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BC Government Slashes Tourism to Second Rate Status

November 26th, 2014 · No Comments

So much for BC being a WORLD CLASS tourist destination!

Remember all they hype as various government poured BILLIONS of PUBLIC DOLLARS into hosting a World’s Fair, the  Olympics, new Convention Centre, Sea to Sky Highway?

It was all supposed to make BC a WORLD CLASS TOURIST DESINATION … bringing  millions more visitors, spending billions more dollars throughout the entire province … cashing in on what throughout much of the world has become a First Class money and job-generating industry: TOURISM.

Not in BC!

Ask the tourism, restaurant and hotel operators in Vancouver and throughout Vancouver Island about whether government policies have helped or hurt TOURISM on the Island; ask hotel and tourism promoters in the Okanagan and the rest of the Interior about their views of current BC government tourism promotion policies and programs and what kind of a tourist year they’ve had; and ask people who depend n tourism for their jobs up in the Chilcotin.

And ask all of them about what kind of impact they’ve felt from high prices and service cuts on BC Ferries …while the Liberal government say by and did nothing.

Actually, you don’t even have to ask.

Tourism operators in the West Chilcotin issued a report this week saying BC Ferry cuts ALONE have cost them $4 Million in lost tourism revenues … while the ferry corp saved $725,000.

“The government did not undertake a single economic study before making these reckless cuts. Not one,” said Petrus Rykes, vice president of the West Chilcotin Tourism Association, in a release. “This is the first comprehensive review of the impact these changes have had, and it confirms our worst fears. The government has managed to cost itself money, not save it.”

And that’s not the NDP saying it: that’s from a BUSINESS organization in BC’s “heartland”.

“Transportation Minister Todd Stone gutted tourism in this region with these cuts, and the bleeding is going to continue for years if it’s not stopped,” Rykes added. “There are phenomenal growth opportunities for tourism here, if the government would only stop being hostile to its own best interests and the best interests of the region.”

Does this sound like a true BC government commitment to an industry that provides hundreds of thousands of jobs by welcoming millions of people into the province

And don’t think the tourists aren’t noticing and won’t tell others back home.  The Chilcotin study reported visitors expressed Even worse, the government is planning to make things even more difficult and unwelcoming for visitors.

In a column in The Province, Michael Smyth reported the government is CLOSING its two tourist information centres at Vancouver Airport…one at the domestic arrivals and one at the US/International arrivals …offering vistors nothing, nada, rien, nunca in the way of tourism advice, assistance or help finding their way anywhere.

And I can tell you personally how important Visitor Information can be.

Just a few weeks ago, I flew into Rome’s Leonardo de Vinci airport, armed with a reservation at a hotel right at the airport, supposedly an easy stroll “along a moving sidewalk” right to the hotel.

Easy, eh!

Until you arrive at this huge airport, with several terminals, thousands of passengers and all kinds of pictograms and international language signs directing you everywhere and to every service  … buses, cars, rentals, customs, arrivals, departures, toilets ….   except to the moving sidewalk or the hotel.

Thankfully, there was a Tourista Informatione desk, where I waited in line as did SEVERAL other passengers needing help …in SEVERAL languages.  With the tourism office staff help, I was soon on my way ..towards another terminal, up to the THIRD level  and then down a hallway to find the moving sidewalks …five of them …where my hotel was located …right at the end of the last one!

I shudder to think of how terrible my experience arriving at Rome airport and finding the hotel would have been without that Tourista Informatione desk! And its English-speaking staff.

And I can assure you if there was no info booth and I couldn’t get easy help, my whole experience in visiting Rome/Italy would have been severely tainted and would have become part of narrative in recounting the turmoil I encountered there.

So it amazes and appalls me that in BC, the government is shutting down the Tourist Info booths at Vancouver Airport  … which served 180,000 people last year, to save $500,000.

$500,000 !!!!   For two fully staffed info booths open all day and almost all night at prime locations inside YVR:   that’s a pittance in terms of what tourism through YVR brings to BC.

This from a government that spent $11 MILLION on a Bollywood party!

Probably one of those ridiculous moves the Liberal have made … and further proof that they neither understand nor appreciate the importance of tourism or tourist info offices.

And by the way … also on the block …five other BC Tourism Info offices in the province: at the Peace Arch, Merritt, Osoyoos, Mount Robson and Golden.

Maybe they’ll save enough in “dissing” tourists and tourism to make a dozen more BIG parties …for their friends.

Harv Oberfeld

→ No CommentsTags: British Columbia · National

CBC Tanks; CTV Triumphs on Election Coverage

November 21st, 2014 · 28 Comments

The final numbers from the civic elections are in … and, no, I’m talking about the mail-in ballots.

This is about the IMPORTANT numbers … if you’re in the media, a media junkie …or an advertising buyer: election night TV ratings.

CBC had a HUGE advantage, going to its election coverage Saturday right out of Hockey Night in Canada …so in the opening moments the local Vancouver CBC outlet led all other stations … and then tanked, reportedly ending up third out of the three local network stations.

And that’s REALLY bad when you consider that Global TV didn’t even bother offering full election coverage on its CHAN flagship, but relegated it to its sidebar cousin BC1 , which isn’t even offered to Telus or Bell cable subscribers. (By the way, why is that? Corporate censorship? Or just a competitive snit?)

The winner: CTV … drawing 133,000 viewers…  peaking at 183,800 at one point.  And even I’m impressed with that …considering it was, after all, civic election results and on  a Saturday night to boot.

What the numbers also showed is how Global continues to pay a price …lower ratings … for its dismissal of local election coverage.

Not only did they relegate their comprehensive coverage to BC1, they didn’t even bring in Chris Gailus to anchor the results, analysis. Surprising for a station that advertises itself so widely as “BC’s News” station.

I guess not … if it involves weekend overtime for its prime-time anchor or interferes with Saturday night American programming.

Or was this just a stage rehearsal for some Shaw Global plan to eventually relegate all or most of its news coverage to BC1, so it can cash in by putting MORE dramas, reality shows and American programming on CHAN.

And the worst part of it all…the CRTC is complicit in allowing … even in my view encouraging …the billionaire media corporations to slash and kill off local news coverage.

But here are the BBM results for the “Special” election night programs, in the all-important 25-54 years old demographic:

CTV’s Election 2014 …  a 3.1 rating; Global’s BC1 News Special … 1.3 rating; and, CBC’s Election Special … a 0.7 rating.

And the unkindest wound?

It was CTV that was up on the big screens and most widely watched at various civic party election headquarters.

Lucky I’m retired.

If I was still working for Global …I would have been devastated by that and any decision to NOT carry an election special on our major station.

But the saddest part: I’m not sure that anyone cares anymore.

Harv Oberfeld




→ 28 CommentsTags: British Columbia · Media