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Oct 14, 2022

TIABC Voice of Tourism Newsletter – October 14th, 2022



As I stepped up to the podium to offer a few remarks at the Vancouver Tourism Awards (VTA) Gala Breakfast the other day, I marvelled at the size of the audience. Some 400 award nominees were among the 740 attendees who came together to celebrate and recognize fellow colleagues for the extraordinary service they deliver to visitors each day.

The excitement and the energy in the room was palpable. The fact that myriad sub-sectors of our industry were back together at this event for the first time in three years brought both relief and a deep sense of satisfaction to VTA’s Board of Directors.

Aside from a hearty breakfast, dozens of prizes, music, and visiting with colleagues and friends, there was a serious component to the event that garnered the attention of nearly everyone in the Vancouver Convention Centre ballroom. Under the theme of resilience, special guest speaker, Dr. Susan Biali Haas (a Vancouver-based medical doctor, coach, health writer & author) introduced the signs of burnout and talked about coping mechanisms, as well as methods to deal with the effects of chronic fatigue…something all too familiar in our sector, especially since the start of COVID.

Given that I always look for practical solutions to problems, I was particularly intrigued by the homework assignment Dr. Haas gave attendees, which included a task to identify four life priorities that essentially drive us. She then suggested that we rank the ‘health’ of these areas on a scale of one to 10. To complete the process, we would need to define one simple way to take better care of each area of neglect.

Identifying one’s priorities (e.g. family, work, travel, exercise) is relatively easy. Doing an honest self-assessment of each and implementing practices to address areas where we’re struggling is decidedly more difficult.

Suffice it to say, it was a heavy subject and one not usually associated with a celebratory event. However, Dr. Haas’s presentation was both welcome and appropriate considering that so many in our industry continue to struggle with mental health.

This past Monday was World Mental Health Day. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the pandemic created a global crisis for mental health, fuelling short and long-term stresses and undermining the mental health of millions.

WHO’s goal is a world in which mental health is valued, promoted, and protected; where everyone has an equal opportunity to enjoy mental health and to exercise their human rights; and where every individual can access the mental health care they need. I’d venture to say virtually everyone in our sector can stand behind WHO’s vision.

As I concluded my remarks at the VTA gala, I referenced the hardship that many colleagues experienced during the peak COVID years. I also spoke about the strength and resiliency of our sector and expressed confidence in a better future in the years ahead especially considering the talents and skills of the hundreds of tourism professionals in the room who remain committed and keen to serve visitors to our destination.

Finally, I also offered my gratitude to VTA Executive Director Peggie Terry and the entire Vancouver Tourism Awards board and committee for recognizing the importance of this event in bringing the industry back together to celebrate the best of the best.

I trust VTA committee members know that this wonderful demonstration of gratitude made a huge difference in the lives of more than 700 front-line tourism employees this week.

Walt Judas,


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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