CEO Message

CEO Message Archives

It has been a very difficult week for the tourism industry worldwide as we have collectively mourned the loss of the passengers on the Air Ethiopia Flight and are once again reminded of the lives lost in the Lion Air flight just 5 months ago. Our thoughts and prayers are with all the families who have lost […]

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Last week, on the heels of a tremendous Tourism Industry Conference in Vancouver, I had the honour to be asked to a private dinner with Calin Rovinescu, President & CEO of Air Canada together with industry, education and sector leaders to discuss the BC economy’s challenges and opportunities.  Being able to share the great work of our […]

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Attending last week’s Tourism Industry Conference in Vancouver, hosted annually by TIABC, it was apparent that our industry has come of age and is definitely being taken seriously. With record attendance, a tremendous line up of speakers and insightful, thought-provoking breakout sessions (many that were standing room only), things felt different. And… the numbers don’t lie.  […]

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The Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association is very pleased to announce that the Thompson Okanagan region is recognized as one of the Top 100 Sustainable Destinations Worldwide by Green Destinations and a finalist in the Best of the Americas Awards to be presented at ITB In Berlin, Germany in March. I’m so proud of the tourism […]

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It was unbelievable to see so much rock came down on Highway 97 north of Summerland over the past 10 days and even more incredible that no one was injured. The magnitude of the fault running 50 meters in both directions of the original slide location can hardly be fathomed. As someone who travels this route […]

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It’s almost unbelievable that it has already been a year since the TIABC annual conference was hosted here in our region. This year the conference is being held in Vancouver from February 27 – March 1st and there is still plenty of time to register.  While there is always a multitude of excuses as to […]

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By definition, the word IMPACT means “to have a strong effect on someone or something”. Without question, Tourism does just that. It has a major impact on our residents, communities, wildlife, watershed, lands, and ecosystems. Developed well, it can provide visitors and locals alike with a lifetime of memories, heightened knowledge of history and culture, unleash great […]

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Two weeks into this new year and we already have a number of exciting changes lined up. The first, which you can see here, is a brand new look for Manic Monday. Of course, I will still be sending out my weekly musings along with a few highlights from the News Centre, but we wanted […]

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Some of the smartest minds have made it very clear;  “We have 11 years in which we must make dramatic changes to our behaviors in order to keep our world alive”; literally.  As the earth heats up, glaciers melt and the oceans temperature increase the scientific world has stated that warming must be capped at […]

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Anyone who knows me has heard this before; a New Year means a New Blank page upon which to write new stories. Tomorrow, January 1st, 2019, is another new beginning and with it the unveiling of exciting opportunities, more changes, and challenges in how we will live, travel and experience the world. I thought I […]

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If you are reading this today December 24th, you are either likely very organized for the holidays and enjoying some well-deserved “relaxation”  or are ignoring the fact that you have so much to do before the events of tonight and tomorrow that you don’t know where to start. For many of us, this is the […]

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Parks Canada last week released a survey, available to all Canadians, enabling them to provide input into the National Park Reserve planned for an area in the South Okanagan-Similkameen region. In a meeting in our region this past August, Federal Minister Catherine McKenna was very clear that that Park development would be moving forward, however, […]

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It has certainly proven to be an interesting year for the Thompson Okanagan and as with all years, I suppose, it has had some good and bad moments. One cannot reflect on the past year without recognizing the many challenges our stakeholders have coped with as a result of many natural occurrences ranging from severe […]

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It has been a tremendous year for our region and Association, not only being nominated for but shortlisted and even winning several prestigious awards around the world, against some very strong and, quite frankly, much larger in terms of budgets competition. Our region “Thompson Okanagan” is being recognized as a leader in strategic vision in […]

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Well, maybe winter isn’t quite here yet, but it is definitely coming and our ski resorts in this region are ready! With ski runs opening around the region it was great to see Sun Peaks open to record crowds, November 17 while Big White Resort opened last Thursday with a nod to American Thanksgiving.  Silver […]

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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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