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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,


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