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FAQ

Frequently asked questions regarding Destination British Columbia and the tourism industry.



Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Who was consulted on the creation of Destination British Columbia (Destination BC)?

  • The Tourism Industry Association of BC (TIABC) established a Provincial Destination Marketing Organization Task Force in 2011 to develop options to discuss with government regarding a new tourism marketing organization. Government engaged with TIABC’s Task Force on various governance and funding options. TIABC is supportive of the new Crown corporation.
  • In addition, government, through the Minister responsible for Tourism, consulted with many tourism stakeholders about a new provincial destination marketing organization.

How will Destination BC be funded? What will it cost government?

  • For 2013/14, Destination BC will receive $48.89 M in funding from the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training. This is the same amount of money that government has spent on tourism marketing for the last few years.
  • Government has committed that the source of Destination BC’s funding will be converted to be a portion of sales tax revenue starting April 1, 2014.
  • Tourism BC, the former tourism Crown corporation, was funded through a portion of hotel room tax. At that time the Hotel Room Tax Act (HRTA) existed to facilitate this.
  • The Hotel Room Tax was reinstated with the re-introduction of the Provincial Sales Tax (PST). However, it is now covered in the Provincial Sales Tax Act (PSTA) instead of the HRTA. The PSTA does not require hotels to separately report hotel tax revenue – this is part of the streamlining. This is because the new PSTA simplifies and reduces administration and compliance costs for tourism sector businesses – a specific commitment of government with the return to the PST.
  • The Destination BC Corp. Act established Destination BC as a statutory Crown corporation.
  • The legislation establishes that the funding for the corporation will be based on a percentage of provincial sales tax activity. The legislation does not however specify what portion of provincial sales tax will fund Destination BC.
  • As accommodation businesses no longer separately register, collect, report and remit tax revenue in relation to accommodation activity, defining an appropriate funding formula for Destination BC within the new PST regime requires a more detailed description best addressed through regulations.
  • Government intends to work with the tourism industry during 2013 to develop an appropriate formula that recognizes the sector’s contribution to provincial sales tax revenues received from the tourism sector.
  • The initial tax revenue will be set so that it is at $48.89 million.
  • Once funding is based on a portion of the provincial sales tax, Destination BC’s revenue will increase as tax revenue increases, and decrease if tax revenue decreases.

Why is the funding formula in regulations and not in legislation? How is this in keeping with the Premier’s commitment for funding certainty for Destination BC?

  • The legislation provides that Destination BC funding will be a portion of provincial sales tax revenue which meets the Premier’s commitment and gives funding certainty to Destination BC.
  • Defining an appropriate funding formula for Destination BC within the new PST regime requires a more detailed description best addressed through regulations.
  • Government intends to work with the tourism industry during 2013 to develop an appropriate formula that recognizes the sector’s contribution to provincial sales tax revenues received from the tourism sector.

Who will control the Crown corporation?

  • Government will be the sole shareholder. The Board of Destination BC is composed of business and tourism leaders chosen by tourism industry representatives. The Board will guide the activities of Destination BC, based on the mandate provided to it by government.

How will the new Crown corporation be made accountable to government?

The new corporation will be made accountable to government through the following:

  • Government will approve the organization’s goals, objectives and performance measures, Service Plans and Service Plan Reports;
  • A Government Letter of Expectations will establish mandate and high level expectations;
  • Government will control executive compensation, board remuneration and the funding formula for the corporation;
  • Government will have final say over who is appointed to the board and government can rescind appointments to the board, but the Destination BC Board will recommend a shortlist of potential directors; and
  • The Minister responsible and the Minister of Finance are able to issue written directives that are consistent with the Act and regulations, to the corporation.

How will the new Crown corporation be accountable to tourism stakeholders?

  • The Tourism Marketing Committee will provide advice to the Board and CEO on matters related to marketing strategies, annual and three-year marketing priorities and outcomes and tourism performance indicators. The marketing committee will be comprised of three members nominated by each of the six tourism regions.
  • Other tourism stakeholders will have many opportunities to work with Destination BC staff and the board to provide input and advice.

Who has appointed the board?

  • Qualified members of the public were invited to apply to vacant board positions, which were posted on the Board Resourcing and Development Office (BRDO) website in November 2012. As a result of a comprehensive search process, close to 130 applicants were identified. Applicants were then evaluated based on qualifications and experience, and a short list of 27 candidates was developed by the Minister responsible for Tourism.  From this list, nine people were selected by members of the tourism industry, the TIABC BC PDMO Task Force and the Minister’s Council on Tourism and appointed by the Minister.
  • The Board is not a “representative” stakeholder board. It is a skills based business board as requested by the industry task force. Not only is this good board governance practice, it would be impossible to represent all regions and all tourism-product representatives on a reasonably sized board.

What is the role of the Tourism Marketing Committee? How will city DMOs and sector associations be represented?

  • The legislation requires the Board to establish a Tourism Marketing Committee. A key role of this committee will be to provide the Board and CEO with input on tourism marketing strategies, performance indicators and recommendations on how to encourage collaboration and joint funding of marketing programs between private industry and Destination BC.
  • Each of the six Tourism Regions will be asked to nominate three individuals, who have expertise in tourism marketing. The Regions will provide names from various stakeholder groups, which may include individuals associated with city DMOs and sector associations, representing all areas of the province.
  • Two Destination BC Directors will represent the Destination BC Board on the committee, which will be chaired by the Destination BC CEO.
  • The Tourism Marketing Committee will not be responsible for determining staffing or resource allocations for the organization.

Will Destination BC be able to issue multi-year contracts?

  • Yes, the corporation has the authority to issue multi-year contracts. The Board and CEO will work with staff to review contract options for the corporation’s various stakeholder groups.

Is the Board undertaking a brand review?

  • Destination BC will continue to utilise the Super, Natural British Columbia® brand, to market BC as a tourism destination to consumers in all key markets, until any new direction is determined by the Board and CEO, based on consumer research and consultation with industry.

How will the corporation be staffed?

  • As of April 1, Destination BC has approximately 130 staff positions, with most based in Vancouver and Victoria. The corporation is subject to the Public Service Act to ensure that the employees who transitioned from government to the corporation can retain their pension and benefit status.
  • The Board has already established a Human Resource committee and a top priority for the organisation during the first year of operations will be to ensure that Destination BC has the best leaders and staff to market BC on the world stage.

How will Destination BC be different from Tourism BC?

  • The primary concern with Tourism BC was a lack of accountability to both government and tourism stakeholders. The new corporation is an improvement for a number of reasons, including the Board’s legislated requirement to establish a Tourism Marketing Committee with representatives nominated by tourism regions, which will allow for greater industry engagement.
  • In addition, the legislation provides greater accountability to government through the process of appointing the Board of Directors. The Board will submit names of individuals they recommend for membership on the Board; the Minister may recommend these individuals or any other individual for appointment.

How do the purposes and mandate of Destination BC compare with the purposes of Tourism BC?

  • The purposes and mandate under the legislation encompass those of the former Tourism BC, but have been updated to reflect recent input from the industry and the interests of government.
  • For example, Tourism BC’s mandate included items such as "enhancing professionalism in the tourism industry" and "encouraging and facilitating the creation of jobs in the tourism industry". The purposes of the new corporation are meant to capture those concepts, but in more concrete language.
  • The purposes of Destination BC include "promoting the development and growth of the tourism industry in British Columbia to increase revenue and employment in, and the economic benefits generated by, the industry". The legislation sets out some specifics, including, "providing industry leadership in tourism marketing" and "promoting training and development in relation to tourism marketing".
  • The purposes also clarify that the corporation is to provide advice and recommendations to the Minister on tourism related matters. Tourism BC lacked anything similar in its mandate. Another purpose is to enhance public awareness of tourism and its economic value to British Columbians which, again, was not provided for in the mandate of Tourism BC.

A purpose of Destination BC is to provide support for regional, sectoral and community tourism marketing [s. 4(b)(i)]. What kind of support would this include?

  • The corporation will continue to maintain its current support for regions, communities and sectors until any new direction is determined by the Board and CEO.
  • Current support for regional marketing is provided through consultation and collaboration with the six Regional Destination Marketing Organisations. The corporation also supports communities and sectors develop and implement tourism marketing plans.
  • In addition to direct consumer marketing, the mandate of Destination BC also includes key industry services such as tourism-related market research, visitor servicing, product development and training.

A purpose is to provide support for visitor centres [s.4(b)(iv)]. What would this include?

  • The Corporation will continue the contractual arrangement currently in place until any new direction is determined by the Board and CEO.
  • Current support for approximately 107 community visitors centres is provided through the Visitor Network Program and includes annual fee-for-service funding in recognition of provincial and regional servicing, professional development and skills training to ensure service levels are delivered to visitors throughout the province and consistent branding to increase awareness and recognition. Six gateway Visitor Centres at key entryways to the province deliver visitor services and are operated via professional service contracts.?

The purposes of Destination BC include providing advice and recommendations to the minister [s.4(c)]. How will this work?

  • Destination BC will provide advice and recommendations to the Minister via the CEO and Board chair on key tourism industry trends, opportunities and shifts in strategic direction. There is continued liaison with Ministry Tourism Strategy and Policy staff on these areas as well.

One of the provisions in the purposes section is "administering and performing agreements assigned to it by the minister". What types of agreements are contemplated [s.4(e)]?

  • This would include any agreements that would be generated by the CEO and Board working directly with the Minister. Direction has been provided to Destination BC through the Government Letter of Expectations. Other direction could relate to further connecting Destination BC to the broader government agenda and policies.

What Tourism functions remain in government?

Government is responsible for the following:

  • Creating, monitoring and reviewing policy that affects tourism development and marketing;
  • Providing input on government policy as it impacts on tourism; and
  • Acting as the key ministry contact for and with Destination BC.

How do other jurisdictions manage tourism marketing?

Alberta:

  • Travel Alberta is a Crown corporation. In addition to the Board of Directors, there is a Strategic Tourism Marketing Council that provides advice to Travel Alberta regarding delivery of tourism marketing programs and provides advice to the Minister on issues that affect tourism marketing.
  • Funding comes from a 4% tourism levy on the purchase price of accommodation in properties with four or more rooms.
  • 2012/13 Budget - $53 million

Ontario:

  • Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation is a Legislated Authority. In addition to a 12-person board, there are four Advisory Committees. The mandate includes marketing Ontario in domestic, national and international markets plus the operation of Ontario Travel Centres, Marketing Research and Product Enhancement, and Partnerships.
  • Funding comes from General Revenue.
  • 2012/13 Budget - $41.5 million (excluding funding for Regional Tourism Associations)

Saskatchewan:

  • In the 2012/13 budget, the Government announced that Tourism Saskatchewan would lose its status as an autonomous organization and instead become a Crown corporation.
  • Tourism Saskatchewan, as a Crown corporation is responsible for developing and promoting tourism in Saskatchewan including marketing, visitor services, education and training, and product and industry development.
  • 2012/13 Budget - $12.181 million