The baby bird nerds have flown again!

It’s almost been a year since I started this blog, and back in 2017 the impetus for this Tourism Nerd journey was the Tourism Industry Conference and Winning Pitch provincial finals.

If you’ll recall, I was inspired by my students’ resilience in the face of a loss – their optimism, professionalism, and courage blew me away (you can read that post here).

It hardly feels like a year has passed, but yet again BCIT has taken the stage at the Winning Pitch. Today we sent two teams to the Vancouver, Coast and Mountains regionals. This year’s challenge tasked the teams to come up with a business idea that would increase shoulder season visitation to, and within, the region.

One team pitched an idea for a collaboration with First Nations communities outside of Lilooet to create an immersive cultural tourism adventure, called “Land and Lakes Cultural Adventures”.

The second team pitched a hiking experience in Hope tailored to urban LGBTQ+ travellers and their allies, called “Rainbow Tours”.

What can I say about these students?

It amazes me that they are so willing to take on this extra work, on top of their onerous full-time courseloads  (students at BCIT don’t select their courses, it’s a set intensive program).

I’m stunned by their courage, especially those students who are still afraid of public speaking, because this competition takes place on a massive stage in front of hundreds of people.

I’m warmed by their approach to teamwork in the face of so much stress and adversity. They hold each other up. Each team was backed by students who helped with research, planning, and feedback. The students on stage were the tip of an amazingly talented iceberg.

It almost doesn’t matter what the results were, but of course this is a competition. At the end of the day, BCIT’s Land and Lakes team took first place, with Douglas College coming a close second, and Capilano U in third.

With our first place win in hand, I’ll be off with the Land and Lakes team to attend TIC in Kelowna in March. I can barely wait!

To all the students who competed, from Capilano University, Douglas College, Vancouver Community College, and Canadian Tourism College, we salute you. Thank you for your dedication to tourism and to sustainable industry growth in BC!

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