CEO Message

CEO Message Archives

At various times today throughout parts of the world the moon will eclipse the sun, in full or in part, depending on your location. While this phenomenon actually takes place roughly every eighteen months to two years, it is rare for it to occur over land, as it will today. As such, there has been […]

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….and we’d like you to join us!  This year we are taking the Thompson Okanagan Region on the road to assist our regional tourism stakeholders with next year’s employee recruitment and we are starting in October! The Thompson Okanagan is an ideal location for students and graduates of hospitality, business, and culinary programs in our […]

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In conversation last week someone made the comment “you can’t outspend the news!” and as we continue to deal with the fallout around the region as a result of ongoing wildfire messaging these words must be top of mind. I am sure we can all agree that 2017 has been an interesting year, certainly not […]

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Enough said…you know the rest of that sentence as the media has been saying those words continuously since prior to last Tuesday when the NDP/Green coalition replaced the Liberals after (yes, here it comes again) 16 years of rule. There is a whole new slate of individuals in Victoria, each determined to make a difference […]

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What is keeping me up at night is not a new story for our industry but it is one that requires, careful thought, immediate attention and creative solutions. Tourism operators have been experiencing labour shortages for many years now, it was something we were warned would occur and something that has and will continue to […]

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I am always fascinated about the origin of things. Things that, despite a world of change and advancing technology, we continue to do today in this the “modern world”. For example, during the planning for our upcoming  26th Annual TOTA Golf Tournament the question arose as to how and when the game of golf began. […]

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There has never been a question in my mind that I am a proud Canadian and very grateful to have been born in this country, during this period of history.  But there has also never been any question in my mind that Canada’s history carries with it the burden of the treatment of our First […]

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This past week I had the opportunity to speak at a conference hosted by our new partners the Responsible Tourism Institute and Biosphere who will be assisting our region in achieving International Accreditation as a Sustainable Tourism Destination. This event was attended by tourism representatives from around the globe as well as members of the […]

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As we grapple with Mother Nature and her most unusual weather patterns I recognize more than ever the correlation between tourism and farming.  Ever dependent on the perfect conditions it seems that lately there is either too much rain, snow or cold closely replaced with too much heat, extreme heat. Winds wreaking havoc on the […]

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I don’t know about you but when I am travelling internationally or abroad and I catch sight of that big Red Maple Leaf on the tail of an Air Canada plane at my gate it always makes me feel a little closer to home; a little more connected to Canada. Over the past few weeks, […]

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33 years ago, and specifically 33 years ago on this day May 29th, my family relocated from Dauphin, Manitoba to Osoyoos. My father had suddenly realized that he could be a hotel owner where the winters were long and the weather harsh or a resort owner in a much warmer part of Canada, thus we […]

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The world is on the move and means great things for our Tourism Industry.  No longer languishing behind oil and gas, the lumber industry and even the automobile sector, Tourism, has gained its rightful place on the podium. Provincially the numbers are impressive with British Columbia realizing approximately 19.7 million visitors annually, contributing $15.7 billion in […]

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Like everyone I have been closely watching the news of the flood situation that is currently affecting many parts of our region and province. The information is extremely concerning and in some cases quite devastating and in the days and weeks to come we will all need to work together to assist friends, neighbours and […]

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We hear much about how difficult it is to work with millennials, however as I have  frequently noted our experience in the TOTA office has been anything but challenging.  Our crew of energetic and enthusiastic under 35’s never fails to surprise and engage us.  There is no lack of motivation and drive in this group […]

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Now that I  have your attention…. I was taught never to vote…. unless I had taken the time to understand what the issues were and where the government I was about to cast my ballot for stood in relation to my concerns. I was taught never to vote unless I had listened to the candidates […]

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“I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it has been” – Wayne Gretzky. These thought provoking words are often quoted by Destination BC’s President and CEO Marsha Walden as our provincial tourism team strives to ensure that travel to British Columbia is elevated from consideration to selection by both […]

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This past week TOTA welcomed another bright young individual to the team, Theresa Schroeter! Visiting us for six months from Germany, her international perspective, propensity for languages and ambition for education make her an amazing addition. It is another example of the way in which millennials worldwide are taking new and unique approaches to learning, […]

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This is not the first time that I have mentioned the outstanding group of young people that joined the TOTA team last May as a result of federal funding but yet again they have absolutely shown me how very talented they are. While throughout our region there is a backdrop of spectacular scenery and incredible […]

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Remember some of the wild questions from when you were a kid, like “what has 7 legs and is covered in hair”? I’m not sure but is it crawling up your back…!!! Here is one for the adults… “what has 30 legs, 15 heads, represents 3,500 tourism stakeholders operating in excess of 15 of them […]

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Okay stop what you are thinking…… for all of you that were about to wish me well and thinking thank goodness that Mandziuk is gone…I have some very disappointing news…I’m still here! However we are sad to announce that a very familiar voice on the phone at the TOTA office is leaving us and tourism industry after a tremendous six […]

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What do all of the following names have in common…..Android, Blogger, Chromebook, Froogle, Gmail, Myactivity, Doubleclick and Youtube?  If you answered that they all are Google products you would be correct.  Of course that is only a small sampling when compared with the more obvious additional Google services that most of us use daily including […]

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If you remember those words it will likely conjure up a picture in your mind of Lily Tomlin as the telephone operator “Ernestine” which she brought to life on Rowan and Martin’s break out comedy show Laugh-In. Well we have definitely come a long way Ernestine! From party lines to land lines to mobile devices; […]

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Over decades we have seen countless examples of how partnerships between individual organizations, that share a like minded vision, can make significant impacts that might otherwise not have taken place. The Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA), together with go2HR has seen first hand how beneficial partnerships can be.  In 2016, Arlene Keis CEO of go2HR, […]

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In previous years our region may not have liked being referenced as “Napa North” but I don’t think anyone is upset at the prospect of quickly becoming known as  “Hollywood North”. More and more the movie world is finding their way to the Thompson Okanagan thanks to the hard work of our Regional Film Commissioners […]

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