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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

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Wish you were here from Matt Jennings, BC Fishing Tourism Association, at Phillips Lake. 🎣
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Meet Dave Butler, Vice-President, Sustainability at CMH Heli-Skiing & Summer Adventures, as he joins TIABC's Voice of Tourism host Walt Judas to discuss his career path, his work in sustainable tourism, and the challenges business owners and operators are facing in the province today.

You can listen to the Voice of Tourism podcast wherever you get your podcasts. Check us out on Apple, Spotify, iHeart Radio, Amazon Music, Deezer, Podcast Addict and Podchaser. Or listen through the link in bio. 👆
🌅 Wish you were here from Gladys Atrill, Executive Director of Tourism Smithers, at Morin Lake in the Bulkley-Nechako Region! 🏞️
📈 With a view to building a stronger and more strategic relationship, TIABC CEO Walt Judas Met with Joe Baker, Dean of the Okanagan College School of Business in Kelowna. 

Okanagan College will officially break ground on its new Centre for Food, Wine & Tourism in September.
TIABC CEO Walt Judas checked in with Tourism Kelowna CEO Lisanne Ballantyne and TIABC Director Chris Lewis (Tourism Kelowna) while in the Okanagan this week. Walt and Lisanne discussed a range of topics including short-term rentals, emergency preparedness, infrastructure, business on the books and other priorities in the months ahead as the peak of the visitor season unfolds.
👥 TIABC's Membership & Communications Committee convened at the Richmond Oval recently for a strategic planning session that encompassed topics such as values, benefits, structure, fees and opportunities. 

Pictured left to right:
- Deb Kulchiski - TIABC
- Ceri Chong - Tourism Richmond
- Chris Lewis - Tourism Kelowna
- Nicole Ford - Rocky Mountaineer
- J.J. Belanger - Crystal Cove Beach Resort
- Jamie Cox - St. Andrews by the Lake
- Walt Judas - TIABC
- Mike Retasket - CCCT
- Joanne Burns-Millar - Pacific Destinations