Rethink: Tourism Master Plan

Vancouver's first ever Tourism Master Plan now has the blessing of Tourism Vancouver, the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Economic Commission, and is ready for your perusal.

In the master plan document (click here), you'll also find a situational analysis of the key assets, constraints and opportunities facing Vancouver's tourism industry; the goals that were set at the start of the process; recommendations in eight areas of focus, from product development to transportation; and ideas for implementation of the plan.

Tourism Master Plan Background

The Vancouver Tourism Master Plan (TMP) follows the Rethink Vancouver visioning process conducted in 2011 which recommended seven actions be taken by Tourism Vancouver, including the creation by Tourism Vancouver and the City of Vancouver of a Tourism Master Plan. Furthermore, this TMP has been designed to build on the four key pillars of destination management identified by Rethink:

  • Marketing: Develop a unified tourism industry, allowing collaboration on marketing where appropriate with a focus on tourism customers.
  • Planning: Encourage a regional Tourism Master Plan with a focus on stakeholder interests.
  • Policy: Establish a forum to develop industry consensus with a focus on influencing policy makers.
  • Product: Build energy through product development with a focus on attracting investors.

The TMP is intended to close the gap between the demand side of the equation (Tourism Vancouver / visitors and new markets) and the supply side (new products and services / tourism business owners /investors and policy makers at the City and other levels of government). The TMP is also intended to provide a consensus between the stakeholders who participate in decision making on tourism-related development for the City and advising investors /businesses on where they should be putting their energies. A broad range of input and opinions have been considered as part of this process with more than 180 one-on one stakeholder interviews conducted by Resonance Consultancy and participation of more than 2,000 Vancouver residents and business leaders via an online survey.

Based on this input, key issues and opportunities for potential products, amenities, programming and experiences broadly supported by both the tourism industry and Vancouver residents have been identified in areas such as transportation, visitor experience, events, product development, partnerships and alliances, tourism infrastructure, marketing of neighbourhoods, and public affairs and advocacy on tourism related policies and issues.

To view the Vancouver Tourism Master Plan presentation, from Tourism Vancouver's AGM (June 13, 2013), please click here.

To view the final report of the Vancouver Tourism Master Plan, please click here.

The video below defines a Tourism Master Plan and explains how it can benefit a destination. In the video, Tourism Vancouver's former President and CEO Rick Antonson and Resonance Consultancy's Richard Cutting-Miller each explain the purpose of a tourism master plan and its importance to the growth of tourism in the city.


B.C. Liquor Review

At the end of September 2013, Tourism Vancouver invited members to share their thoughts on B.C.'s liquor laws with the government, through an online survey. Tourism Vancouver then compiled those results along with research from the Vancouver Tourism Master Plan, and submitted it to Mr. John Yap, Chair, BC Liquor Review, Parliamentary Secretary to Attorney General and Minister of Justice, on October 17, 2013. The government has now released the B.C. Liquor Policy Review Final Report. The report addresses many of the suggestions made by Tourism Vancouver members, in fact it has an entire chapter on the importance of economic growth, jobs, tourism and marketing (pages 20 -26).

From the online member survey, some 75% of the nearly 400 businesses that responded were of the view that current liquor regulations negatively impact Vancouver's ability to compete as a destination. When asked to rank a number of issues based on their importance and how they impact their business, the number one ranked issue was liquor licencing, followed by purchasing of liquor only through the BCLDB, Taxes on liquor purchases and BCLDB pricing system.Members were asked to include any comments relating to BC liquor regulations that they would like to share with Minister Yap. There were common themes such as, the need to serve liquor in other public areas (parks, beaches, festivals, hallways, etc.), prices and taxes are too high compared to other destinations, need longer hours to serve liquor, including Happy Hour and lack of wholesale prices.

To view Tourism Vancouver's submission to Mr. John Yap, Chair, BC Liquor Review, please click here.

Highlights from the B.C. Liquor Policy Review Final Report include:

  • Creating a licensing system that responds to emerging marketplace realities and reflects current lifestyles and societal values.
  • Providing flexibility for businesses and removing operational barriers, to help grow the economy while protecting public safety.
  • Recognizing the importance of jobs and investment in the hospitality, tourism and agri-foods sectors, in support of the BC Jobs Plan and continued economic growth.
  • Ensuring a sustainable liquor manufacturing sector.
  • Providing for an efficient and effective liquor distribution system.

To view the B.C. Liquor Policy Review Final Report click here.

Rethink Background:

In the wake of the highly successful Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games, the opening of the expanded Vancouver Convention Centre and the promise of a decade of tourism ahead, the time was right for stakeholders to come together to map out a vision and roadmap for destination marketing in Vancouver. The idea behind Rethink was to carry out a strategic assessment that was intended to respond to two key questions:

  1. What is it that the tourism industry would like to accomplish together in the coming decade?
  2. What, then, does destination marketing for Vancouver look like going forward, beginning in 2011?

The project was structured in two phases:

  1. Phase One (May-December 2010) focused on delivering a comprehensive strategy that would Rethink what it would take for Vancouver to achieve competitive advantage as a destination.
    > Rethink Phase: 1 Report

  2. Phase Two (January-May 2011) responded to this strategy with a Rethink of Tourism Vancouver as a key agency to deliver success.
    > Rethink Phase 2 Tourism Industry Summit Presentation
    > Rethink Phase 2 Tourism Industry Summit Notes

For a copy of the letter from James Terry Chair, Rethink Advisory Council and Chair, Tourism Vancouver, click here.

Rethink Vancouver 2012 onwards:

The board of Tourism Vancouver endorsed the report in draft, and took the decision to move forward on the following recommendations:

  1. Work with appropriate partners to form the Lower Mainland Tourism Alliance.
  2. Work with the City of Vancouver to embark on a tourism master planning process for Vancouver. For full details and updates about Vancouver’s Tourism Master Plan, visit
  3. Formalize Tourism Vancouver’s role in destination management and operate as a Destination Marketing and Management Organization (DMMO).
  4. Pursue a collaborative process to develop a broad community vision (a “World City”) for Vancouver.
  5. Focus resources on securing at least one major convention and one major event for each month of the year, every year, from 2012 – 2020.
  6. Pursue a network organizational model as a new approach toward engaging the tourism industry and stakeholders in building more business from key markets.
  7. Work with the Hotel Association of Vancouver (HAV) to form a “Coalition of interests”.

For a copy of the Rethink Vancouver Update, click here.