CEO Message

CEO Message Archives

This past week, more than 200 stakeholders took the time to join us in Osoyoos for the Annual TOTA AGM and Summit. It was encouraging to see every area of our region represented and inspiring to realize the resiliency of our tourism industry and operators. Both 2018, and in turn 2017, presented our industry in […]

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After 2 years of working in collaboration, we could not have been more proud than hearing Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) CEO Keith Henry announce that Kelowna and the Thompson Okanagan as next year’s location for the International Indigenous Tourism Conference. While Kelowna will play host to the meetings make no mistake this will […]

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We are just two weeks until this year’s TOTA AGM and Summit will be taking place in Osoyoos and we hope if you have not yet registered to attend that you will do so today! Once again, we believe the lineup of speakers and panels will be informative and interesting and that you gain valuable […]

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With our municipal elections having taken place just moments ago I could not help but think about two interesting issues that surround all elections. Most importantly to applaud all of those individuals brave enough to be willing to put their name forward. Realizing the personal attack they will face, the scrutiny and the social media […]

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As noted in last week’s Manic Monday there are a number of ways you can engage with activities in our region taking place over the next couple of months but time is quickly running out on two important opportunities: This Week Tuesday and Wednesday – GSTC Training Biosphere Adhesion / Committed Company – As part […]

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We often hear that stakeholders want to know how to better engage with TOTA and are interested to learn more about our programs. There are numerous stakeholder opportunities at the moment and I thought I would take the time this week to briefly outline many of the programs currently available: Route 97 Guide and Website […]

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go2HR has worked hard over the past 18 months re-developing the former SuperHost and WorldHost programs that have been staples in quality service training for the tourism industry for several decades. These front line customer service training programs have been foundational for our industry and the countless individuals who are charged with welcoming guests every […]

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Congratulations to all of us as we are thrilled to announce that our Association and region has been recognized with another major international award this year. At the 25th Annual World Travel Awards which took place on Saturday, September 22nd in Montego Bay, Jamaica the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association was this year’s recipient of North […]

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If you have been following our efforts on Destination Sustainability you will already be well aware that a key pillar of this initiative is Universal Accessibility; particularly as it relates to helping ensure we are creating tourism experiences that can be enjoyed by all visitors including those with ability challenges. To assist us in making […]

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November 2nd will mark one year since the Thompson Okanagan received official certification as one of only 21 Biosphere Destination’s worldwide. Our team’s work and focus on this important file has not stopped since that time. During the ensuing 10 1/2 months we have worked with our Interdepartmental Committee to identify numerous sustainability initiatives taking […]

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The team at TOTA are very excited to announce that our new site, ThompsonOkanagan.com, will go live today and we look forward to our industry stakeholders and partners taking the time to review this site and provide us feedback. This consumer-facing site has been created, not as a travel website, but rather a medium by […]

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It is hard to believe that while we are just half way through our summer season, in less than 17 weeks we will be together with stakeholders, communities and partners at the annual TOTA AGM and Summit. This year we are looking forward to being in Osoyoos at Spirit Ridge Resort November 14th and 15th […]

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Recently, while attending a workshop in Vancouver, a spontaneous lunch conversation broke out around the eroding capacity for people to know how to “guess”.  The discussion centred around why it should even matter, when just about anything you could ever want to know can be answered by Google, Wikipedia, and Alexa. These, and other, AI […]

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With the sudden and shocking announcement of Greyhound ending service in BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan the news media has had continuous and widespread commentary on the many reasons why and how this could possibly have happened. It is almost inconceivable that this long standing and once very prosperous organization finds itself in the position of […]

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After almost seven years we said farewell to our friend and colleague Howard Grieve, who officially retired from TOTA and his role in Travel Trade and Media this past Friday, June 29th.  Howard was a dedicated tourism professional whom we all enjoyed working with and who will be missed by our entire team, his associates […]

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LEARN about Indigenous culture BUILD new & better relationships OPEN UP to new opportunities Last Thursday throughout Canada we celebrated National Indigenous Peoples Day. Several of our TOTA team attended celebrations that took place throughout this region.  The day weaved together ceremony with celebration, festivity with sombre reflection, timeless rituals with modern adaptations, and all […]

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Tourism is one of the most unique and interesting industries in the world. It brings people together, improves communications, builds relationships, provides education, is an outlet for cross-cultural experiences, promotes understanding and in doing so creates a vehicle for peace.  And notwithstanding all of these lofty outcomes, Tourism can also bring tremendous fun and joy […]

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With the sudden and unexpected death of Anthony Bourdain this week it was once again brought home that no matter what one’s life circumstances are or appear to be on the surface, even the most unlikely of individuals can carry with them an intolerable weight and sadness. To the world, this man lived a life […]

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There is a feeling that can best be described as awe-inspiring when you step into any one of our historical government buildings located across this country. Whether you are visiting the House of Parliament in Ottawa or in our own Provincial Legislature in Victoria the magnitude of the work that has taken place during this […]

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This week, May 27th to June 2nd we celebrate National Tourism Week in Canada.  This initiative, hosted by the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) and supported, in our province, by the Tourism Industry Association of BC (TIABC), is an important opportunity to bring attention to, and raise awareness of, the valuable role tourism plays […]

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At the risk of sounding like my parents, I cannot believe that we have just completed another successful Rendezvous Canada Tradeshow. It feels like only weeks ago that our team returned from last year’s event in Calgary, and we have now once again completed a remarkable week of meetings and networking in Halifax. For those […]

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We have been here before and not that many months ago. Our lakes, rivers, and streams are rising and many of our communities throughout the Thompson Okanagan are facing significant challenges with high water, road closures, and evacuations. These are real and serious situations and we all need to help and support our friends and […]

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In tourism we talk a lot about what differentiates us from other locations in the world. Our Iconic products, the authenticity of our story and shared history, the activities which provide opportunities to expand personal horizons, and of course, our culinary offerings which bring the bounty of our land to our plate and glass. I […]

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TOTA was pleased to once again be in attendance as one of this year’s sponsors of the Southern Interior Local Government Association Conference (SILGA) which took place last week in Revelstoke.  This event is attended by municipal and Regional District government mayors, councils and Directors working collectively on issues and challenges that are common to […]

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