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Tourism Industry Association of Ontario Announces New Board Members


TORONTO, ON (June 15, 2023) – The Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) is announcing today the addition of four new members to its Board of Directors; Claudia Dessanti, Ontario Chamber of Commerce; Michael Crockatt, Ottawa Tourism; Neil Pakey, Nieuport Aviation; and Paul Di Ianni, Town of Lincoln. Elected at TIAO’s Annual General Meeting yesterday held in Kingston, these individuals will begin serving immediately.  

Rebecca Mackenzie, President and CEO of the Culinary Tourism Alliance becomes the new Chair of the organization, and Michael Crockatt will assume role of Vice Chair. The TIAO Board is made up of 14 individuals, each bringing a unique perspective and skillset to the table to advance TIAO’s priorities on behalf of its members and Ontario’s tourism economy.  

“On behalf of the TIAO team, I am thrilled to welcome Claudia, Michael, Neil and Paul to the TIAO Board and to congratulate Rebecca as our new Chair. TIAO has an audacious agenda to deliver on over the next few years. I am confident these individuals will help us get there, adding their insight as we further entrench the tourism industry as an integral part of economic planning and position TIAO as the undisputed voice and thought leader for the tourism industry in Ontario,” said Christopher Bloore, President and CEO of TIAO.  

Claudia Dessanti; Senior Manager, Policy; Ontario Chamber of Commerce
Claudia leads a broad range of policy initiatives to support Ontario’s business community. Claudia founded and co-chairs the OCC’s Energy Policy Council, oversees the Ontario Economic Report, and leads work around environment, energy, data, regional economic development, procurement, housing, diversity and inclusion, and more. She also serves on the Toronto Region Conservation Authority’s Partners in Project Green Executive Management Committee and the Advisory Board for Innovate Cities. In previous roles, Claudia researched mortgage markets for National Bank Financial and measured social impact for Charity Intelligence. She has a Master’s degree from the University of Oxford and a BA from the University of Toronto.  

Michael Crockatt; President and CEO; Ottawa Tourism
Michael is a recognized leader in travel and tourism in Canada. In his current role, he leads Ottawa’s official destination organization, which spearheads sales and marketing initiatives for attracting visitors to Canada’s capital, while also making investments in the long-term stewardship and development of the destination. He is a Board member with Destinations International, the Shaw Centre, the Ottawa International Hockey Festival, and he is a member of the Advisory Committee for the Hospitality & Tourism Management Degree Program at Algonquin College. He is the Co-Chair of the Canadian Destination Leadership Council with Destinations International; he has been the Board Chair of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) and the Ottawa Board of Trade; and he has also served on the boards of the Ottawa 2017 Bureau and Invest Ottawa. Michael has a Master’s degree in Geography from the University of Manitoba, he is a Certified Barbecue Judge, and a Manitoba Marriage Commissioner. 

Neil Pakey; President and CEO; Nieuport Aviation 
Neil Pakey is the President & CEO at Nieuport Aviation, winners of the Most Spectacular Business Recovery award in Ontario in 2022. He has served as the CEO of the Shannon Airport Group on Ireland, the CEO of Peel Airports Group in the U.K., as Managing Director of Liverpool John Lennon Airport and the Senior VP Network Marketing at the Vantage Airports Group. Neil holds a Master of Science in Transport Planning and Management and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing. Neil was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from the University of Central Lancashire for services to Tourism, was Chair of the Mersey Tourism Board in Liverpool and was named the IOD Director of the Year for Merseyside in 2007.  

Paul Di Ianni; Economic Development Officer; Town of Lincoln 
Paul Di Ianni is the Town of Lincoln’s first Director of Economic Development and Communications. After spending close to a decade working in Toronto at Queen’s Park and in the private sector, both focusing on economic development and stakeholder relations, Paul is now devoted to assisting businesses in Lincoln, driving retention and expansion, innovation, and entrepreneurship activities. Following his time at Queen’s Park, Paul worked in public affairs for Edelman Public Relations, the world’s largest PR firm. While at Edelman, Paul led the team that successfully advocated for foreign direct investment in Ontario for both the Ontario Ministries of Economic Development and Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, among other clients. Paul holds both a combined Honours Degree in History and Political Science and a Master of Arts in in Political Science from McMaster University.  

The new appointments to the Board will join the existing 10 Board Members listed here.  

TIAO wishes to extend its thanks to outgoing Board Members, Cheryl Finn; Tourism London, Joe Baker; Joe Baker & Co., Mark Iker; The Globe and Mail, and Minto Schneider; Inter Ocean Inc.

“We are purposeful in ensuring our Board reflects the organization’s goals and the members that we serve,” continued Bloore, “With the addition of these respected new members we are committed to continuing the work we do on behalf of tourism businesses in the province.” 


About TIAO  
The Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) is recognized by government as the voice of tourism. At TIAO, we work on behalf of our membership, collectively representing the majority of tourism businesses and employees across the province, to take on pressing policy issues that impact the Ontario tourism industry.  

TIAO propels the powerful and innovative Ontario tourism industry by connecting tourism leaders, innovators, government, and educators through events and conferences. We are proud to host the largest gathering of tourism leaders, educators, businesses, and government officials in Canada, at our annual Ontario Tourism Summit. 


Media Contact
Madison Simmons, Vice President, Public Affairs, TIAO -