.

Stress is layered on. The wine and grape industry has been under stress for many years and for many reasons. The next event gets added to the last one. And don’t fool yourself, you create your own stress as well. It doesn’t all come from external factors. It’s like a bathroom sink. Put a stopper in the drain and every time water is added to the bowl, the level rises a bit more. Layers. Higher levels. A new watermark for stress. At some point, with the stopper firmly in place, the sink overflows. In my space I often talk to you when the sink overflows. I see stress from the people at the top cascade downward to people below them, and from them it flows to people below them. Then to people tangential to you. Eventually it spills onto the consumers as well. We’re drowning in stress with everyone doing much, much, more…for less.

I believe this industry has the power right now to pull the drain plug, to begin to drain the stress little by little so that it does not cascade onto good people around you. It does not take money (although that would be nice). It doesn’t take regulation changes (although those, too, would be nice). It doesn’t take a saviour or good luck or insider information. It doesn’t even take more hard work.

To remove the layers of stress you must try something different. Think about people around you. Not necessarily the ones you always turn to but those that you often do not. Start close by. Your spouse. Your owner. Your board. Your investors. Talk to them. Talk especially to the ones you have avoided speaking to in the past. Share your frustrations and fears, your crazy solutions and failures.

Move on to those who work around you. Co-workers. Your manager. Your supervisor. Talk to them. Especially talk to the ones you avoid for whatever reason. Talk to the difficult ones. Tell them things they may not know about you. What you’re struggling with. Ask them how you can support them, not the other way around. Ask for their solution ideas. Give them some of your solution ideas.

Move on to your neighbours. Not the ones you always talk to but the ones you drive past and never, ever have spoken to in 10 years living near them. Knock on their door with a bottle of wine and start listening. Start sharing. Better yet, get off your beautiful bench and drive for 12 minutes. For 20 minutes. For 37 minutes. Knock on someone’s door you have always wanted to speak with but only see them once a year at an industry conference. Tell them what you’re struggling with and ask them if they are experiencing the same. When they have a different issue, listen. You may face that, too, in the future.

Get out of your industry. Introduce yourself to that local organization that supports tourism, supports mental health, supports financial planning, supports women, supports small business owners or supports indigenous workers. Ask them what they do. Tell them what you do. See if there are any synergies. Don’t go to the same organizations you always do. They will still be there for you.

To drain the sink of stress you must do things differently. You need to go out of your comfort zone and make connections in areas you have never done before. Make new connections with unexpected people. The help we need as an industry is all around us but not in the usual places. You have it in your power to turn this around, but you have to do it differently. Pick up the phone, or get in your car, or walk across the hallway. I have so much love for this industry. I know you can do it.

Sandra Oldfield

Vice-Chair, TIABC

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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.
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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. 📸

Would you like your image featured in our weekly Postcards from BC? Contact to share your slice of paradise!
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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