MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR
Recently TIABC surveyed its members to solicit feedback on advocacy priorities and other matters we should be focussed on as an organization. More than one-third of our members responded, which is a healthy sample from which to draw some conclusions and set us on the right path for 2023. Allow me to provide a brief summary of what we heard and learned.
The top 10 most important issues to our members in order of priority are: workforce/labour; value of tourism; sustainability; access & transportation; municipal and regional district tax (MRDT); infrastructure development; short-term vacation rentals; reconciliation; land use; and equity/diversity/inclusion.
To be sure, there are very specific issues within the broader categories (e.g. sustainability – forest policy) that TIABC has been working on, but nonetheless the results affirm that these areas require attention.
Survey respondents also recommended that we tackle additional issues such as ferry routes, housing, visitor visas, trail maintenance, homelessness/crime, hotel inventory, sustainable tourism funding, tenure security and a handful of others…all of which we do speak to government about regularly but perhaps need to dial up our efforts.
I was pleased to see that most members are satisfied, believe TIABC offers fair value for money, and that the organization brings more awareness to the challenges and opportunities the tourism sector faces. Importantly, members identified TIABC’s advocacy efforts on behalf of the tourism industry to influence, change, eliminate or develop policy within all three levels of government to help accelerate the sector’s growth and potential to be the greatest value we offer.
With respect to recommendations on programs, information, or services that members would find valuable, there were several responses including but not limited to: Indigenous relations training; hard data on the value of tourism; greater advocacy and policy/legislative changes; fewer newsletters; more contact with directors; networking opportunities; more direct input from businesses instead of only sector associations; and new initiatives that help visitors better understand the backcountry.
Similarly, when asked what TIABC should be doing more of, members offered: lobbying; work with rural BC; providing insights for local governments to better understand the economic value of tourism; advocacy on behalf of the events sector; engagement with DMOs; tackling environmental concerns; and pressing government on tourism recovery.
Conversely, survey respondents told us we should reduce our efforts in trying to be all things to all sectors of the tourism industry, as well as publishing a weekly newsletter in favour of a quarterly edition.
Thankfully we heard many comments about the great work we’re doing but nonetheless, have taken note of the excellent feedback to help inform our strategic plan and actions for the next 12 months. On behalf of the board and team, I wish to offer my sincere thanks to members who responded to the survey. At the same time, I encourage you to continue to reach out via phone, email, or in-person to provide your views on what we should or could be doing on behalf of the tourism industry.
Three weeks ago we held our annual general meeting. Immediately afterward we announced the election of new directors (Joanne Burns-Millar, Miranda Ji) and bid farewell to one director (Jennifer Burton).
However, since then we haven’t formally closed the loop on all the changes to the board. For your information and benefit, I am pleased that directors Sandra van Steijn (St. Eugene Golf & Casino Resort), Jamie Cox (BC Lodging & Campgrounds Association), Dennis Innes (Vancouver Community College), and Mike Retasket (CCCTA) were all re-elected to serve another term.
At the same time, I regret to announce that Vice-Chair Barrett Fisher is no longer a director of TIABC. Fortunately she will continue to serve as a valued member of our Policy Committee. I’d like to thank Barrett for her outstanding contribution and commitment to our organization over the past four years and look forward to her continued work with us on behalf of the industry.
Because this is my last message to you until the new year, I wish you good health, prosperity, Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season.