Skip to main content

Jun 3, 2024

TIABC Voice of Tourism Newsletter – May 31, 2024


For a good decade of my tenure at Tourism Vancouver (now Destination Vancouver – DVAN), there were four of us on the senior management team that were all the same age. As of today, three have now officially retired, leaving me as the last one standing. I’m not sure if it makes me feel old, sad, envious, or fortunate. Perhaps it’s a combination of all the above. Regardless, the latest to post a vacancy sign on his office door is Dave Gazley, a 30-year DVAN team member whose official responsibilities end at 5 p.m.

Within BC’s tourism industry, Dave may not be a household name outside of Metro Vancouver, but in other parts of the world, he’s highly regarded and somewhat of a legend. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing him for close to 25 years, both professionally and as a friend.

I recall the first time we played hockey together, I marvelled at his skating, stickhandling, and playmaking abilities that he honed playing shinny on Winnipeg’s frozen ponds. Similarly, the first time we played golf together, I stood in awe at how far he could hit the ball and how he never missed a putt. No different on the softball diamond either where he often knocked it beyond the outfield fence. The guy is an incredible athlete and a winner.

But it isn’t only his athletic prowess that I admire. Dave is so good at his job, with a combination of hard and soft skills that have produced notable results year-after-year. Focussed, determined, strategic, sharp, hard-working, loyal, and selfless are among the many character traits that come to mind in describing Dave.

At his recent farewell party attended by over 100 friends, colleagues, and family members, he was also lauded for being empathetic, a good negotiator, fair, direct, kind, orderly, and (hilariously) cheap. Frugal is more apt because Dave was keenly aware he worked for a member-based association and that every dollar invested in sales and marketing activities not only needed to be accounted for but spent wisely.

Even though he may not be well known to professional colleagues across the province, Dave is one of BC’s top tourism industry leaders who spent more than three decades selling Vancouver (as well as BC & Canada), and in the process, built life-long relationships with clients all over the globe. Focussing specifically on the meetings, conventions, and major events sector (e.g. sport), he was largely responsible for attracting dozens of lucrative, international, city-wide conferences over the better part of the last three decades. The benefits of his work extended across the province.

Dave didn’t do it out of personal gain (although it helped him both keep and excel in his job), but rather he kept in mind that for every business meeting hosted at the Vancouver Convention Centre, BC Place Stadium, various venues, or local hotels…taxi drivers, housekeepers, restaurant servers, front desk agents, retail clerks, event organizers, and countless others employed in the tourism sector in the Lower Mainland and elsewhere in BC were able to put a roof over their heads and food on the table for their families.

It’s important to note that the meetings and events industry is estimated to employ over 24,000 people (directly and indirectly) and annually generates upwards of $4.5b in direct spending in British Columbia. There is potential to attract even more business pending new infrastructure such as convention and meeting venues which are desperately needed in many communities.

At the same time, the conference sector continues its steady progress toward full recovery from the pandemic thanks to the tremendous efforts of multiple DMOs, venues, destination management companies, and individuals like Dave Gazley. It will be a tall order to replace his skills, abilities, and institutional knowledge anytime soon although I suspect that someone he mentored will fill the role.

On behalf of the staff and board of TIABC, we extend our sincere appreciation and best wishes to Dave as he embarks on a new chapter in his life journey. He can be proud of an extraordinary career and legacy that will continue to serve our industry for years to come.

As the last man standing, my days will not be filled with birdies, eagles, and highlight reel goals anytime soon but I hope Dave’s are.

Walt Judas,


Related Posts

✉️ Wish you were here! 

A postcard from Dawn Ruecki, Director of Industry Development at the Ministry of Tourism Arts, Culture & Sport, at Sun Peaks Resort! 

#PostcardsFromBC #ExploreBC #BCAdventures
✉️ Wish you were here! 

A postcard from Thom Tischik, Executive Director of Visit Penticton, at the beautiful Summerland to Princeton Road. 

Would you like your image to appear in our weekly Postcards from BC feature? Contact to share your slice of paradise!
📬 Wish you were here from Nik Coutinho, Sales and Marketing Manager for Prince of Whales, at the Great Bear Rainforest! 🐻 

Would you like your image to appear in our weekly Postcards from BC feature? Contact
Vancouver's North Shore Tourism Association (VNSTA) revealed its new campaign last week centred around visiting Vancouver's North Shore like a local. The three pillars include: play like a local, learn like a local, and love it like a local, with a commitment to respect Indigenous communities, air, land and waters, and to practice safety in all activities (& more). As part of its new sustainability initiative, VNSTA Executive Director Jennifer Belak (seen with TIABC CEO Walt Judas) is encouraging locals and visitors to take the pledge to play, learn and love like a local.
TIABC CEO Walt Judas joined members of BC's foodservice community, including Restaurants Canada CEO Kelly Higginson and VP Mark von Schellwitz at a networking and recognition reception in downtown Vancouver this week. Celebrating resilience, adaptability and unity, the event also served to acknowledge those who have significantly advanced the industry. Restaurants Canada and the Chefs’ Table Society of BC honoured renowned Chef John Bishop with a Lifetime Achievement award for the indelible mark he's made on the Canadian foodservice sector. 📷: @kasselmancreative
✈️ New aviation technology, the future of the aerospace workforce, impacts of government policy on the aviation sector, regional airport infrastructure and capacity needs, airline operating models, and the aviation sector’s role in emergencies were among the many important topics discussed at the BC Aviation Council Summit in Nanaimo this week. 

TIABC CEO Walt Judas joined BCAC’s Dave Frank (r) and Nanaimo Airport’s Keith Granbois at the conference where delegates also heard from Zara Rutherford, the first female to fly solo around the world.