Join us for the tourism industry event of the year—because tourism matters.
From October 29-30, gather with industry colleagues and tourism leaders at the Blue Mountain Resort to network, gain new insights, explore trending topics and celebrate excellence at the Ontario Tourism Awards of Excellence Gala.
Please be advised that the Ontario Tourism Summit does not offer refunds or cancellations for registration. Substitutions are permitted, however only for full conference registrations and/or gala ticket purchases. If you have any questions or concerns, please call the TIAO office at 416-483-1691.
Check back regularly for program updates or subscribe to TIAO updates to stay up-to-date on all things OTS19 related.
Tuesday, October 29
Welcome & Opening Remarks - State of the Industry
Beth Potter, President & CEO, TIAO
Message from TIAO Chair
Minto Schneider, CEO, Waterloo Regional Tourism Marketing Corporation; TIAO Board Chair
Transformational Tourism - How Tourism Helped Rebuild Greece’s Economy
Victor Maligoudis, Consul General, Consulate General of Greece
The power of tourism is undeniably one of the most effective ways to drive growth in the economy. Learn how Greece used tourism as an economic driver to rebuild their country and rejuvenate their community. Join the Consulate General of Greece as they discuss sustainable tourism and the challenges, complexities, and risk management of dealing with wild fires. This session will provide delegates with insights on how these lessons from Greece can be applied to the Ontario tourism industry.
Take 5! – Your Labour Shortage Has a Housing Problem
Leigh Bursey, Brockville City Councillor & Vice-President, Ontario Non Profit Housing Association
What is the solution? Is housing a right? Or a commodity? Find out how YOU can influence the growth of affordable housing at the municipal level.
IMPACT 2020 - Defining Tourism's Legacy Across Canada
Deirdre Campbell, Managing Director - Canada, Beattie Tartan
In 2017 four organizations in BC decided they wanted to host a gathering of thought leaders on what the sustainable future of tourism looks like for Canada. Inspired by positive and negative developments in the global tourism industry, they felt Canada should be facing these challenges and opportunities sooner than later, and begin implementing best practices. Little did they realize how important this dialogue would become. Heading into its third year this January, discussions around what the legacy of the tourism industry will be for Canada have only grown more heated and urgent. Once again IMPACT will be bringing delegates together from across the country, as well as international experts, who are concerned with the state of the industry nationally and globally and who want to be a part of a necessary and critical change. Join IMPACT co-founder Deirdre Campbell as she shares the story of how IMPACT came to be, the insights garnered on ways Canada can become a global leader in tourism development, and actionable steps that have been shared over the past two years of provocative discussions.
Sustainable Tourism – Who is Looking for It?
Rachel Dodds, Professor, Ted Rodgers School of Hospitality
Joanne Gellatly, Professor, George Brown College - School of Hospitality and Tourism Management
Stay tuned for a session description.
Sustainable Tourism – An Ontario Case Study
- Meredith Maywood, Tourism Specialist, Oxford County
- Jacob Murray, Director of Sales & Marketing, Topsy Farms
- Mark Fisher, CEO, Council of the Great Lakes Region
- Angela Nagy, CEO, GreenStep Solutions Inc.
With the awareness that mass tourism can have negative impacts on the environment and our communities, the concept around sustainable tourism is growing more popular in Ontario. Learn examples, lessons, and ideas from leading experts on how you can start gradually with small changes, to product development, office practices, education and marketing, and more.
Indigenous Tourism – The Path Forward
Kevin Eshkawkogan, Executive Director, Indigenous Tourism Ontario (ITO)
Stay tuned for a session description.
Social Media Content Marketing: How to Be Competitive in a Crowded and Expensive Marketplace
Kate Monk, Senior Director, Strategy & Communications, Explorers’ Edge (RTO 12)
Social media has fundamentally altered the way that organizations market to their target audiences. Discover how Explorers’ Edge uses content marketing to compete in a crowded marketplace cost effectively, allowing it to become one of the leading travel marketers in Ontario. And how you can too.
Lifetime Achievement Lunch
Bon Voyage - The Importance of Francophone Tourism
Isabelle de Bruyn , Project Manager, Tourism, The Company economy of Ontario (SEO)
Cultural tourism is experiencing impressive growth and has evolved towards the intangible elements of culture as authentic experiences where interaction with the locals becomes the main reason to travel. Showcasing French heritage, history and culture is a productive way to create new experiences around these intangible elements in a dynamic way and allows the host communities to thrive. This session will present how innovative and inspiring practices showcasing French culture and heritage can support value-added development and partnership strategies for both the industry and the communities.
Le tourisme culturel connaît une croissance impressionnante et a évolué vers les éléments immatériels de la culture. Les expériences authentiques mettant en valeur l'interaction avec les habitants deviennent la principale raison de voyager. La mise en valeur du patrimoine, de l'histoire et de la culture françaises constitue un moyen productif de créer de nouvelles expériences autour de ces éléments intangibles de manière dynamique, et permet aux communautés hôtes de s'épanouir. Cette session présentera comment des pratiques innovantes inspirées de la culture et du patrimoine francophones peuvent soutenir des stratégies de développement et de partenariat à haute valeur ajoutée pour l’industrie et les communautés.
Looking Beyond The Transaction: The Real Value of OTA Partnerships
Benjamin Bohnenblust, Product Performance Manager, North America, Booking.com
Stay tuned for a session description.
Take 5! – MAT: Good Governance Makes Best Practices
Karen Poste, Manager of Economic Development & Strategic Initiatives, City of Belleville
Find out what you don’t know and need to know about getting the most out of the Municipal Accommodation Tax (MAT).
Lisa LaVecchia, President & CEO, Destination Ontario
Stay tuned for a session description.
Partner Marketing: How to Collaborate and Create a Winning Strategy
- Katherine Scarrow, General Manager, Globe Content Studio, The Globe and Mail
Marketing partnerships can be an effective way to jointly promote tourism in Ontario, attract new visitors and keep them coming back. But for partnerships to truly succeed, they have to work for all parties. Learn how your organization can target the right partners, broker a deal, avoid pitfalls and forge long-lasting relationships.
Summit First Timers Reception
Hosted by Blue Mountain Resort
Wednesday, October 30
Welcome & Day 1 Recap
Beth Potter, President & CEO, TIAO
How to Fill the Labour Gap
Adam Morrison, Vice President, Projects and Partnerships, OTEC
Tourism industry employment is typically characterized as short-term and seasonal, and regarded as unviable for long-term, rewarding careers. How do we change this perception, and attract a young, eager workforce that will fill current labour gaps and groom a new generation of industry leaders? Join us to learn more about attempting to overcome stigmas and ensure the continued growth and success of the industry.
Keeping Great Staff in a Seasonal Business
Jessie Hamilton, General Manager, Deerhurst Resort
Brody Purser, Director of Human Resources & Administration, Deerhurst Resort
Stay tuned for a session description.
New this year, OTS19 is featuring 5 minute sessions to highlight key policy issues that impact the Ontario tourism industry. These sessions will include examples of case studies and best practices.
Stay tuned for a session description.
Trending in Spending – Where and How Is the International Market Looking
Chris Baron, Senior Vice President – Sales Central & Western Canada, Global Payments
Understanding the change in behaviours on how consumers spend their money for your destination - is it before they even arrive?, in person? online? Why does one region look and behave different than another. What has impacted these changes? Consumer behaviours vary country by country, province by province and region by region. Ensure you are optimizing your payment readiness. How are you getting ready for this next year of consumer behaviour to unfold? Global Payment is launching their 2nd report of current data customized with current data for Ontario broken down by regions. Identify areas of change in spending year over year in your region and identify potential.
There's a Crisis With Your Name On It
- James Henry, Vice-President of Hospitality, Blue Mountain Resort
- Rod Raycroft, Executive Director, Northeastern Ontario Tourism
- Alexandra Rodgers, Director Research & Policy, Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO)
- Warren Weeks, Media Trainer, Weeks Media
- Andrew Weir, Executive Vice President, Destination Development, Tourism Toronto & Vice-Chair, TIAO Board of Directors
Hear from leading experts on preparing for the unknown crisis; strategies for before, during, and after. This panel will cover everything from innovative ways to deal with a crisis, high-level media training, government relations, and regulatory reform. Come prepared with your questions as there will be a live, 20 minute Q&A as part of the session.
Power & Pride - LGBTQ2S+ Tourism
- Ken Chan, Assistant Deputy Minister, Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport
- Jason Veltri, Chair, Thunder Pride Association
- Darrell Schuurman, Co-Founder & CEO, Canadian Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
This session not only features tourism and business leaders who are paving the way with diversity and inclusion training, but looks at the dynamic and powerful ways that LGBTQ2S+ tourism grows the economy in Ontario. Learn how your organization can be poised to benefit from this innovative and changing landscape of equality.
Bringing the Lens Closer to Understand Your Buyer’s Behaviour
Larry Filler, Senior Vice President & Practice Leader, Environics Analytics
Stay tuned for a session description.
Maximizing Ontario's Tourism Potential - Winter & Shoulder Season Tourism
- Ryan Eickmeier, CEO, Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC)
- Other Panelists TBD
- James Murphy, Executive Director, Explorers’ Edge (RTO 12)
This session includes business case examples from regions across Ontario to highlight both the power and the complexities of delivering top-notch winter and shoulder season tourism.
Reach Millions on Google Easily, Quickly, and Inexpensively
Matthew Focht, Founder and CEO, Truly360 - Google Trusted Agency
Whether from desktop or mobile device, your potential visitors are already using Google’s robust tools to check out hotels, restaurants, attractions, and points of interest all over your destination. You no longer have to fight with Google or scratch your head in bewilderment wondering how to make sense of it all. Learn how to utilize ALL of Google’s tools, exactly as they were intended, to educate and attract potentially millions of visitors. Be pleasantly shocked by how easily, quickly, and inexpensively you can make a HUGE impact on your destination.
Take 5! – The Only Response to Climate Anxiety is Climate Action
Andrea Curley, Manager, Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation
Find out how to strategically prepare for the inevitable impacts of climate change, extreme weather, flooding, and how to mitigate impacts on Ontario tourism businesses.
Explore the Bruce – Understanding Your Visitor: Economic Impact of Tourism in Bruce County
Jill Roote ,Manager of Economic Development, Corporation of the County of Bruce
Vicky Ly, Economic Development Officer, Bruce County Tourism
Don’t miss out on this case study presentation that explains the methodology and application of Bruce County’s Economic Impact of Tourism Report, made available to local stakeholders so that they have a better understanding of who their visitors are.
Canada’s AI Imperative – Overcoming Risks & Building Trust
Presenter from Deloitte Canada TBD
Stay tuned for a session description.
Don’t Build a Hotel and Anticipate Travellers Will Come – Understanding Investment
Fran Hohol, Senior Director, Tourism and Leisure Group, CBRE Canada
Rebecca Godfrey, Director, Tourism and Leisure Group, CBRE Canada
Stay tuned for a session description.
Ontario Tourism Awards of Excellence Finalist Reception
By Invitation Only
Ontario Tourism Awards of Excellence Gala Reception
Gala Dinner and Ontario Tourism Awards of Excellence Presentation
Hosted by Blue Mountain Village Association
Consulate General of Greece
Victor Maligoudis is a career diplomat working for the Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Prior to his current position, Mr. Maligoudis served, since November 2016, in the Diplomatic Cabinet of the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, responsible for Greeks Abroad.
Mr. Maligoudis entered the Diplomatic Academy in 2004 and has since held the following positions in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
- 2005 – 2006: Attaché at the Protocol Department
- 2006 – 2009: Second Secretary at the Embassy of Greece in Sofia, Bulgaria
- 2009 – 2011: Deputy Head at the Information and Public Diplomacy Department
- 2011 – 2016: Consul and Deputy Head at the Consulate General of Greece in Istanbul
Consul General Maligoudis holds a Master’s degree in Law (LL.M.) from the Ruprecht-Karls University of Heidelberg, Germany, and a BA degree from the School of Law of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. He is a graduate of the German School of Thessaloniki.
Brockville City Councillor & Vice-President
Ontario Non Profit Housing Association
Leigh Bursey is a 32 year old three-term Brockville City Councillor. Leigh is the past chair of Brockville's Youth Advisory Council, serving the committee since it was established in 2011. Leigh is educated as a child and youth worker and is currently completing the Chartered Housing Professionals program through the Chartered Institute of Housing. He is the current vice president of the Ontario Non Profit Housing Association, and is a former homeless youth.
Outside of his municipal role, Leigh is an author, musician, talk show host, activist, and even a pro wrestler. He wears many hats, but his favourite is dog owner to Rufus. He is currently recognized as not only an activist and pundit, but also one of Brockville's Top 40 Under 40.
Authoring the book, More Than A Number: A Beginner's Guide to Housing and Homelessness, Leigh also serves on many committees including a rural and remote homelessness working group for people with lived experience, the Brockville Non Profit Housing Corporation, the Leeds and Grenville Housing Table, and the college of reviewers for CMHC.
Managing Director - Canada
As managing director of Canadian-based Beattie Tartan, Deirdre has been entrenched in the global tourism market for more than 18 years. What began as a west-coast based boutique PR agency called Tartan in 2001, with a handful of Canadian signature experiences quickly expanded internationally with a range of eco-experiences across Central and South America. This was also the beginning of Deirdre’s passion for sustainable tourism, and she is a founding member of the Global Ecotourism Network, past board chair of Destination Greater Victoria and co-founder of the IMPACT Sustainable Travel and Tourism conference held annually in Victoria, BC. In 2017, Tartan merged with the Beattie Group, a UK based PR agency with over 34 years of experience and 12 offices. This allowed Deirdre to expand her team’s digital expertise and build a substantial client base across Canada. With offices in Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria and Calgary, and associates in Ottawa, Winnipeg, Montreal and New York, today Beattie Tartan counts the Jordan Tourism Board, Destination Canada and Indigenous Tourism Canada along with many outstanding signature experiences among its tourism clients. Her career in sustainable tourism has taken her to Chile, Jordan, Korea, China, Australia, Costa Rica, US and across Canada to speak about the importance of a sustainable visitor economy. In 2019, Destination Greater Victoria presented Deirdre with their Miracle Award in recognition of her work within the tourism industry.
Ted Rogers School of Hospitality and Tourism Management
Dr. Rachel Dodds has worked in the tourism industry for over 20 years. Known globally as an expert on sustainable tourism, she has worked to address tourism issues in multiple countries and focuses on marketing, tourism planning and development. In December, 2018, she was appointed to Canada's Federal Tourism Council: Jobs and the Visitor Economy. Rachel is a Professor at the Ted Rogers School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Ryerson University in Toronto as well as the Director of a tourism consultancy: Sustaining Tourism. She recently published a book: Overtourism: issues, realities and solutions.
George Brown College – School of Hospitality and Tourism Management
Joanne has travelled the world and brings industry talent and vision to George Brown and the city of Toronto as part of the professor team in the Applied Degree program. Her classroom experience is enhanced by more than 25 years of front line and management experience with airlines, car rental companies, cruise lines, hotels, and convention centers. She also has a tour-operator and travel-agency business background. Her diversified history in former executive positions includes President of Contiki Holidays Canada, Executive Director of Sales and Marketing with Sheraton and Best Western Parkway Hotels, and National Cruise Purchaser and Director for Marlin Travel-Thomas Cook Canada. Joanne began her tourism career in 1980 as a provincial travel counsellor for the “Ontario Yours to Discover” program, and has received many awards, including Contiki’s Worldwide Executive of the Year and a Provincial Volunteer Service award recognizing five years of service from the Ontario Colleges Professional Advisory.
In 2008 and 2013, she co-authored team tourism articles for the International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management and the Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes Journal, U.K. Joanne has an MBA in Hotel and Food Administration from the University of Guelph, an honorary masters from IMI University of Lucerne, Switzerland, a Tourist Industry Administration Management Diploma from Seneca College. Joanne is a DBA graduate in 2017 of the University of Phoenix’s Doctor of Business Administration program.
Product Performance Manager, North America
Part of the commercial specialist team for North America, Benjamin oversees product performance for the continent, with a close focus on the Canadian market. Prior to joining the North American team, he managed Booking.com markets and local teams in Switzerland and Norway. In addition to more than seven years at Booking.com, Benjamin brings over 12 years of experience within the travel and tourism industry to his current role.
Manager, Economic Development & Strategic Initiatives
City of Belleville
Having graduated top of her class in Business Administration from St. Lawrence College, Kingston, Karen has enjoyed working in municipal government for the last 30 years.
Starting her career as a land use planner, but having experience in by-law enforcement, emergency planning, budgeting and project management, Karen has been able to use this experience to help her in her daily tasks as the Manager of Economic and Strategic Initiatives for the City of Belleville. Business retention and business attraction are her main objectives, but she is involved in many different community building initiatives for the City, including tourism and destination development.
Karen was previously awarded the Ontario East Economic Developer of the Year Award by her peers and was also named “Business Woman of the Year” for the Bay of Quinte Region.
Senior Vice President – Sales Central & Western Canada
Global Payments Canada
Chris joined Global Payments Canada in business development in February 2004—a time when emerging technologies like EMV, IP and e-commerce were in their infancy. Currently, Chris leads the Canadian bank and referral partner channel, national telesales, business development, third-party independent sales and the worldwide cloud platform enablement of salesforce and sales effectiveness. Prior to joining Global Payments, Chris worked for Accor Hotels in national association and corporate sales and other capacities. A proud husband, father and athlete, Chris has competed at the Canadian national level for cross country running, completed 55 marathons, three ultra-marathons and was a Guinness World Record holder for the fastest marathon.
Senior Vice President & Practice Leader for the Travel & Tourism, Insurance and Loyalty industries
As a Senior Vice President & Practice Leader for the Travel & Tourism, Insurance and Loyalty industries, Larry Filler helps organizations realize value from data. He has more than 30 years of experience in developing and applying analytics solutions for clients across many industry sectors, including technology, financial services, retail, automotive, packaged goods, loyalty, travel and not-for-profit. Larry co-founded the Boire Filler Group, an analytics consulting practice that was acquired by Environics Analytics in 2016. He began his career at American Express and later worked at the Loyalty Management Group and MacLaren McCann Relationship Marketing. A frequent speaker at industry conferences, Larry holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the University of Wisconsin and an MBA in Marketing from Schulich School of Business at York University.
Founder and CEO
Truly360 - Google Trusted Agency
Today, Truly360 is the only company of its kind in the world, seamlessly acting as a liaison between Google and destinations, agencies, and businesses, assisting with every established Google product and service available. By utilizing all of Google’s tools, exactly as they were intended, destinations are able to really stand out by educating and attracting visitors on a truly massive scale.
Matthew Focht resides in Rancho Santa Fe, California with his beautiful wife and four children. Having travelled to all 7 continents, all 50 US States, and almost every Canadian district, Matthew has a very unique perspective on the travel industry you are sure to enjoy.
Intact Centre on Climate Adaption
Andrea Curley is the Manager at the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation. Andrea supports the day-to-day operations of the Intact Centre, as well as oversees research on best practices to address extreme heat in urban communities across Canada. Prior to joining the Intact Centre, Andrea worked at Forests Ontario as the Business Development Manager and within the financial sector at Meridian Credit Union. Andrea completed her B.Sc in Biological Science with emphasis of her studies on marine biology and holds a M.Env.Sc. from the University of Guelph.
Indigenous Tourism Ontario (ITO)
Kevin is Anishnabek and is a member of the M’Chigeeng First Nation on Manitoulin Island.
Kevin has been a key player in the development of Indigenous cultural tourism in Ontario since 2003. Kevin was an integral part of the development and growth of the Great Sprit Circle Trail (GSCT) on Manitoulin Island, one of the country’s most renowned Indigenous tourism organizations that provides culturally authentic Indigenous experiences to visitors along with marketing support to Indigenous operators.
He has provided leadership to GSCT for over 15 years and has imparted his guidance to countless individuals throughout Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada, and beyond. Kevin works tirelessly to unite Indigenous tourism providers, grow market reach and bring meaningful employment opportunities to the region. He is a mentor and visionary who works closely with his community to ensure sustainable and organic growth within the Indigenous tourism industry. In 2015, Kevin was named the Tourism Champion of the Year by the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario. He has also been recognized by numerous media outlets for his accomplishments within the industry.
Kevin sits on a variety of boards including the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) and Indigenous Tourism Association of Ontario (TIAO). He has also helped establish ITO, ITAC, Northeastern Ontario Tourism, Destination Northern Ontario, the Manitoulin Hotel and Conference Centre, and many other tourism organizations and businesses. He also sits on the Destination Ontario Sector Advisory Committee, Tourism Skillsnet Ontario Council, and the Trans Canada Trail Indigenous Advisory Committee.
Senior Director, Strategy & Communications
Explorers' Edge (RTO 12)
Kate is the Senior Director of Strategy & Communications at Explorers’ Edge/RTO12. She is a main driver of innovative RTO12 programs, including the Regional Tourism Strategy, the Product Development Framework, the Fuel & Fun Package, and social enterprise catalyst housing (in development). Kate oversees RTO12's extremely successful content programs for domestic and international markets, both of which were integral to securing RTO12’s partnership with Porter Airlines. Her ‘Share Your Canada 150’ strategy resulted in 1300 user-generated content stories being posted to the campaign’s site and over 7,000 international leads being added to the RTO’s database in just 5 weeks. She is also the in-house writer for RTO12.
Isabelle de Bruyn
Project Manager, Tourism
La Société économique de l’Ontario (SÉO)
Isabelle de Bruyn is a Project Manager for the tourism sector at La Société économique de l’Ontario (SÉO). She received her B.A.h. from North London University and has a Masters of Engineering in Tourism from Université de Savoie, France. She emigrated to Canada in 2000 where she started a career in local economic development. After sixteen years, she returned to the tourism sector and joined SÉO to develop and promote Francophone & bilingual tourism in Ontario. Among other projects, Isabelle drives the Ontario Champlain Scenic Route initiative, a provincial wide tourism development venture that started in 2015 as part of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport’s Strategic Framework for Tourism in Ontario. She is also actively involved with the Francophone Tourism Corridor Project in Canada.
Senior Director, Tourism and Leisure Group
Fran has been providing advisory services to the hospitality and tourism industry in Canada for more than 30 years, including market and financial feasibility studies, needs assessments, economic impact studies and strategic business plans for investment opportunities and tourism-based associations. She has extensive experience working within both the public and private sector environments, as well as public-private partnership arrangements. She’s also responsible for CBRE Hotels’ extensive national database on the accommodation sector. Fran is a past board director for the Canadian Chapter of the Tourism and Travel Research Association, and has also participated in the Economic Developers Council of Ontario and Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport’s Meet the Investor Dragons event for the past four years.
Director, Tourism and Leisure Group
Rebecca has 13 years of consulting experience in the tourism and hospitality industries, specializing in market and financial feasibility studies, strategic business plans for tourism-based associations, needs assessments, economic impact studies and organizational assessments. A notable example of her work and expertise include determining the market and economic viability of a proposed Outdoor Walk attraction at the CN Tower, now known as the EdgeWalk. Rebecca holds a master’s degree in business administration in hospitality and tourism management, and received her Certified Management Consultant (CMC) designation in 2012.
President & CEO
Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO)
Beth Potter has led the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO)—the umbrella trade association for Ontario’s tourism industry—as President and CEO since January 2011. A distinguished member of the tourism community with more than 25 years of experience in the not-for-profit and tourism sectors, Beth has worked with a variety of boards, committees and volunteers across the tourism industry and from all walks of life. She currently serves on the boards for the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, and is a member of the Advisory Council for the Ted Rogers School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Ryerson University.
Waterloo Regional Tourism Marketing Corporation
Before joining the Waterloo Region Tourism Marketing Corporation, Minto began her career with Hilton International in Vancouver after graduating from the Hotel program at BCIT. After a few moves with Hilton in Sales and Marketing positions – from Vancouver to Saint John,Toronto and Halifax, she left the hotel business to join Tourism Nova Scotia. She spent over a decade with the PMO before trying her hand as a tour operator and moving south of the border to Westport, Connecticut where she joined Tauck World Discovery as a Product Manager initially and eventually moving to sales.
Vice President of Hospitality
Blue Mountain Resorts
As Vice President of Hospitality for Blue Mountain Resorts, James oversees the Lodging, Food & Beverage, Maintenance, Security and Sales operations for the resort. With nearly 1,000 lodging units and 90,000 square feet of meeting and function space, Blue Mountain is Ontario’s largest four season resort destination that sees upwards of 2.5 million visitors annually. James began his career at Blue Mountain as part of the opening team for the Westin Trillium House in 2005, after spending five years as Director of Operations with Clublink and Delta Hotels & Resorts in Muskoka. His life in hospitality spans 30 years, working in hotels across Ontario with properties including the Westin, Delta, Radisson, Holiday Inn and Choice Hotel flags. Additionally James holds the position of Chairman of the Blue Mountain Village Association 2008 - present, Vice-Chair of the Simcoe County arm of ORHMA from 2008 – 2010, and has been a part-time hospitality educator with Georgian College in Barrie. A graduate of the University of Windsor, James holds a Bachelors of Commerce and an Environmental Resource Management Degree.
Director, Policy & Research
Tourism Industry Assocation of Ontario (TIAO)
Alexandra is the Director of Policy & Research at TIAO. Prior to her work with TIAO she authored the first comprehensive report on Migrant Workers Legal Needs in British Columbia, Envisioning Justice for Migrant Workers: A Legal Needs Assessment (2018); funded by the Law Foundation of British Columbia. Her Social Science and Humanities Research Council funded Master’s thesis examined the regulation of labour migration and employment agents who recruit Temporary Foreign Workers, Temporary Foreign Workers in British Columbia: Unfree Labour & the Rise of Unscrupulous Recruitment Practice (2017). Alexandra also co-founded a coalition to enhance BC government regulation of employment agents who recruit Temporary Foreign Workers. The campaigns regulatory amendments were successfully adopted on November 8th, 2018 when the Temporary Foreign Worker Act, Bill 48 received Royal Assent.
Northeastern Ontario Tourism
After obtaining a degree in fine arts, Rod dreamed of one day painting in Paris. To make this a reality, this led him down of path of a series of adventures in communication and marketing. During the course of almost 40 years of experiences in northern Canada, Rod has achieved several milestones in five senior positions at Tourism Yukon, which included a stint as the Director of Tourism. He furthered the economic objectives of the tourism industry in three destinations, leveraged a partnership with a tire company for a sled-dog race, and created a gallery tour program for the entire territory which still draws tourists to the arts 19 years later.
As the Regional Director of Communications for the federal government in the Yukon, Rod managed crisis communications strategies when loggers and miners protested, as well as when 155 fires burned through the vast woodlands of the territory. He developed tactical strategic plans and innovative partnerships by thinking outside the box within government departments and non-profit organizations. Currently Rod is the Executive Director for Northeastern Ontario Tourism and is working with a creative team under limited funding.
For the past 16 years, Warren Weeks has run his own media relations company, working with organizations like Shopify, Gymshark, Manulife and hundreds of others. Over the past two decades, Warren has become one of Canada’s most popular and trusted media trainers. Thousands of spokespeople from a wide range of industries have called upon Warren to learn how to take greater control over their media interviews and to improve their media relations outcomes. Throughout his 25-year career, he’s also worked on numerous crisis situations, including the infamous Walkerton E. coli crisis.
Growing up on a 50 acre hobby farm on Prince Edward Island gave Meredith a passion for the environment and tourism. This passion became a career with Meredith working for the County of Oxford as a Tourism Specialist since 2013. In this role Meredith has launched the Oxford County Cheese Trail, the Oxford Fresh buy local program, tourism cycling routes and supported the County of Oxford’s efforts in sustainability. This includes Tourism Oxford being the first DMO in Canada to receive Gold level certification from Green Tourism Canada (Sustainable Tourism 2030).
Assistant Deputy Minister
Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport
Ken Chan is an Assistant Deputy Minister at the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport where he is responsible for provincial agencies oversight, project management and capital planning. He is also the Ministry’s executive lead for inclusion and diversity.
Prior to joining the Ontario Government in 2017, Ken held leadership roles in the life sciences sector. His international experience included positions with the UK Department for Business and at London City Hall. Earlier in his career, Ken served as a police officer and an immigration officer.
A seasoned director, Ken is on the boards of Alterna Savings and Alterna Bank. Ken's previous board experience spanned the health and education sectors in Canada and the UK.
Thunder Pride Association
Jason is currently serving in his first term as Chair of Thunder Pride Association, located in Thunder Bay Ontario. As Chair, Jason has brought a new vision and direction to the organization by undertaking a complete renewal & expansion of the Pride Festival. Under Jason’s leadership, Thunder Pride Association secured the 2021 Fierté Canada Pride National Conference and AGM. Thunder Pride Association also announced an historic partnership with all three local school boards to raise the Pride Flag. LGBTIQ2S Advocacy and Politics have been life passion’s for Jason’s. Jason also sits are Chair of the Anti-Racism & Respect Advisory Committee to City Council and Chair’s both 2020 and 2021 Fierté Canada Pride National Conference & AGM committees.
Co-Founder & CEO
Canadian Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
Darrell is an advocate of effecting social change through the economic empowerment of LGBT+ entrepreneurs. He is the co-founder and CEO of the CGLCC, Canada’s LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce, a national not-for-profit organization with a mission to expand the opportunities and advancement of the LGBT+ business community in Canada.
Darrell is also passionate about strengthening Canada’s tourism industry. He was the co-founder of Travel Gay Canada, an organization focused on increasing tourism receipts to Canada, and Managing Partner at DNA Marketing Group, a specialized marketing company for the tourism industry. Prior, he spent 6 years with VIA Rail Canada and 5 years with the Canadian Tourism Human Resource Council.
Darrell completed his Bachelor of Commerce Degree at the University of Calgary, and completed his Executive MBA from Richard Ivey School of Business, Western University.
Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC)
Ryan is the Chief Executive Officer of the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC), a volunteer led not-for profit association that provides the voice for organized snowmobiling in the Province of Ontario. The mission of the OFSC is to provide leadership to member organizations in our commitment to enable exceptional snowmobile trails and rider experiences throughout the province.
Before the OFSC, Ryan held the following positions:
- Vice President, Government Relations & Public Policy with the Canadian Franchise Association (CFA), the recognized authority on franchising in Canada
- Senior Director, Public Affairs at GS1 Canada, the world’s leading supply chain standards organization
- Director, Government Relations & Policy at the Real Property Association of Canada (REALpac)
- Associate at the political consulting firm Greener and Hook
- Research Assistant at The Center for Terrorism and Intelligence Studies (CETIS)
Academically, Ryan has earned a Bachelor of Arts (B.A) in political science from New England College, a Master of Public Policy (M.P.P.) from The American University School of Public Affairs, a Master of Law (LL.M) at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School, and an Executive Master of Business Administration (E.M.B.A) at the University of Fredericton’s Sandermoen School of Business.
Explorers’ Edge (RTO 12)
James Murphy is the Executive Director of RTO12/Explorers’ Edge. Reporting to a volunteer Board of Directors comprised of tourism business owners, he is responsible for multiple programs to build tourism receipts in Algonquin Park, Almaguin Highlands, Loring-Restoule, Muskoka, Parry Sound and South Algonquin. He and his team have produced some of the most innovative tourism programs in the Canadian travel industry, including the launch of a commercial air service into a rural airport as a result of RTO12’s partnership with Porter Airlines. Prior to joining RTO12, James’s background was in culinary tourism, and he is the former General Manager of Savour Muskoka. He holds a Masters of Arts Degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies, Tourism Planning and Policy from the University of Waterloo.
Executive Vice President, Destination Development
Andrew has been with Tourism Toronto since 2005 and currently serves as the Executive Vice President of Destination Development. In this newly created role he leads the planning and advocacy for tourism, identifying and developing ways to improve the destination experience in Toronto. By forging stronger connections between tourism and other business sectors and government officials, Andrew's mandate is to help shape the policy and business environment to support continued growth of the visitor economy and its contribution to the region. He continues to provide leadership to Tourism Toronto's Partnership and Membership team, as well as directing the organization’s Research and Analytics and Corporate Communications.
General Manager, Globe Content Studio
The Globe and Mail
As general manager of the Globe Content Studio, Katherine Scarrow leads the production and execution of content marketing programs at The Globe and Mail. In her role, she uses the power of storytelling to help travel and tourism clients connect with audiences and drive results. She holds an MBA from Ivey Business School, a masters of journalism from UBC and a BA from Huron University College.
Awards Dinner Emcee
Media Relations Coordinator
Kevin Forget is the Ontario Media Relations Coordinator for Destination Ontario. In his role he works with broadcast media across Ontario to promote events, attractions and resorts year-round. Kevin also regularly appears on CTV, Citytv, The Weather Network and other stations to promote tourism in Ontario. His weekly radio promotional segments include interviews with CBC Fresh Air, Corus Radio and Bell Media. Before working at Destination Ontario Kevin was the Executive Producer of Citytv’s Breakfast Television in Toronto.
OTS' Marketplace is a B2B traditional trade show format. It is networking-focused and includes a more intimate setting for the businesses and operators serving Ontario’s tourism industry.
For any questions about sponsorship opportunities or marketplace bookings, contact Carol Greenwood, Director, Membership & Business Development, at email@example.com or 416-483-1691.
OTS19 delegates can receive a discounted rate at Blue Mountain Resort. This special conference rate is available three days pre- and post-event.
Book Reservation by Telephone
- Call the Reservations Department at 1-877-445-0231
- Quote group name - TIAO Summit Oct 2019
- Use the code: GRP127980
Book Reservation Online
- Book via: https://bmrbooking.bluemountain.ca/
- Click on the 'I have a group/promo code' and enter group code: GB00001069
- All reservations must be guaranteed by a credit card number with a first night deposit processed on 30 days of arrival and final payment due on departure by cash, credit card, certified cheque or money order
- Complimentary outdoor parking is available on resort. Secured underground parking is available for guests staying in the Village or Mosaic Suites at a rate of $15.00 plus HST per day, per vehicle
- Check in is at 4 p.m., check out is at 11 a.m.