Earl Wilde

Earl Wilde

Victoria hotelier named to tourism hall of fame

Victoria Regent Waterfront Hotel and Suites president Earl Wilde has spent four decades in hospitality industry

Earl Wilde, president and general manager of the Victoria Regent Waterfront Hotel and Suites, is one of three people across Canada being inducted into this year’s Tourism Industry Association of Canada’s hall of fame.

The hotelier and accredited sommelier is accepting the honour alongside Oak Bay Beach Hotel co-owner Kevin Walker and Barbara Genge, owner of Tuckamore Lodge in Newfoundland.

“I’m very honoured,” Wilde said, reflecting on his four decades in the hotel industry. “I only run a small hotel here but I’ve obviously been involved in the hotel industry, both locally, provincially and nationally for some time.”

A native of Monreal, Que., Wilde’s most well-known achievement in Victoria is his instrumental role in creating the destination marketing fee, a hotel tax that helps bolster tourism initiatives throughout the Capital Region.

The hotel industry has changed a lot since Wilde joined the Victoria Regent in 1990, perhaps most strikingly in the subjective world of online rankings and the immediate effect of both positive and negative customer reviews, he said.

“I was around when we took reservations manually,” he said. “Everything’s changed. You can experience the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat in one day.”

Tourism Industry Association of Canada spokesman Rob Taylor said the hall of fame honour is an acknowledgement from peers of the work one has done in their career.

“They have made an outstanding contribution to their industry in their own area and nationally,” Taylor said. “We’re very proud of them and those who are dedicated in improving our industry.”

Wilde is happily settled in Greater Victoria and has no plans to uproot for other potential job offers.

“I love Victoria. My other half, she’s the manager at the Oak Bay Beach hotel, so we have a good hotel life here.”

A luncheon and induction ceremony will be held on Dec. 4 in Ottawa.

Other local inductees from previous years include Ian Ross, the former owner and operator of Butchart Gardens, and Bob Wright, former president and CEO of Oak Bay Marine Group.