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May 12, 2023

TIABC Voice of Tourism Newsletter – May 12, 2023



To this day I can still visualize my parents sitting at the breakfast table every morning sipping coffee while they listened to the news on a portable radio. As a kid I didn’t really care or pay too close attention to what was being reported but I do recall hearing about court cases, politics, workplace and car accidents, house fires, and on rare occasions, natural disasters.

From time-to-time we would learn of a major earthquake, storm or drought somewhere in the world that claimed lives but nothing like what we see or hear about on a daily basis today. To be fair, we weren’t as connected back then so half the time we didn’t know what was going on outside of BC or Canada.

Nonetheless, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), a disaster related to a weather, climate or water hazard occurred every day on average over the past five decades, killing 115 people and causing some US $200 million in losses daily. Notwithstanding better reporting/recording of these events in recent years, the number of disasters has increased by a factor of five over the last 50 years, although the number of crisis-related deaths has decreased almost threefold since the early 70s.

WMO notes that storms and floods have caused the most damage (economically) over the years but because of climate change, we’re apt to see more heatwaves, drought and wildfires in future…events that our province has become all too familiar with in recent years.

Aboard the Rocky Mountaineer earlier this week with my board colleagues from TIAC, we passed through the town of Lytton, that in June 2021, recorded Canada’s highest-ever temperature at 49.6 Celsius (121 Fahrenheit) and a day later burned to the ground. Along the journey we could also see the swollen Thompson River, which acts as a tributary for the Bonaparte River that has breached its banks and wreaked havoc in Cache Creek this week. It’s the worst flooding the town has experienced in 50 years.

Emergency Management and Climate Readiness Minister Bowinn Ma has frequented news channels recently warning of more flooding in some areas of the province in the coming days due to rapid snow melt. Just a few days ago it was because of heavy rain. Now Minister Ma is warning residents to take precautions because of extreme heat. And that’s on top of the wildfires in our province and in neighbouring Alberta.

On many days, climate-related emergencies have replaced politics, crime and other issues as the lead news story online and within more traditional information sources such as radio, television and newspapers. Just today, one local radio station started its newscast by interviewing consumers who were snapping up air conditioning units at home improvement stores in anticipation of a hot weekend and summer.

Tomorrow marks the end of Emergency Preparedness Week in British Columbia. Although it hasn’t received the attention that Tourism Week did a couple of weeks ago, for me it was reminder to encourage our industry to review, update or develop emergency plans that support that safety of visitors, the viability of tourism businesses, and our reputation as a safe and welcoming destination. In the story to follow this message, you will see resources to help you not only prepare for imminent emergencies but guide your disaster preparation efforts for both the short and long-term. You’ll also find excellent information on various websites (e.g. Destination British Columbia, TIABC, the regional tourism associations – BCRTS), related to the four pillars of emergency management including crisis mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery.

I’ve picked up my parents’ daily ritual of listening to my portable radio for daily news while sipping a coffee first thing in the morning. Many days I wish the lead story was not about the latest natural disaster at home or abroad. In either case, emergency preparedness will continue to be a priority for TIABC for the foreseeable future, regardless of whether its Emergency Preparedness Week in BC or not.

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