CEO Message

CEO Message Archives

Last week I heard a startling statistic.  Our BC food banks currently assist over 103,000 people every month, a full third (34,000) are children and these numbers are continuing to grow. These statistics are overwhelming in a province and country of so much wealth and prosperity. While the holiday season tends to bring a renewed […]

Read more

Tourism throughout the country and certainly in our Thompson Okanagan Region continues to experience challenges due to growing labour shortages. Attracting, retraining and retaining individuals to our industry is of primary concern and certainly effects our industry’s  long term ability to deliver remarkable experiences and some cases prevents operators from providing any experiences at all […]

Read more

The above title is taken in part from an African Proverb;  “if you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together”. These words so clearly underscore the importance of developing partnerships and the need for our tourism industry to work together to ensure our far reaching success. An excellent […]

Read more

When the Thompson Okanagan’s 10 year Regional Strategy, “Embracing Our Potential”  was completed in 2012 there were a number of foundational pillars outlined that most of you have heard me speak of many times. Key to the basis of the strategy included reducing seasonality through the development of core themes, elevating our first nations tourism […]

Read more

This week I had the opportunity to spend Thursday in Vancouver with a number of industry colleagues at a “Day of Inspiration” presented by Destination BC. There where several outstanding speakers who took us on a journey that not only inspired, but enlightened, and challenged us all to prepare for the future – a future […]

Read more

This past Friday, Minister Lisa Beare spoke briefly in Kelowna following her tour from the air of the Kettle Valley Rail Trail. Without question, our new Minster of Tourism, Arts and Culture has become an enthusiastic supporter of this iconic tourism experience and it was indeed an honour to be a part of hosting her. […]

Read more

With just 10 days until our TOTA/go2HR regional campus recruitment trip to Alberta, I was shocked to learn that there are a total of 6 job postings placed by our TOTA Stakeholders on the go2HR website. Perhaps I should not be surprised but truly I am speechless. Similar recruitment trips last year resulted in over […]

Read more

It has been one week since hundreds of people saw their lives change in just 11 minutes. One gunman, many rounds of ammunition, 58 deaths, and the futures of so many people altered forever. People across the continent have been affected whether directly or indirectly.  The sadness and senselessness of this event is only underscored […]

Read more

As we watch temperatures dropping rapidly from our unseasonably warm summer there is a sense that more than just a change in the weather is afoot. A feeling, real or imagined, that larger and more dramatic shifts are in the offing and things as we have known them are beginning to alter for the long […]

Read more

November 1st and 2nd you could always stay home, watch reruns of Game of Thrones, catch up on the never-ending deluge of emails or simply have a pyjama day or two getting well deserved rest after a busy summer season. OR…you could make the most of those two late fall days and join us in […]

Read more

I don’t think I’m alone when I say that September has always felt more like the beginning of a new year than January. When the calendar rolled over to the “1st” last Friday if felt as though life had resumed some sense of normalcy, an order or sorts after the chaos of summer. Children returning […]

Read more

A famous Barbara Streisand song offers up a well-known phrase “people….people who need people”….  Now I am very certain “the Babs” was not referring to the tourism industry when she belted out those words, but she certainly could have been. Tourism is arguably one of the most labour intensive industries in the world, and while […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

….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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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. […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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, […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more