CEO Message

CEO Message Archives
TOTA team members wearing Telus masks and physical distance outdoors for a meeting

There is a lot that each of us can learn about teamwork, trust, being together, and the importance of breaking down barriers. This past Friday was the first time in months that the entire TOTA team was together for a physically distanced day of meetings and activities. Since mid-March, we have been together on video […]

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TOTA, FortisBC, GreenStep, BC Hotel Association,

The Thompson Okanagan Tourism Resiliency Program has now been in place for just over two months. Our team has worked with over 700 stakeholders since the program launched on April 27th. Through that time we have heard alarming and ongoing concerns related to the COVID-19 crisis. We have gained an understanding of the many issues […]

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We are all desperately craving a bit of normal after the past several months of lockdown, so it comes as no surprise to see people starting to relax their behaviors. Social distancing is not as easy as it sounds. Shaking hands and hugging friends, especially those that we haven’t seen for a while, happens almost […]

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It is encouraging to learn that indications from recent surveys, online traveler sentiment research, and direct one to one telephone canvassing strongly suggest a global desire for travel post “lockdown.” While some individuals may already be starting to take short trips and make regional travel plans, others are actively planning and preparing to continue to […]

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A housekeeper makes a bed in a hotel room.

I had the opportunity to be part of a very interesting dialogue last week, with a number of senior tourism leaders on the ways in which this industry has been affected by COVID-19 and some of the outcomes that may result in permanent transformations. One specific comment that has remained top of mind was: “COVID-19 […]

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If we cannot get the human factor handled correctly the end result will be inevitable and no one will be the better for it. We are living through an interesting and most unusual moment in the world’s history. As we begin to reopen our economy and open our world, some of us are very ready […]

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Resiliency at the Heart of the Thompson Okanagan Regional Pledge   In November 2019 we launched the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Pledge entitled “Seven Affirmations for Seven Generations” drawing from rich indigenous values    1 |  TRUE ROOTS 2 |  TREAD LIGHTLY 3 |  GOOD NEIGHBOUR 4 |  TRAVEL SAFELY 5 |  LIVE IN HARMONY 6 […]

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Midnight Musings from our CEO NATIONAL TOURISM WEEK #BCTourismMatters   May 24th – 31st, we celebrate National Tourism Week in Canada, and this year more than ever we need to highlight the importance of our tourism industry in the Canadian economy. The trickle-down effect of tourism businesses and operators unable to open or struggling to […]

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Midnight Musings from our CEO New Program to Support Tourism Industry For most of our tourism industry, this is the 8th week of our provincial shut down as we all do our best to follow the direction of  Health Minister Adrian Dix and Dr. Bonnie Henry in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Over the initial few […]

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For every one of us, no matter where we live or what industry we are working in, there is tremendous anxiety as we navigate this current and developing pandemic situation. Business losses are mounting daily, while people’s livelihoods, savings, and futures are all in question. We are worried about our financial health, personal health, mental health and […]

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Once again it has been a very challenging week for the entire world and we know, here in the Thompson Okanagan, it has been extremely difficult for all of our tourism industry, small and large. Over the course of the past several days, our TOTA team together with members of the regional Community DMO’s, have […]

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In these unprecedented times, it is more important than ever to stay connected. As we have been advising over the past few weeks, we will be updating our website and News Centre with pertinent links to information as it becomes available and we will continue to take your comments, questions, and concerns weekly to the Provincial Government and Destination […]

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By all accounts, the Tourism Industry Conference held in Victoria was another great success, congratulations to TIABC and all of those that worked tirelessly to host this important industry event. I was personally unable to attend the meetings last week but TOTA had tremendous representation by way of our Chair, Frank Antoine; Vice-Chair, Michael Ballingall; […]

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Last weeks announcement of additional $1 million in regional funding facilities, through the BC tourism regions such as TOTA, for rural communities negatively effected by Mill closures is a tremendous collaboration between the Ministry of Forest Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development together with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, and Destination BC. […]

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It was truly an emotional moment, last Friday, when the announcement was formally made that the 2020 Global Sustainable Tourism Conference would take place November 19th – 22nd in Kelowna, BC. This decision is a direct result of the dedicated work that has taken place across the Province by communities, tourism stakeholders, and partners who […]

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It is hard to believe it has already been a week since the Thompson Okanagan Region played host to just shy of 800 delegates at the 2019 International Indigenous Tourism Conference in Kelowna, BC; the largest event of its kind ever held. It was also the first time that three Indigenous Nations have come together to host this conference. The […]

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By now many of you will have seen the Press Release that formally announced the Thompson Okanagan as the newest Observatory selected by the United Nations World Tourism Organization, for participation in their INSTO program. But I am sure that most of you are scratching your head and saying what does that mean? The acronym […]

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I want to take this opportunity to remind everyone in the region of the International Indigenous Tourism Conference that is taking place in Kelowna in just a short few weeks, November 12th -14th. It is already the largest conference that the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) has hosted and will be a tremendous opportunity to learn more about Indigenous […]

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We are very pleased this week to officially launch the new TOTABC.org corporate website. This site has been designed and developed by our corporate communications contractor Niki Kennedy and supported by each member of the team. It offers a fresh new look incorporating the organization’s refreshed brand and strong visual elements that are streamlined for an industry-first […]

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