When car manufacturers introduced vehicles with DVD players, I thought nothing of piling the kids into our new mini-van and driving 18 hours straight to Christopher Lake in Northern Saskatchewan to stay with family at the cottage. Playing videos as we travelled stopped the kids from asking, are we there yet? every 10 minutes and also kept me awake (along with several cups of coffee). We did that trip so often, I knew every line in the movie School of Rock even though I never actually saw the film.
For the most part, the days of long drives for vacation are over for me, but not necessarily so for business trips. Case in point…this week I put upwards of 1,700 kms on my rental car in three days travelling from the Vancouver Coast & Mountains region, to the Thompson Okanagan, on to the Kootenay Rockies region, then to the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast, and back home again.
Given how difficult it was to find convenient flights, I chose to drive an average of seven hours each day to allow me to get to various destinations on time. Although it was somewhat tiring, I thoroughly enjoyed criss-crossing BC, while taking in the incredible scenery and experiencing fall and winter-like weather along the way.
In Castlegar, I had the good fortune of attending the Kootenay Rockies Tourism Association annual general meeting and conference where I met with and presented to colleagues/friends, many of whom I hadn’t seen since before COVID.
Same for 100 Mile House, where I presented to the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association (CCCTA) AGM and conference (along with Ingrid Jarrett & Richard Porges). Again, it was good to be among friends and colleagues, especially CCCTA CEO Amy Thacker who is back in the saddle after an extended leave.
My presentations focussed on seven areas with three main points in each. To begin with, I spoke about the changing political climate in BC with 70 new mayors taking their positions this month, along with a new premier about to assume the province’s top job, and a new tourism minister at the helm as of a few weeks ago.
I referenced three recent TIABC policies (camping reservations, short-term vacation rentals, highway signage); three budget requests to government (emergency management funding for tourism, RMI security, infrastructure funding); three challenges to tourism growth (transportation, housing, workforce); three requests to the federal government (develop tourism assets, improve visitor access; create Indigenous workforce strategy); three sector opportunities (tourism renewal, reconciliation, regenerative tourism); and three bits of information on TIABC (member survey, AGM, BC Tourism & Hospitality Conference).
It was a bit of a whirlwind trip to be sure but so worth it for many reasons. Contrary to the days when I listened to kids’ movies on road trips, there were long stretches where I had neither cell service or a radio station to listen to, let alone a DVD player. Even my hybrid rental car made little noise other than the sound of rubber on pavement at high speeds. I tried at times to recite lines from School of Rock to stay awake and alert. Sadly I couldn’t remember many.