CEO Message

CEO Message Archives

It is a tremendous honour to have been invited to attend the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) 23rd General Assembly taking place this week in St Petersburg, Russia. There is representation at these meetings from around the world with more than 150 countries taking part. The focus will be on sustainable, responsible tourism development and […]

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From all indications, our Annual Tourism Industry Golf Tournament was another great success and certainly, one of the hotter days we have had in years as over 120 participants attended the 28th Annual TOTA Golf Tournament and Dinner. There was certainly no lack of fun, laughter, sunscreen, and beverages as teams came out to support […]

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Last Wednesday the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, the Honorable Lisa Beare and Deputy Minister Shauna Brouwer joined us in Kelowna for an insightful industry round table. With representation from tourism stakeholders in the immediate area as well as all of the regions various tourism sectors, it was an opportunity to share the concerns, challenges, […]

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As many of you know it has been a very difficult summer for our colleague, my dear friend, and Chair of the TOTA Board Frank Antoine, his wife Bonnie and the entire family. Several weeks ago, Riel, their 8-month baby boy was admitted into Vancouver’s Children’s Hospital where he was diagnosed with cancer and more […]

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Our research team has been working closely with TELUS Insights for the past 2 1/2 years using aggregated cell tower data to more fully understand visitor volumes and travel patterns into our region. We are very pleased to say their combined efforts have afforded us the ability to receive timely and relevant visitor data that enables us to […]

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Please take a moment to take this Regional Pledge Survey – Your comments are important. All of us have made a choice to live in the Thompson Okanagan for a reason. Some people were born here and have come to appreciate that no matter where else they travel, no matter what exotic location they have explored or […]

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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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