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Updated: B.C. tourism board member resigns after 'insensitive' comments at Richmond conference

The CEO of a resort in the Rockies apologized for comments that caused 'distress for several women'
Vivek Sharma

A board member of Tourism Industry Association of BC (TIABC) has stepped down, apologizing for “insensitive and inappropriate comments” made at a conference in Richmond last week.

Vivek Sharma, who is the CEO of Fairmont Hot Springs Resort in the Rockies, said in an apology letter that “not only did my words cause distress for several women in the audience but I also offended many other delegates.”

Participants at the conference shared on social media that Sharma, after acknowledging International Women's Day, said they should now go and clean rooms and do dishes.

One social media poster, Trina Notman, said Sharma then tried to make light of it, but she felt this made it even worse.

Sharma stepped down from TIABC as well as the BC Hotel Association boards effective immediately.

In his letter, Sharma said his comments don’t reflect the views of either tourism association boards that he was part of.

“As a result of my recent conduct, I have let down valued colleagues who love and care about me,” he added in the apology letter.

Sharma said his decision to step down from these boards isn’t to “hide from my major mistake” or leave the hospitality industry, rather “through my remorse, I can use this opportunity to learn and to contribute to making the tourism and hospitality sector a safer place…”

Sharma was also a board member of the BC Chamber of Commerce, but as of Thursday, his name didn't appear on the chamber's directors' webpage.

The remarks were made at last week’s BC Tourism & Hospitality Conference in Richmond.

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