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Oct 6, 2023

TIABC Voice of Tourism Newsletter – October 6, 2023



In 1993, Kim Campbell became Canada’s first female Prime Minister while Bill Clinton was inaugurated as the 42nd President of the United States; Michael Jackson and Mariah Carey were at the top of the music charts; Madonna, Snoop Dogg, Garth Brooks and Whitney Houston were among the most popular performers; Sleepless in Seattle, Schindler’s List, Mrs. Doubtfire, Jurassic Park, The Fugitive, and Philadelphia were the year’s must-see movies; the North American Free Trade Agreement became law; Beany Babies were all the rage; Nelson Mandela won the Nobel Peace Prize; Slovakia became a country; the price of gas was under $.50 cents a litre; the average house in Canada cost $150,000; the World Wide Web officially launched; and importantly for our sector, Tourism Human Resources Canada (THRC) was born.

Like the Internet and Snoop Dogg, THRC continues to thrive in spite of how much has changed in our world since the early nineties. Under the leadership of Philip Mondor, the organization has been providing solid advice and recommendations to government on policy, as well as comprehensive HR services to businesses, sector associations, and myriad stakeholders since its inception some thirty years ago.

Given the enormous workforce shortages in Canada’s visitor economy, THRC is more important than ever. At its annual Tourism Labour Market Forum in Ottawa this week, THRC briefed some 100 stakeholders from across Canada on the dire state and rapidly changing nature of the tourism workforce, new policies that need to be implemented or affirmed, and where our industry must focus its efforts to solve the severe staff shortages in every part of the country.

I can’t even begin to download all of the information I gleaned from the two-day session. However, I do wish to share a few interesting observations that might help a few tourism colleagues recalibrate their HR strategies moving forward. Some of this may be familiar to you but still worth mentioning. For example:

We’re starting to see a movement where instead of employees, companies are hiring only contractors (e.g. gig workers) to fulfill a specific role on either a full-time or seasonal basis; the chasm between the skills needed by employers and those offered by workers is growing wider; the rise of social equality and equity is a huge factor in where people are choosing to work; recruiting workers has become more of a community effort given obstacles such as accessible transportation and affordable housing; and prioritizing mental health and wellness is now equally acknowledged by employers and staff.

Each one of these ‘trends’ present both a huge challenge and opportunity, and that’s where organizations like Tourism HR Canada and BC’s own go2HR can help steer our industry in the right direction.

The THRC Forum also heard from Keith Henry of the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada who spoke about the need for a federal government led Indigenous labour strategy… a concept that’s already been initiated by Indigenous Tourism BC (ITBC) here at home.

I am encouraged to see so much good work being done by all the aforementioned organizations, as well as many others in British Columbia and across the country to address the issues pertaining to recruiting and retaining tourism workers to meet the growing demand.

For TIABC, our role has and will continue to be focussed on workforce related policy changes that benefit the tourism sector specifically…a list of which was included in our federal pre-budget submission with more to come in the weeks ahead after our learnings this week in Ottawa.

In the meantime, congratulations and a sincere thanks to Tourism HR Canada for three decades of outstanding efforts on behalf of Canada’s visitor economy. As the hardest working individual in the industry, Philip has been there almost since day one and can recall every single year of his tenure, which is quite a feat. Normally I can’t remember what happened three years ago let alone 30 years ago (& yes, I used the World Wide Web to research 1993 trivia), although ironically, 2020 is one year I won’t soon forget.

Walt Judas

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 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! 🎟️
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