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Sep 25, 2023

TIABC Voice of Tourism Newsletter – September 22, 2023



Prior to the pandemic, I played hockey at least once a week for decades but since 2020 I’ve hardly laced up the skates. My gear had been gathering cobwebs until I was recently recruited to rejoin a team I hadn’t played for since the late nineties. When I walked into the dressing room for the first time the other night I thought, “who are these old guys and am I in the right place?”

After the coach gave his usual pep talk on game strategy vis-a-vis forechecking, backchecking, taking lots of shots, and staying out of the penalty box, one of my teammates asked for everyone’s attention to provide instructions on where to locate the defibrillator (AED) if or when necessary. Wait, what? Am I really at the stage in my life where, aside from losing teeth or injuring a limb, the probability of an on-ice medical incident is relatively high?

Suffice it to say, I appreciated the team’s preparation in the event a player experiences a heart attack during a game. As you know, when it comes to safety, one can never be too prepared.

Similarly, in a business context one can never be too prepared for the next crisis. Case in point, our industry has been dealing with wildfires, drought, highways closures, political disputes, air route cancellations, rampant crime, and other major issues for the better part of 2023, let alone the last several years.

For the most part, the tourism sector has responded well during various crises but not necessarily in advance of emergencies. And although there is a solid tourism emergency management framework in place, lack of resources and organizational capacity, a disconnect between the tourism sector and local emergency support services, and multiple other factors have caused a series of problems that need to be addressed to avoid the same mistakes going forward.

Earlier this week at UBCM, Bowinn Ma, the Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness BC told delegates that new emergency management legislation will be introduced in October and will focus on 13 different areas ranging from critical infrastructure and tools for response, to Indigenous authority in emergency management, and financial assistance in relation to losses from emergency events.

This legislation was to have been tabled two years ago but was postponed due to COVID. During the consultation period, TIABC took the lead on behalf the Tourism Emergency Management Committee ((TEMC) to submit a brief to inform the bill on behalf of the tourism industry. However, only one or two of our recommendations have been incorporated into the Disaster Risk Reduction, Response and Recovery framework to date.

Next week, the TEMC and the Tourism Emergency Response Team (TERT) will reconvene to capture lessons learned from various crises this year, as well as map out strategies and actions to advocate to government for additional resources to execute preparation, mitigation, response, and recovery measures, develop better communication processes during an emergency, employ technology solutions for accommodation to help displaced residents and visitors, conduct research to understand direct and indirect impacts of various crises, and more. Our goal is to ensure that many of our recommendations are incorporated as regulations at the very least.

Admittedly, every year there are new scenarios that catch us a bit flat-footed and playing catch-up in the response and recovery phase of an emergency, as opposed to focussing on preparation and mitigation in advance of a crisis. As you can appreciate, much work has been done by the TEMC and TERT in recent years but there is much more to do given that emergencies in one form or another are anticipated for the foreseeable future. Rest-assured, we’ll be working closely with and lobbying the province to advance our sector’s interests on this critical file.

Although I was comforted to know that my oldtimers hockey team keeps an AED on hand for every game, I also realized I’d never seen one used before. When I returned home from the rink I watched an online tutorial on defibrillators in case I ever need to use one on a teammate. Hopefully that won’t happen but one can never be too prepared for an emergency whether at home, in the backcountry, on the water, at work, at the arena, or wherever you happen to be.

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