As the tourism industry resets at the end of the COVID pandemic, it is imperative to focus on sustainability.
In recent months, Walt Judas, CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of British Columbia (TIABC), has traveled the province talking to tour operators, taking stock of the well-known state of affairs ahead of another busy summer.
“Practically everyone is optimistic,” says Judas. “In other words, business is looking good, bookings are growing, travelers are coming and enjoying the products and services our industry has to offer. The prospects for the future look good.”
This is good news for the industry, and a far cry from the last two years of COVID-related uncertainty, but that doesn’t mean everything is smooth sailing from now on.
Labor, housing and inflation remain hurdles for the industry, as are the lingering effects of the two-year pandemic.
“However, I think what you are seeing is significant burnout as people have been working really hard trying to keep their business afloat and part and parcel of that burnout is just the mental and emotional toll it takes on people. , even physical impact on people.”
Judas says. “I think there is also the realization that, logically, the industry will never be the same, that we need to be more resilient and maybe we need to change our focus a bit.”
How an industry has measured its success may change in the future, or even the kind of products and services offered, Judah cites as an example.
“There is a whole notion of regenerative tourism where you leave a destination better than when you found it, or give something back instead of staying in a place like Whistler for two weeks… but not really getting anything back,” he says.
“So this is likely to change in the future to ensure there is no major impact in terms of environmental or sustainability, and social and cultural terms.”
The concept of sustainable, regenerative tourism has gained momentum throughout the pandemic. Tourism Vancouver Island announced last month that it was certified biosphere by the Responsible Tourism Institute and is rebranding as 4VI, a social enterprise focused on ensuring that travel is a “force for good” for the island and its residents.
According to Brian Kant, 4VI’s VP of Business Impact and Engagement, the application process included a comprehensive analysis of Vancouver Island’s sustainability against 169 indicators aligned with 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and took about a year.
“Last year, as part of this process, we reviewed our organization and the role it plays in the tourism industry. As part of our commitment to ensuring that tourism is always a force for good on Vancouver Island, we now operate as a social enterprise and are committed to advancing the important work of sustainability in the tourism space.”
I can not say.
The certification allows the region…