CEO Message

CEO Message Archives

All of us in the tourism industry are well aware that over the past many years there has been tremendous growth in online booking sites. To varying degrees, whether you fully embrace the concept or not, these sites have become one of the mainstream shelves where the industry is able to sell tourism products and services. Most recently we have begun working with the site BookDifferent.com, […]

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July 1st, 2019, Canada’s 152nd birthday and the day that most Canadians across the country take time to celebrate the nation. While this country is not perfect, I have to say that after the extensive travel that I had the opportunity to do over the past year, I have never been more proud of being […]

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Once again the Canadian travel industry has come together to host our Domestic and International Travel Trade Partners at Rendez-vous Canada held last week in Toronto.  This event has been held across Canada for decades bringing trade operators from around the world, both familiar and new, to meet with Canadian tourism products and destinations from Coast to Coast to Coast. This year, over 620 trade […]

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Last week, I had the honour to attend and represent the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA) at the 64th Meeting of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Regional Commission for the Americas in Guatemala. This meeting unites tourism ministers and organizational leaders from North, Central, and South America, and it was a pleasure to […]

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The May Long Weekend always feels like the start of the summer Tourism Season in the Thompson Okanagan. Many attractions and activities open up after the long winter and we start to see vegetable and fruit stands coming to life along with other roadside vendors, food trucks,  farmers markets, and more. Everywhere you can feel the […]

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Every day the momentum for building a Responsible Sustainable Tourism Industry continues to expand and we are very pleased to announce that our partners at GreenStep Solutions have launched Sustainable Tourism 2030. This initiative,10 years in the making, will continue to assist the tourism industry with guidance and support in understanding how they are measuring […]

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On behalf of the TOTA Board of Directors and our staff and management, we wish to thank the Minister of Citizen’s Services, the Honorable Jinny Sims who joined us in Kelowna last Friday at our TOTA office to formally announce our recent receipt of a Rural Dividend Grant. These funds from this grant will be […]

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Last week I was very honored to be in attendance to receive the International Place Marketing Award at the 7th Annual Place Marketing Forum hosted, this year, in Lille France. The Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association received this honor in recognition of our ongoing work in Responsible Sustainable Tourism and as part of this recognition I […]

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Our partners at Green Step have been working hard on a Business Recycling Education Program that started back in 2017. Their hard work has culminated in the creation of tool-kits to help three distinct groups; businesses, multi-family buildings, and festivals/events. These resources will assist in better recycling practices and increase waste diversion. The toolkits are available on the Regional District’s website at the […]

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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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