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Apr 6, 2023

TIABC Voice of Tourism Newsletter – April 6, 2023

TIABC

CEO MESSAGE

Yesterday I drove my vehicle to Langara Golf Course, walked three blocks to catch the Canada Line train to downtown Vancouver, flew via Harbour Air to Vancouver Island, then jumped onto a Victoria Harbour Ferry for a unique onboard meeting with TIABC’s long-time member. My commute was literally a case of planes, trains and automobiles (along with a boat ride), although thankfully without the obstacles faced by Steve Martin and John Candy in the 1987 movie of the same name.

Aside from meeting with Darren van Slyke and Murray Anderson of Victoria Harbour Ferry, I also connected with Black Ball Ferry Line President Ryan Burles, and the new CEO of the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA), Robert Lewis-Manning.

Just two weeks into his role, Robert took the stage at an afternoon news conference alongside TIABC member CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) and Transportation Minister Rob Fleming where the province announced a $9 million contribution toward installing infrastructure at Ogden Point that would allow cruise ships to turn off their engines and instead access clean hydroelectricity while in port.

In the context of evaluating our member engagement objectives, yesterday’s announcement triggered a search of TIABC’s advocacy files to see how and where we championed initiatives like shore power in Victoria over the years. I’m pleased to say that TIABC has consistently advocated for new or improved infrastructure at both Ogden Point and Belleville Terminal, the latter of which also appears imminent after years of effort by multiple stakeholders.

The original price tag on Belleville Terminal improvements and expansion was pegged at approximately $200 million. It’s since ballooned to between an estimated $240 and $290 million (in today’s dollars), which is now out of reach for the two private operators (including Black Ball Ferry Line) that lease the facility should they be obligated to contribute one-third of a three-way cost split between the province, feds and private sector.

Regardless of who pays what, improvements to Belleville are desperately needed for ferry travel to and from Washington State to continue over the long term, especially considering the economic impact the M.V. Coho and this vital transportation hub generate for the region.

As for Victoria’s Harbour Ferry…like all small businesses, they too are feeling the pinch of rising operating costs that have impacted profit margins, especially outside of the peak tourism season since most passengers tend to be visitors to the city. That said, there are exciting plans to attract more locals to use this alternative and sustainable transportation option as opposed to driving. It’s a terrific idea that hopefully will be well supported by residents.

It stands to reason that our advocacy efforts vis-a-vis tourism infrastructure will continue on behalf of our members – Black Ball Ferry Line, Victoria Harbour Ferry, the GVHA and the cruise sector (CLIA) – for the foreseeable future.

It’s not often that my daily commute consists of planes, trains, automobiles and boats. I can’t wait for my next visit to Victoria to experience a similar journey and meet with another group of TIABC members to learn more about their challenges and how TIABC can advocate on their behalf.

Walt Judas,
CEO, TIABC

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. 📸

Would you like your image featured in our weekly Postcards from BC? Contact deborah@tiabc.ca 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! 🎟️
call (250) 566-3335 or email visitvalemount@gmail.com