CEO Message

CEO Message Archives

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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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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