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Mar 25, 2024

TIABC Voice of Tourism Newsletter – March 22, 2024


After arriving in Maui for a week-long golf trip with some buddies several years ago, our first order of business was to stock up on groceries for the week. We divided the cost and responsibilities to cover breakfast and dinner each day, although cooking was done mainly by the two chefs in our group.

It must have been amusing to fellow grocery shoppers to watch eight (German) guys wearing loud, branded golf shirts and caps wander the aisles, arguing about what and how much to buy. Not being much of a foodie, I limited my selections to cereal, yogurt, bananas, eggs, milk, cookies, and bread while my friends stocked up on steak, ribs, fish, chicken, vegetables, cheese, and seemingly everything else in the store. We bought enough food to last a month.

Through that experience I recognized one major difference between me and my pals. While I eat to live, they live to eat. For them, trips revolve around planning for and feasting all day whereas I typically need to be reminded to eat, usually by my growling stomach. That said, I’m somewhat of an enigma. While I’d happily settle for pancakes for supper, I also greatly appreciate good food and a gourmet meal. In fact, I’ve been telling everyone about an amazing experience last week in Osoyoos where I joined TOTA’s board and leadership team for an incredible dinner specially prepared by Backyard Farm Proprietor and Chef Chris Van Hooydonk whose farm-to-table creations are to die for.

Ironically, thoughts about food have been on my mind for the better part of two months given how important meals are to the success of the annual BC Tourism Industry Conference. Yesterday I spent time analyzing our post-conference survey results in which many delegates offered strong opinions on the food served. Let’s just say the level of satisfaction was decidedly mixed.

As I reflect on the reviews, I am reminded that context is often missing in surveys. For example, most attendees wouldn’t know that food was the highest line item in our conference budget at over 40% of total expenses. Immense efforts were made to ensure the selected menu was well-balanced, substantial and nutritious for all while also striving to source local, be more sustainable and control costs. Yet, we understand that in some instances the F&B offering fell short of expectations. After the fact I can only promise that next year, we’ll aim to do better within the parameters we’re given and seek broader input and expertise to offer a menu that satisfies the needs of each delegate, especially those with food sensitivities.

While in a conference debrief mode, it’s worth mentioning a couple of other numbers that might be of interest and certainly pointed to another successful event. Between the gala awards, opening reception, and the conference, more than 500 people attended BCTIC 2024. Some 71 speakers presented in the various workshops and plenary sessions, including 42 women during a week where we celebrated International Women’s Day. Overall, close to 90% of delegates rated their experience as positive.

As always, we are grateful for the support and feedback by our delegates, sponsors and speakers who participated in BCTIC 2024. We will look to apply our learnings and your suggestions to next year’s BC Tourism Industry Conference in Vancouver as we strive for continuous improvement and a 100% satisfaction rating.

Whether I’m on a golf trip with my mates, at a conference, or enjoying an all-inclusive resort vacation, I don’t get my money’s worth eating my way through each day but I also relish the opportunity to sit around a table with family, friends and colleagues to enjoy a wonderful meal even if I can’t keep up with the conversation on ingredients, spices, wine pairings, cooking methods, or recipes.

Walt Judas,


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Meet Dave Butler, Vice-President, Sustainability at CMH Heli-Skiing & Summer Adventures, as he joins TIABC's Voice of Tourism host Walt Judas to discuss his career path, his work in sustainable tourism, and the challenges business owners and operators are facing in the province today.

You can listen to the Voice of Tourism podcast wherever you get your podcasts. Check us out on Apple, Spotify, iHeart Radio, Amazon Music, Deezer, Podcast Addict and Podchaser. Or listen through the link in bio. 👆
🌅 Wish you were here from Gladys Atrill, Executive Director of Tourism Smithers, at Morin Lake in the Bulkley-Nechako Region! 🏞️
📈 With a view to building a stronger and more strategic relationship, TIABC CEO Walt Judas Met with Joe Baker, Dean of the Okanagan College School of Business in Kelowna. 

Okanagan College will officially break ground on its new Centre for Food, Wine & Tourism in September.
TIABC CEO Walt Judas checked in with Tourism Kelowna CEO Lisanne Ballantyne and TIABC Director Chris Lewis (Tourism Kelowna) while in the Okanagan this week. Walt and Lisanne discussed a range of topics including short-term rentals, emergency preparedness, infrastructure, business on the books and other priorities in the months ahead as the peak of the visitor season unfolds.
👥 TIABC's Membership & Communications Committee convened at the Richmond Oval recently for a strategic planning session that encompassed topics such as values, benefits, structure, fees and opportunities. 

Pictured left to right:
- Deb Kulchiski - TIABC
- Ceri Chong - Tourism Richmond
- Chris Lewis - Tourism Kelowna
- Nicole Ford - Rocky Mountaineer
- J.J. Belanger - Crystal Cove Beach Resort
- Jamie Cox - St. Andrews by the Lake
- Walt Judas - TIABC
- Mike Retasket - CCCT
- Joanne Burns-Millar - Pacific Destinations