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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,


Related Posts

TIABC Director Dennis Innes (VCC Dean of Hospitality, Culinary & Baking) and CEO Walt Judas joined term 8 hospitality students, industry leaders, recent graduates, and faculty for a Philosopher's Cafe to discuss the state of the tourism and hospitality workforce this week at VCC's downtown Vancouver campus.
TIABC CEO Walt Judas with Tourism Abbotsford’s Barb Roberts & Clare Seeley, as well as VCM’s Chad Wetsch on a site visit to a land-based Tilapia fish farm owned and operated by the Sumas First Nation who are expanding their Fraser Valley holdings with ambitious plans to bolster Abbotsford’s tourism infrastructure and experiences.
As he does regularly, TIABC CEO Walt Judas recently presented to tourism students and faculty at @westerncommunitycollege's (WCC) Surrey campus, focussing on industry issues and TIABC's advocacy priorities. Walt also serves on WCC's Program Advisory Committee (PAC), as well as the PACs of @capilanou and @myvcc.
🍽️ What an incredible farm-to-table experience! Backyard Farm Proprietor and Chef Chris Van Hooydonk welcomed TOTA's Board of Directors and guests Walt Judas, Richard Porges (DBC CEO) and Scott Fraser (DBC Chair) for a memorable meal in Osoyoos this week.

Chris's culinary philosophy focuses on utilizing the freshest, locally sourced ingredients to create unique, tailored menus for each visit. With a commitment to true hospitality, the experience is marked by attentive service and a passion for showcasing the beauty of the South Okanagan.

Also pictured, Destination Osoyoos Executive Director Kelley Glazer, TOTA CEO Ellen Walker Matthews, and TOTA's Jane Parece. 

A huge thank you to Chris for providing such a delightful culinary experience! 🌿
🎉 Highlights from the 2024 BC Tourism Industry Conference in Victoria! 🌟

Close to 450 tourism industry professionals convened in Victoria last week for the annual 2024 BC Tourism Industry Conference, hosted by TIABC. Industry leaders representing businesses, sector associations, regional and community destination management organizations, First Nations, federal, provincial and municipal governments, as well as non-government organizations gathered for the two-day event. 

Anchored by the conference theme - Shaping Our Future Together - the outstanding program provided both a knowledge and skills track via plenary sessions and workshops. Here are just a few highlights:

▪️ Opening keynote speaker Shaun Boothe shared a unique and emotional celebration of some of the world's most influential cultural icons. His energy and messages set the stage for the entire event.

▪️ Hon. Lana Popham, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture & Sport kicked off the conference by welcoming delegates and sharing her own personal story of working in BC's tourism industry.

▪️ Plenary Remarks by Hon. Soraya Martinez Ferrada: Insights from the Minister of Tourism and Economic Development Agency of Canada highlighted the industry's significance.

▪️TIABC CEO Walt Judas engaged in a compelling conversation with Premier David Eby whose remarks underscored the vital role of the tourism industry in British Columbia, earning him a standing ovation.

▪️ Opening Reception at the Royal BC Museum

A big thank you to all our sponsors for making this event possible! 🙌
Join us in celebrating the remarkable winners of the 2024 BC Tourism Industry Awards Gala presented by @indigenoustourismbc! 🎉✨ 

Ten awards were given out to recognize and celebrate excellence, leadership, and innovation within British Columbia’s tourism and hospitality sector. These awards showcased the province’s most exceptional leaders and positive change-makers this past year.

The winners of the 2024 BC Tourism Industry Awards are:

Business Woman of the Year Award - Sponsored by Prince of Whales
⭐ Winner: Ingrid Jarrett, @bchotelassociation 

Community Contribution & Impact - Sponsored by Tourism Richmond
⭐Winner: @princeofwhaleswhalewatching 

DMO Professional Excellence - Sponsored by BC Regional Tourism Secretariat (BCRTS)
⭐Winner: @visitrichmondbc 

Employees First - Sponsored by go2HR
⭐Winner: @golfbc 

Inclusive and Accessible Tourism Experience - Sponsored by Destination BC
⭐Winner: Vancouver Aquarium

Indigenous Operator or Experience | Sponsored by Indigenous Tourism BC and Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada
⭐Winner: @homalcotours

Innovation | Sponsored by Tourism Innovation Lab
⭐Winner: @tourismnewwest 

Remarkable Experience | Sponsored by BC Destination Management Organization Association (BCDMOA)
⭐Winner: @nimmobayresort

Sector Association Excellence Award | Sponsored by Acera Insurance
⭐Winner: Sport Fishing Institute of BC

Sustainability Excellence | Sponsored by Nanaimo Airport
⭐Winner: @40knotswinery 

📸 @arkitekcreative