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Jul 24, 2023

TIABC Voice of Tourism Newsletter – July 21, 2023

TIABC

CEO MESSAGE

While boating on Harrison Lake last Saturday, I couldn’t help but admire and dream of owning one the beautiful homes and rustic cabins tucked away in various coves along the shore. As I usually do after visiting a destination within BC, I looked online to see what, if anything, was on the market and for how much.

Pouring over various listings, I noted that many of the vacation homes for sale at Harrison are off-grid and boat accessible only. What’s more, I learned that some of the more reasonably priced cabins are on leased land with varying terms and annual payments to the Crown.

As badly as I want a cabin, I’m equally hesitant about investing in a property where the lease could be cancelled with little notice or recompense. To be fair, I haven’t heard of that happening at Harrison or too many other places yet but I’m mindful that the operating environment for residents and businesses on crown land throughout BC has changed in recent years due to a number of factors, not the least of which is that land title and stewardship rights haven’t yet been sorted out vis-a-vis BC’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (DRIPA).  

In that context, part of my fear of purchasing a leased property is grounded in what I hear from tourism business owners who are challenged by similar situations with tenure and park-use permit (PUPs) applications and renewals.

According to a recent survey by members of the Adventure Tourism Coalition (ATC), many operators with land tenures and PUPs that have built a steady clientele, employed locals, invested heavily in lodges and equipment, and even improved the biodiversity of a place over the course of many years, are discovering that their agreements with the province are either not being renewed or reduced in length and appear likely to expire for good in the near future.

As you can appreciate, for any business operating on crown land, tenure security is foundational. Conversely, the absence of long-term contracts can seriously hamper their ability to carry on. Without tenure security, financial institutions won’t lend money to a business to help it grow and expand; operators won’t hire new staff or invest in new equipment and infrastructure; the company will have little to no resale value; and planning for future opportunities becomes a moot point.

The ATC survey also shows that frustration with the tenure process is growing. Some owners are considering folding their businesses, others are lobbying for longer terms, while a handful are operating without new tenure agreements and spending huge sums on consultation, environmental assessments, and other requirements in hopes of moving forward legally and with certainty.

Suffice it to say, the tenure situation must be resolved soon before the impact on individual businesses and the tourism sector overall becomes irreversible. To that end, TIABC, members of the Adventure Tourism Coalition and many other sector partners continue to work with the provincenot only to identify the magnitude of the problem but offer solutions for the benefit of all stakeholders.

One idea that’s resurfaced recently is to establish another form of tenure for specific tourism operators (akin to a lease) that provides exclusive rights in a certain area, while allowing for a “shared with public” tenure that opens the door to broader use of the land in question while seeking to avoid further conflicts. It’s still in the early stages of consideration so stay tuned.

Just as tourism operators aren’t willing to invest in their businesses unless tenures and PUPS are protected for the long term, I’m not eager to buy a cabin on crown land where the lease is more tenuous today than in years past. In the meantime, until I find a cottage that’s affordable, accessible and secure, I’ll continue to dream of a lakeside or oceanfront property from the comfort of my boat.

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