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Mar 31, 2023

TIABC Voice of Tourism Newsletter – March 31, 2023



My Dad taught me some common-sense, valuable lessons about money that have always stuck with me. I’m sure you can relate to some or all of these. For example: never spend more than you make; set aside a portion of every paycheque to give to charity; save for a rainy day (e.g. retirement portfolio, down payment on a house, for emergencies); pay off your credit cards every month; don’t spend money on stuff you don’t need; and if you borrow money for a major purchase such as a home, make sure you can afford the payments.

Basic, fatherly advice that has served me well for decades largely because I’ve always worked within an annual budget that compartmentalizes my fixed and variable costs (e.g. utilities, taxes, insurance, food, gas), as well as any discretionary expenses (e.g. dining out, entertainment, recreational activities, hobbies, travel). Sticking to a plan keeps me in check and makes my personal finances relatively easy to manage.

Contrast that with tourism businesses where the annual budgeting process is far more challenging these days with ever rising costs for rent, utilities, wages, goods and services, taxes, premiums, insurance…the list goes on and on. The financial pressure on operators is enormous and many are still barely making ends meet, especially given debt incurred during the pandemic.

Then there are government budgets. With so many demands by multiple stakeholders, not to mention the variables created by global events, market conditions and unforeseen crises, I can only imagine how complicated the budgeting process must be. At the same time, it doesn’t mean we turn a blind eye to omissions or misplaced spending.

As advocacy organizations, TIABC and our sector association partners across the country need to hold governments accountable for budget decisions and continue to press decision-makers on allocating funding to much needed tourism industry priorities.

In our province, government spending is pegged at some $81 billion for the fiscal year with expenses up nearly $6 billion over 2022/23. The federal government’s new budget is more than five times British Columbia’s with a deficit 10 times higher than ours.

Because the province’s priorities were outlined in cabinet ministers’ respective mandate letters last November, BC’s budget (introduced last month) contained few surprises. For the tourism sector specifically, there was a nominal lift to the Ministry of Tourism’s (Arts, Culture & Sport) base budget that includes the Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI) as a permanent line item. There were additional performance-based monies for Destination BC, as well as the third and final year of funding for destination development projects.

The feds offered support for a few priorities that our sector had been advocating for including more money for Destination Canada, funds to facilitate easier access to Canada from other countries, and additional dollars to support communities, small businesses and non-profit organizations to be distributed via regional development agencies (e.g. PacifiCan).

In the meantime, we continue to wait for the launch of the new Federal Tourism Growth Strategy which will determine government priorities and corresponding financial support for our sector in the coming years. As well, TIABC will continue to advocate for access to contingency funds as necessary to help our sector deal with myriad challenges and opportunities as we continue to rebuild the visitor economy. For example, we need dedicated funding for tourism emergency management services at the provincial level. Federally, our industry needs further support for debt relief.

Admittedly, I had been procrastinating on setting up my 2023 budget prior to a recent visit to the grocery store where I again experienced sticker shock on the price of food. If my father was alive he would have said, “Son, if your income stays the same but your expenses have increased, you’ll need to cut back on discretionary spending.” Wait! What? I can’t do that.:)

Perhaps I’ll try fasting every other day.

Walt Judas,


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