Voice of the BC Tourism Industry

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Board of Directors

Vivek Sharma

Chair / CEO, Fairmont Hot Springs Resort

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Vivek Sharma is a hospitality and tourism professional with more than 25 years of experience in the global tourism & hospitality industry. His career has taken him around the world. With assignments in Canada from coast to coast, the Caribbean Islands, North America, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, spanning more than seven countries, he has delivered benchmark-setting growth and expansions for hospitality and service focused organizations.  Vivek is currently the CEO of the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort.

A decisive senior leader with a consistent track record of high-level performance, Vivek applies his background in global, multi-cultural environments to provide strategic and operational leadership at both a corporate and property level.

JJ Belanger

Vice Chair / General Manager, Crystal Cove Resort - Tofino, BC

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JJ is the General Manager of the spectacular Crystal Cove Beach Resort in Tofino, BC where he oversees the daily operations of this award winning year round resort that is comprised of 70 full service RV lots and 34 modern beachfront and beach view log cabins.

Barry Zwueste

Treasurer / CEO, St. Eugene Golf Resort and Casino - Cranbrook, BC

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Barry Zwueste has an extensive and successful background in the tourism and hospitality industry primarily in Alberta and British Columbia. He is currently serving as a Director for the BC Hotel Association following a twelve-year Board position with the Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association where he ascended to the position of First Vice-Chair and held, at various times, positions as Chairman of their Finance, Government Relations and Membership Services pillars as well as Chairman for their Destination Marketing Fund Review Task Force. He was awarded a Life Membership by the AHLA in 2012.

Throughout his career, Barry has been an advocate for tourism. He was actively engaged in the Community Tourism Action Plan for Jasper, Alberta and was elected to the Jasper Townsite Committee in 1990. He was also a founding Director of the Canmore Kananaskis Tourism Association. Barry was Co-Chair of the West Edmonton Destination Marketing Fund (DMF) and Chair of the Edmonton DMF from 2005 to 2011.

Barry is currently C.E.O. for the St. Eugene Golf Resort and Casino which, in addition to the fabulous amenities that already exist at the resort has, under his direction, added a new 120 site RV Park which will be the most spectacular in the Kootenays. In the spring of 2018 St. Eugene added a unique hands-on, experiential, Ktunaxa First Nations program which will provide authentic Ktunaxa experiences including an authentic overnight tipi experience.

Prior to joining St. Eugene, Barry has held senior executive positions at prestigious resort and city-centre hotels across Canada primarily with the former Canadian Pacific Hotel family.

Jim Humphrey

Past Chair / Owner, Beaver Lake Resort - Lake Cowichan, BC

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A veteran of the Canadian Navy, Jim owns and operates Beaver Lake Resort – a 64 site RV, tenting and cabins resort – in the Cowichan Valley. Beaver Lake Resort has been a member of the BC Lodging and Campgrounds Association (BCLCA) since 2001 and Jim has been on the board of BCLCA for the past 12 years, serving as the Secretary/Treasurer, VP of Lodging, and most recently as President. Jim is a member of the Canadian Camping and RVing Council where he represents the interests of BC.

Jim has been an active volunteer board member for many years. He was an administrator for local, provincial and national minor hockey organizations for nearly 35 years, he served on the Cowichan Lake District Chamber of Commerce for 10 years (including seven years as President) and he is the current TIABC Past Chair.

Jim enjoys volunteerism and feels that a person’s life is fuller by giving back to society. He looks forward to continuing his work at the provincial level on the board of the Tourism Industry Association of BC.

Michael J. Ballingall

Director / Senior VP, Marketing & Sales, Big White Ski Resort

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Michael J. is the Senior Vice-President, Marketing & Sales at Big White Ski Resort. He has spent his career in marketing and sales at Big White Ski Resort and has sat on numerous boards that focused on marketing, strategy, the path to purchase and sales, he believes it is now time to offer this expertise as a voice in this industry.

Sitting with likeminded TIABC colleagues to discuss the vision of British Columbia’s tourism industry and how we maintain our worldwide leadership through acting responsibly in a sustainable way is a good table to sit at.

 

Jennifer Burton

Director / President, Pacific Destinations, Inc.

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Jennifer Burton is the President of Pacific Destinations Inc. (PDS), a Vancouver-based destination management and event production company.

 

Jennifer brings 20 years of industry experience.  Over the past 5 years, Jennifer strategically facilitated PDS’ expansion into Alberta.   In 2020, confronted with the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Jennifer led the PDS team in developing an effective business plan to protect the company’s viability. 

Jennifer has successfully pivoted PDS’s strategy while maintaining a fiscally stable position that will sustain company operations through to industry recovery.  Jennifer has been a key contributor to the BC Meetings & Events Industry, COVID-19 Safe Restart Guidelines. As well, she is a member of the BC Meetings & Events Industry Working Group focused on designing a safe reopening plan for this important sector of the tourism economy.  

Born and raised in Vancouver, Jennifer earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Victoria and has recent Project Management training from the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business. She is also a Destination Management Certified Professional.

Jennifer has a long history of contributing her time and skills to her community. She has held management positions with both the National Ballet of Canada and Canadian Cancer Society. As a keen runner and marathoner, Jennifer spent 3- years volunteering on the planning committee for the Vancouver Sun Run.

Beverley DeSantis

Director / CEO, Tourism Kamloops

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Beverley is the CEO of Tourism Kamloops. Her previous sector experience provides her the opportunity to build strategic relationships with industry partners, government, not for profit organizations, post-secondary educational institutes, and community and Indigenous leaders.

Beverley has served as Director for Business Link Alberta where she supported entrepreneurs in start-up and developing their businesses. Beverley has a unique blend of expertise and experience in areas related to business, regional and international tourism, education and social enterprise with over 30 years in private, public and government sectors.

Beverley also holds a Master’s Degree in Tourism Marketing & Management and has Board experience which includes Director, Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association, TRU University School of Business Dean’s Council, Western Canada Theatre, Chair, Laurie Radloff Foundation Plan Canada (Past), Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta (Past), Victoria Central Business Association (Past), Southern Alberta Institute of Technology School of Hospitality (Past).

Barrett Fisher

Director / President & CEO, Tourism Whistler

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Barrett Fisher is the President & CEO of Tourism Whistler. She brings to her position more than 20 years of tourism experience, and is responsible for marketing, communicating and selling Whistler to the world.

In addition to heading up the destination tourism organization of Research, Marketing, Communications, Media Relations, Travel Trade Relations, Conference Sales, Events and Partnerships, Fisher oversees the operations of the Whistler Conference Centre, the Whistler Golf Club, the Whistler Visitor Centre and Whistler.com Central Reservations.

Before becoming President & CEO, Barrett held a number of key positions with Tourism Whistler, including President, Vice President of Marketing & Sales, Vice President of Marketing, Director of Marketing, and Director of Advertising & Promotion.

Barrett served on the board of the Vancouver Organizing Committee of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games for 10 years from 2003 to 2013, and she is a past board member of the Whistler Chamber of Commerce and the Pemberton Airport Authority.

Dennis Innes

Director / Dean of Hospitality, Culinary & Baking Vancouver, Community College

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Dennis Innes has been in adult education for most of his career, first as a teacher and Director of Studies at Language Studies Canada (LSC) and then as a faculty member and Dean for the past five years at Vancouver Community College (VCC).  

Dennis is currently the Dean of Hospitality, Culinary and Baking at VCC and has developed a solid understanding of the departments.  Additionally, Dennis is a member of the BC Association of Trades and Technology Administrators (BCATTA) as well as the Deans of Business and sits on the Provincial Articulation Committees of Business and Culinary Arts programming. In his role as Dean and as a member of the VCC Program Advisory Committees for our hospitality, culinary arts and baking programs, he has gained substantial insight into the training providers, students and hospitality industry. In past years, Dennis was the president of the Board at Mt Seymour Park Housing Co-operative and is currently the president of the Board of Directors of BC Skills and sits on the Board of Helios Learning Point Society, which serves to support people with differing abilities.

Ian MacPhee

Director / Controller, Prince of Whales

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Ian has been passionately involved in the Vancouver Island tourism industry since 2003 initially as a partner/innkeeper at Abbeymoore Manor Bed & Breakfast Inn. Abbeymoore is one of Canada’s most respected B&B Inns having won numerous awards including TripAdvisor’s Traveller’s Choice award in 2010 as the #2 B&B in the world.

Ian currently heads up the accounting, administration & business development departments at Victoria’s Prince of Whales marine adventure company. Founded in 1995, Prince of Whales is BC’s largest marine adventure company having thrilled over half a million visitors and locals alike.

Ian is active in the tourism community having served as Vice Chair, Governance and Membership Committees on Tourism Victoria’s Board of Directors for 10 years. An advisor on the Professional Association of Innkeepers International, Marketing Director and Treasurer on the BC Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers Guild, Treasurer at Victoria’s Historic Inns, President of the Best Inns Victoria and Treasurer for the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Columbia Lodge #2.

Mike Retasket

Director / Director, Cariboo Chilocotin Coast Tourism

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Mike Retasket is very enthused for this opportunity as a potential member for Tourism Industry Association of BC and brings many positive strengths and commitment.  Mike has made significant contributions into many areas of aboriginal tourism, aboriginal issues of Title and Rights, culture, education and leadership. Mike is a champion for traditional knowledge and cultural and heritage values and is a storyteller, Traditional Pipe Carrier, Dancer, Drummer, and Singer.  He is a compassionate, analytical and focused professional who has the ability to utilize problem-solving, exceptional communication and patience in providing guidance in negotiations with third parties or Government organizations.

Mike currently serves as a Director on the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association and New Pathways to Gold Society and has served on numerous other Boards including the Thompson Basin Fisheries Council, Fraser Basin Council, First Nation Emergency Services, Forest Stewardship Council, Indigenous Caucus, Shuswap Nation Tribal Council Executive, First Nations Forestry Council – Secretary/Treasurer, Mountain Pine Beetle Working Group (appointed member) and Blueprint Implementation Advisory Committee.  Mike has also served five terms as Chief of the Bonaparte Indian Band, Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs/Secretary Treasurer, and a Founding Member of BC First Nations Leadership Council.

Brenda Baptiste

Director / Chair, Indigenous Tourism BC

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Brenda Baptiste is the project manager for the Osoyoos Indian Band Centre for Aboriginal Community Enterprise – a leading edge leadership training program that is inspired by the innovative economic development model of the Osoyoos Indian Band. Previously she was responsible for the development of the Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre, including managing Phase 1 of this operation, and playing a key role in the planning and development of the second and final phase of this centre.

As a consultant, Brenda worked with Tourism British Columbia to support the development of Aboriginal communities that are involved in tourism. As a champion for Aboriginal Tourism, her focus was to build capacity and opportunity with the belief that Aboriginal tourism balances socio-economic development with heritage preservation and promotion.

As the former chair of Aboriginal Tourism British Columbia, Brenda’s focus was to actively promote tourism as a foundation for socio-economic development for Aboriginal communities. She has committed her energy to the development and promotion of the Aboriginal Cultural Tourism Blueprint Strategy, an innovative and leading edge initiative to develop the Aboriginal tourism industry in BC. She also served as a regional director for the national board of Aboriginal Tourism Canada and other national and regional committees. Brenda continues her work with Aboriginal Tourism British Columbia as an ex-officio member of the board.

Jamie Cox

Director / President, BC Lodging & Campgrounds Association

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Jamie Cox joined the TIABC board in 2018 and has been active with the Membership and Finance committees. Given the opportunity to continue on the board allows him to continue to share his broad industry experience of small, medium and large Tourism operators’ challenges. 

Jamie was raised in the Kootenays, and his tourism career has spanned 40+ years in British Columbia and Alberta. 35 of those years were in the ski industry fulfilling several Senior Management positions at 6 resorts in 6 distinct regions of Western Canada, including Kimberley Mountain Resort, Nakiska Resort, host of the 1988 Olympic Games, Hemlock Valley Ski Resort, Mount Seymour Resort, Lake Louise, and Hudson Bay Mountain Resort. 

Returning to the Kootenays in 2008, Jamie worked with a group to build a full-service grocery market in Crawford Bay, with Jamie in the position of General Manager / Accountant.

Jamie joined the Team of Parkbridge Lifestyles Communities in 2014, managing Gallagher Lake Resort, in the South Okanagan, one of the 38 national resorts owned by Parkbridge.

Jamie served as 2nd vice with the Chamber of Commerce in Smithers, President of the Chamber of Commerce on the East Shore of Kootenay Lake, and President of the South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce. 

In October 2021, Jamie was appointed to the Chair position as President of the BCLCA board.

Jamie is honoured to bring his enthusiasm, experience & open mind to the Board of the Tourism Industry Association of British Columbia.

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