Day One — Monday, November 6

Networking Breakfast 

Welcome & Opening Remarks

Mayor Jim Diodati

Balancing Tourism Growth & Local Expectations in Iceland

Ólöf Ýrr Atladóttir (Director, Icelandic Tourist Board)

How do you keep your citizens happy when five times the size of the population visit your country each year? How do you protect your natural resources when they are becoming the key attraction to 2.3 million annual visitors? These are some of the challenges facing Iceland as its tourism economy has skyrocketed in the past few years. Director General Ólöf Ýrr Atladóttir of the Icelandic Tourism Board will share her insights into managing these challenges and opportunities of Iceland’s new tourism economy, and discuss whether they are of a local nature – or common challenges that call for global responses and cooperation.

Topic: Indigenous Tourism

Speaker TBA


Concurrent Sessions

1.    How to Pitch Your Destination to New Media

Marc Smith (30 Day Adventures)

Is your new release falling on deaf ears? Not getting the story pickup you want or believe your destination deserves? Learn what gets Marc's attention as a digital storyteller, and how you can successfully pitch your destination as the next trip worth taking. Epic failures and soaring success stories will be shared. One Ontario destination will be highlighted as a case study of how to pitch your destination to new media.


2.    Topic: Accessibility within the Tourism Industry

Speaker TBA

3.    Cheers: Elevating Product Through Tourism

Whitney Rorison (Hospitality Manager, Dillon’s Distillery)
Giroux (VP Marketing, Thornbury Village Cider House)

Itineraries for beer, wine and cider tours are exploding across Ontario, and breweries, wineries, cideries and distilleries are all tapping in. Operators are effectively leveraging tourism audiences to increase brand awareness and grow their business, while simultaneously helping to build an identity for their respective destinations. Learn how they transform local products into tourist treasure.

Lifetime Achievement Award Lunch

Secrets of Success

Michele Harris (Executive Director, Headwaters Tourism)
Glen Shackleton (Owner/Founder, Haunted Walks)

What does it take to be an Ontario Tourism Awards of Excellence winner? You’re about to find out. Explore the paths that led two past winners to their claim to fame at last year's Ontario Tourism Summit, and what's changed for them since being officially declared a winner.

OTMPC Update

Lisa LaVecchia (CEO, OTMPC)


Profitable Partnerships

Andrew Weir (Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, Tourism Toronto)

Rebecca Lamb (Destination Development & Marketing Coordinator, The Corporation of the County of Prince Edward)

They say, ‘two is better than one’. This is especially true when it comes to tourism marketing; when partners come together to reach a larger audience, everyone benefits. How do you develop a successful tourism marketing partnership in Ontario? What does a profitable partnership look like? Two sets of tourism marketing team-ups will share their stories.

It's Greener in Costa Rica

Roberto C. Dormond Cantú (Ambassador for Costa Rica in Canada)

Welcome Reception

Presented by Niagara Falls Tourism & Niagara Parks Commission 

Day Two — Tuesday, November 7

Breakfast of Champions

First Time Attendee Breakfast with TIAO Board of Directors

Opening Remarks

Driving Local Engagement

Bryan Plumstead (Tourism Manager, Grey County Tourism)

John Winston (General Manager, Tourism London)

Steve Ball (Chair, Ottawa 2017)

Tourism drives the economy. But how do you educate local communities on this to ensure a province-wide understanding of the benefits that tourism brings? Hear from counties that are working alongside their communities to grow local tourism for economic prosperity, including challenges such as combating the NIMBY phenomenon.

Concurrent Sessions

1. Leveraging Your Natural Assets

Jennie Elmslie (Co-Owner, Free Spirit Tours)

Jennifer Whitely (Executive Director, Ontario's Lake Country)

+ more TBA

Ontario is full of serene lakes, breathtaking nature and beautiful landscapes; each community boasts its own natural beauty, and its own unique collection of natural tourism assets. The question is: how do you build tourism around those assets? Three tour operators will discuss how they’re leveraging their surroundings to get visitors outside, while simultaneously growing a sustainable tourism business.


2. Kingston Tourism Success Stories

Hugh Mackenzie (General Manager, Kingston Destination Group)

Daniel Barrett (Co-Owner, Kingston Food Tours)

Geoff Waycik (Manager — Historic Sites, St. Lawrence Parks Commission)

Calling all urbanites, history lovers and foodies — Kingston is the place to be. With a critical mass of attractions such as the Kingston Penitentiary, Kingston Food Tours, iconic trolleys, 1000 Islands Cruises and Winter’s Lumina Borealis, Kingston is quickly becoming a trending destination in Ontario. Hear from these successful attractions on how, collaboratively, they're turning Kingston from a day-trip destination to one worth extended stays.


3.  Topic: Culinary Tourism Destinations

Speakers TBA


4. It's Your Shift — Sexual Violence & Intervention Hospitality Training

Ontario Tourism Education Corporation

Ontario Restaurant, Hotel & Motel Association

Mini Wine Masters Session

Magdalena Kaiser (Director of Public Relations - Marketing & Tourism, Wine Marketing Association of Ontario)


Topic: Destination Canada

David Goldstein (President & CEO, Destination Canada)

Mosaic Magic: Cultural Tourism in Ontario

Nancy Lang (Researcher & Co-Producer, Painted Land: In Search of the Group of Seven)

Karen Carter (Executive Director, Myseum of Toronto)

Isabelle de Bruyn (Project Manager, RDÉE Ontario)

Janice Monture (Cultural Tourism Director, Six Nations Tourism)

Moderator: Darlene Upton (Executive Director, Ontario and Waterways, Parks Canada)

People travel for many reasons, one of them being to experience different cultures. In Canada, we often refer to ourselves as a mosaic rather than a melting pot, due to the inclusion and celebration of all cultures that make us one. In Ontario, we celebrate and recognize our cultural assets in many ways—but how do we drive tourism around these assets and our celebrations of them? Learn how Ontario’s unique culture can be leveraged to attract visitors, and teach them about who we are and where we come from.

Topic: Chinese Tourist Market

Jason Gonsalves (Senior Advisor, Strategy & Business Development, OTT Financial Group)

Lesley Boughen (Tourism & Guest Experience Manager, Yorkdale Shopping Centre) 

Elaine Xie (Business Development Manager, Epoch Times)

Scott Davidson (Site Manager, Norman Bethune House/Parks Canada)

China is quickly becoming one of our most important inbound tourism markets, with arrivals to Canada at an all-time high of 610,130 in 2016 (up 24 per cent from 2015). Important for tourism businesses to consider about tourists from China—as compared to other segments—is the way these travellers spend abroad. Learn from the experts about how to entice Chinese visitors to bring their dollars to your community, understanding differences in how they spend their money.


Innovation & Technology in Tourism: Targeting the Millennial Traveller

Kristy Adams (Program Coordinator/Professor, Hospitality Management - Hotel & Restaurant Program, Humber College)

Jenni Berg (National Business Development Executive, Contiki Holidays)

Jason Dunkel (Consultant, Travel and Tourism, Environics Analytics)

Chris Baron (Senior Vice President, Sales, Global Payments Canada)

Canada’s millennial population is one of the country’s fastest growing age demographics, considering newcomers to the country typically fall within the 18-35 age range. Understanding this generation is the first step in capturing their attention, but how do you set yourself apart from all the noise millennials are confronted with every day? Learn from those who have been successful in capitalizing on the evolving needs of this experience-focused, cost-conscious and socially-responsible cohort.


Finalist Reception

By invitation only

Ontario Tourism Awards of Excellence Gala Reception
Ontario Tourism Awards of Excellence Gala Dinner

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