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Mar 24, 2023

TIABC Voice of Tourism Newsletter – March 24th, 2023



Having travelled to over 40 countries and extensively within Canada and the United States, I’ve lost count of the number of airports I’ve visited over the years. At the same time I remember many of them for different reasons.

For example, at Palm Springs International Airport, I feel totally relaxed because of the vibe and the fact that many passenger services are outdoors in the warm, scented air. Conversely, the three airports that service the New York City region are not what one would expect from one of the greatest cities in the world.

Obviously the airport I frequent the most is YVR which still tops virtually all of the major airports I’ve been to in my travels (admittedly I’m a tad biased). It’s beautifully designed and offers good amenities, not to mention is the perfect spot for people watching, which as you know is a pastime I enjoy while waiting for flights. In recent months, I’ve noticed an increase in the number of arriving and departing passengers in the domestic, USA and international terminals. YVR seems to be bustling again with nary a flight that isn’t completely full.

YVR sources tell me that it’s going to be a busy summer with Canada and USA airline capacity at two percent above 2019 numbers, which ultimately bodes well for the entire province. However, the news isn’t all positive. BC is currently trailing the national average and other peer provinces for airline seat capacity. In fact, excluding the United States, international airline capacity remains 26 percent behind 2019 largely due to the slow return of service from China. Only Mexico and the South Pacific are above pre-pandemic numbers.

As I’ve mentioned before, for an industry that relies on the movement of people, connecting BC communities and increasing air service capacity are critical to rebuilding our visitor economy. Hence the reason YVR recently put forward a recommendation to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport to partner with BC airports and establish a merit-based Air Service Attraction Fund to secure more direct flights to British Columbia.

The proposed fund would help increase overnight visitor expenditures, support jobs and connect more people with unique experiences in all regions. Moreover, it would give BC a strategic advantage over other Canadian provinces, as well as a competitive edge over some of our American competitors.

While some destination management organizations and local airports are contributing to route development initiatives, additional investment is needed, especially to build higher yield international traffic that, as referenced earlier, hasn’t yet fully materialized.

TIABC offered its support for the fund and spoke with the province about the opportunity on several occasions. On a related note, we also sent a letter on behalf of Air Canada in their recent pitch to the federal government to add frequencies in the bilateral agreement between Canada and the UAE to allow direct flights between Vancouver and Dubai.

Unfortunately, the BC Air Service Attraction Fund isn’t going to fly just yet. While acknowledging the need, the province has not set aside any budget for now. It doesn’t mean the idea is grounded, but more work on the part of all partners is necessary to see it take off. Stay tuned.

While waiting to catch a recent flight out of YVR, I observed a number of passengers dressed up in animal and superhero costumes, sport uniforms, and even pajamas. I thought now I’ve seen everything and then it dawned on me that these were Canada Rugby Sevens fans who were in town for the tournament at BC Place. It’s one event where you stand out if you’re not dressed in a costume of some sort.

Although mildly amused by their outfits, I couldn’t help but wonder what it was like for these folks to clear security. Alas, just another day of people watching at my favourite major airport.

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