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Mar 17, 2023

TIABC Voice of Tourism Newsletter – March 17th, 2023



Last week I caught a 5:50 am flight from Winnipeg to Vancouver to ensure I was back on time to attend an all-day meeting with fishing, environmental, boating, shipping, and other marine related experts from across BC to offer feedback and recommendations on a new Coastal Marine Strategy the province and First Nations are in the process of developing.

Following on the heels of a recently released ‘intentions paper’ that outlined six key themes for the impending strategy (e.g. A Healthy & Productive Coast; A Sustainable & Thriving Ocean Economy; Community Well-being; Holistic Learning & Knowledge Sharing; Trusting, Respectful Relationships; and Resilience to Climate Change), the session (led by staff from the Ministry of Water, Land & Resource Stewardship) was set up as a workshop to ensure that each of the attendees contributed feedback and insights to move the strategy forward.

In all honesty, I have never seen a more engaged group. The ideas on how to resolve issues, address gaps, and maximize opportunities took up pages of giant flip charts spread throughout the downtown Vancouver meeting venue.

While some of what was discussed and put forward was beyond my comprehension or sphere of influence, there were many suggestions that I understood and even contributed that pertained to the tourism industry. For example:

  • Promote opportunities for citizen science using knowledge keepers such tourism operators
  • Engage the scuba community as local stewards and monitors
  • Utilize tourism infrastructure in clean up initiatives
  • Establish a network of Indigenous environmental monitors along the coast
  • Provide more funding support for Boating BC and other organizations to remove derelict vessels
  • Restore habitat for wild salmon
  • Encourage more people to visit the coast to gain a better understanding of the coast
  • Tap into whale watchers data on presence of cetaceans
  • Review economic benefits of non-extractive uses like tourism
  • Encourage tourist accommodation in coastal communities rather than remote lodges
  • Create/improve infrastructure for beach/marine access for visitors via minimally invasive locations

The aforementioned points are less than 2% of what was captured in the two-day session. The question now is, how does government take pages of good ideas, plus suggestions provided by various groups and distill it into a strategy with clear actions and targets that address the needs of the many stakeholders who share a vested interest in BC’s valuable coastal marine environment? Frankly, it won’t be easy.

As I mentioned last month in this space, TIABC is working with several of our members to help inform the strategy with a submission that encompasses marine tourism interests including fishing, boating, cruising, marinas, resorts, and other sub-sectors of the visitor economy.

Suffice it to say, the coastal marine strategy file is so massive and important, it’s almost impossible to focus on only a few areas of concern or opportunity. At the same time, we’re confident that government will pay close attention to our sector’s recommendations in view of the excellent engagement process they’ve undertaken so far to help solicit individual and collective input.

Given I arose at 2 am (Pacific Time) to fly home for the workshop, I anticipated falling asleep right after lunch. Thankfully the session was so interesting it was nearly impossible to nod off. That said, I won’t be booking early flights home like the one last week from Winnipeg anymore if I can help it. My falling asleep at the dinner table was not well received.

Walt Judas,

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 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