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May 10, 2024

TIABC Voice of Tourism Newsletter – May 10, 2024

TIABC

For me the toughest shot in golf is inside of 120 yards. According to Golf Channel instructors, instead of generating speed on my downswing, I decelerate which often results in a divot the size of PEI and leaves my ball well short of the green. Seems I’ve fallen into a bad habit of recalling previous duffs, losing focus in the moment, and ultimately hitting my wedge ‘fat’.

Admittedly, this innocuous example of a negative pattern pales in comparison with other destructive practices that many of us fall into, some far more consequential than shooting a double bogey. Yet regardless of what it is, long-standing bad habits are hard to break and often take months or even years to reverse and turn into a positive routine.

Case in point, some media and government officials have a habit of referring to wildfire season anytime flames engulf the backcountry or a community somewhere in BC. To be sure, there are times of the year where wildfires are more prevalent, particularly in the hotter, drier months. But consistently calling it a season implies that it’s always a prolonged period of time for the entire province every year, which is not necessarily the case.

As Emergency Preparedness Week wraps up, I draw your attention to a meeting that the Tourism Emergency Management Committee (TEMC) had last week with Hon. Bowinn Ma (Minister of Emergency Management & Climate Readiness) and Hon. Lana Popham (Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture & Sport Minister) to discuss sector concerns in the context of various crises, including drought and wildfires.

Among other things, we raised the importance of communication and requested that decision-makers refrain from saying wildfire season given the ramifications on the visitor economy, especially during what we normally refer to as peak tourism season.

At a news conference yesterday to announce government’s new Emergency Ready Planner, the term wildfire season was used repeatedly by media and officials. Because of the seriousness of the subject matter, I hesitate to be too critical but the TEMC, the Tourism Emergency Response Team (TERT), and our various partners have been working diligently for years to expunge the common vernacular ‘wildfire season’ and instead simply refer to these emergencies as wildfires to avoid the messaging that implies that because it’s wildfire season, BC must be avoided. I suspect that given what prospective visitors are hearing online and through media channels, a decline in advance bookings in certain regions is to be expected.

As mentioned earlier, old habits are hard to break but with more education and consistent advocacy, our goal is to influence a change to the term wildfire season no matter how long it takes.

For the record, in the meeting with the Ministers last week, we also spoke of the need for dedicated resources for regional destination management associations to prepare businesses for emergencies, better business and economic impact data following a crisis, a support program for impacted businesses, and assistance to develop a risk assessment profile for all operators.

As co-chair of the TEMC, I am encouraged by the progress we’re making on the tourism emergency file (see other news below), yet at the same time recognize the work that still needs to be done to prepare, protect and help our industry recover from whatever crisis befalls us in the days ahead.

I have a habit of watching the Golf Channel and snacking on something sweet just before bedtime every night. I’m trying to break it by recording everything I eat each day to track calories, find better balance in my diet, make healthy food choices, and to prove to my wife that I’m not the one eating all the chocolate chip cookies. Unfortunately, I’m failing miserably…or pleasurably as it were.

Walt Judas,

CEO, TIABC

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 deborah@tiabc.ca 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 visitvalemount@gmail.com