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Mar 1, 2024

TIABC Voice of Tourism Newsletter – March 1, 2024


Within a span of seven days my automatic watch stopped, a major component on the car failed, the motherboard on my laptop blew up, and finally the plastic housing on one of my skates cracked. While none of these repairs in particular was anticipated or budgeted for, warranties covered the costs to fix three of the items, which otherwise would have put a $6,000 dent in my wallet.

To be sure, I annually set aside money for incidentals but nearly blowing a significant part of the household maintenance and replacement budget this early in the year tells me that perhaps I need to pad my rainy-day fund, especially as various warranties expire.

Similarly, having faced the prospect of not being able to pay fixed-cost expenses during the pandemic, TIABC’s Board of Directors approved an internal policy that mandates the organization’s balance sheet to show up to 18 months of operating revenue at all times, not only to be fiscally responsible but in the event of unforeseen circumstances. As you can appreciate, having an emergency funding cushion proved to be wise during COVID.

Looking over the new BC budget, which was introduced last week, I noted a line item that showed a whopping $10 billion over three years in what government refers to as contingency funds to be accessed as necessary for various needs, including ’emergencies’.

The province also set aside an additional $405 million to prepare for and respond to climate emergencies, including wildfires. Although funding to support regional DMOs to execute on the four pillars (preparation, mitigation, response, recovery) of tourism emergency management (as per TIABC’s request) was not included anywhere, I’m not giving up in pushing for an annual fixed allocation given the tourism industry’s critical role during emergencies.

The Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture & Sport (MTACS) did realize an increase in its annual operating budget, with funds to be distributed amongst the various sectors and five crown corporations the ministry is responsible for. Although Destination BC received a modest bump for the coming fiscal based on performance, I’ve determined that as part of next year’s budget consultation cycle, TIABC will need to resume advocating for an increase to DBC’s annual budget, which has remained largely stagnant in recent years. With the cost of marketing steadily increasing, competition becoming more aggressive, more demand for resources by individual sectors, and other factors, a healthy budget bump for DBC is long overdue.

It goes without saying that while more money isn’t always the answer for myriad problems in the tourism sector, it can help fix certain things that are broken or conversely, leverage emerging opportunities. I look forward to estimates (budget debate) starting next week to hear more details on how various ministries intend to allocate resources beyond what their service plans currently show.

Admittedly, I’m waiting for the next personal item to break and sincerely hoping it’s not my hockey stick given that replacements are upwards of $200 and don’t come with a warranty. In the meantime, duct tape is holding one of my broken possessions together until it can be fixed or replaced. Guess which one it is.

(See you next week at BCTIC 2024)

Walt Judas,


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