CEO Message

CEO Message Archives

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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Have you ever noticed that those that are the busiest are also the ones that never fail to raise their hand when asked to help out? Whether coming together during a time of crisis or emergency or simply volunteering to pitch in for a person in need, it is always those with more than enough […]

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After what felt like a long and unrelenting winter, the Easter Weekend actually held the promise of spring. There were signs around the region of buds that will soon be blooms, grass finding its first tinge of green and people actually making their way out of hibernation. It is one of my favourite times of […]

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As we watch the world unfold around the Big Data and the use of technology to track our every move, the debate will continue to swirl with companies like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat as well as businesses we don’t think of as collecting our information such as Uber or even SkipTheDishes. There is no question in […]

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With the start of spring break, I could not help but reflect on the many times over my life that I helped pack up the family car with my dad and we headed out of town on an “adventure”. More often than not these so called adventures were not a “spring break” as we know […]

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There is always a level of energy and enthusiasm when a group of tourism industry colleagues gather that I have yet to see duplicated in other type of conference or event. Thanks to the hard work of many industry partners and sponsors including Tourism Industry Association of BC, Destination BC, Indigenous Tourism BC, Tourism Kelowna, […]

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A Big Thank You to Southern Queensland Country Tourism Region! A number of us from the TOTA region are returning this past weekend from an absolutely wonderful “Business On Tour” in Australia where we were hosted over the past 10 days by our “sister region” in Southern Queensland Country (SQCT).  I cannot begin to thank […]

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It is hard to believe the 2018 Winter Olympics have come to an end. Canadian athletes certainly did our country proud and while we had some unexpected losses we certainly had a tremendous number of wins.  However, this is not going to be a review of the Winter Olympics but a commentary on what I […]

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Access means everything to the Tourism Industry and it is certainly a critical component of “driving or flying”  tourism revenues into the Thompson Okanagan. On the ground, this means ensuring we continue to lobby for improved road systems through lane twinning, increased passing sections and the use of more electronic adjustable speed limit signage.  We […]

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How did you find one of your first jobs? Many of us who are over the age of 40, found those important first time positions through family, friends, a local ad or an ad in the newspaper. I remember my first real job (as in not working for my dad), happened because I actually walked […]

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Creating a sustainable tourism destination begins with a commitment by each and every community and stakeholder in the region.  As I have noted before, the work that was done leading up to the Biosphere Responsible Tourism designation for the Thompson Okanagan achieved in early November was just the beginning of an exciting journey that we […]

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January 2018 is well underway and whether your holiday season was short or extended it is now time to get back at it!  The Tourism Industry Association of British Columbia (TIABC) Industry Conference is coming soon with registration filling up and you should make sure you don’t miss out. This year’s conference is being held […]

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If you are tired of the standard New Year’s lists of things that you are committing to and subsequently ignoring, try selecting and committing to a single word to define your upcoming year. I say select loosely as the word usually finds you rather than the reverse. Interestingly over the years these words, in reflection, […]

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Merry Christmas Day! I hope today you find yourself so busy with family and friends that you are actually reading this on December 26, 27 or even 28!. With the magic of Christmas Eve now a distant memory and all of the gifts that were once nicely wrapped under the tree ripped open, where do […]

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It is amazing that so much of our world is digitized and yet so many of us struggle with the concept of a digital currency; aka bitcoin. The hard truth is that several years ago I was offered an opportunity to purchase a Bitcoin for just under $400. Ever the skeptic, (as in I still […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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