The pack-up is well underway this morning at the Hilton Toronto Airport as we reflect on two content-rich days and a wonderful evening celebrating the achievements of our industry at the Ontario Tourism Awards of Excellence. As we reflected on the progress of the past twelve months, a phenomenal 561 delegates joined us and our host, Tourism Mississauga, and we look forward to the future with optimism and confidence. We firmly banished the memory of our virtual only summit from a socially distanced studio in Mississauga three years ago.
The lineup of speakers this year helped to address the state of the tourism sector in Ontario on Day One, discussing the challenges and obstacles to growth and then looking to the future and new opportunities on Day Two.
I was also delighted that the federal Minister for Tourism: The Honourable Soraya Martinez Ferrada, and Ontario Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport: The Honourable Neil Lumsden, and Leader of the Official Opposition in Ontario: Marit Stiles, were able to address delegates about their vision for the future of tourism. At a time when TIAO is working diligently to put forward pragmatic solutions to the challenges we face, it is critical that we build consensus and support across all political parties across all levels of government.
It is impossible to come away from Mississauga without feeling the growing sense of momentum behind Ontario’s Tourism industry. One of the most impactful elements of the summit has always been its unmatched ability to bring people together, to spark collaboration, and inspire. I know from the feedback from delegates with whom I spoke, that the appetite for working together is stronger than ever. Next year we will be celebrating campaigns and programs inspired by the presentations given at the summit, in addition to the meaningful conversations at networking breaks or even the connections made at Club Ontario.
The Ontario Tourism Summit could only be made possible thanks to the kind support of our sponsors and partners that help make such a compelling event. We are incredibly grateful for your continued support. In the coming days the reordered sessions from the summit that we were able to secure with the permission of their respective presenters, will be made available to watch on our conference app and later our website.
Finally, I would be remiss not to say how touched I was by the kind comments regarding my departure from TIAO at the end of the year. It really does mean the world to me, and I could never have imagined such a response.
Normal service will resume in our newsletter next week as we start the process of engaging with members on TIAO’s Ontario Provincial Budget priorities.
President and CEO
Tourism Industry Association of Ontario