Tourism Congress and the Canadian Tourism Awards
This year's Tourism Congress, presented by Discover Global Network, was not only a great success, but an introduction to new speakers, fresh ideas and different perspectives that better represent our industry. Although this year we brought forth some changes, we continued to ensure the integrity of the event as a national hub for critical discussion, networking and an access point to government and industry decision-makers.
There were two engaging keynote presentations this year. Wednesday morning Greg Oates, Executive Editor of Skift Brand Travel Group, presented The New Rules of Innovation & Collaboration for Travel Destinations. During this keynote, presented by Parks Canada, Oates recapped global travel trends and perspectives from industries and communities implementing a more strategic level of collaboration and innovation among public and private sectors.
For the luncheon keynote, presented by Marriott, Helen Marano, Senior VP of Government and Industry Affairs for the World Travel and Tourism Council presented an insightful overview of Canada's place among the global travel industry and where the potential lies for the future.
For the Chair's Opening Reception, we were joined by the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Small Business and Tourism, Alaina Lockhart, Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business and Tourism and Gudie Hutchings, Chair of the Parliamentary Tourism Caucus.
This year, Congress sessions were carefully crafted to include new formats, faces, perspectives and subject matter. Here are some of the highlights:
The much-anticipated Tackling the Gender Gap panel was an honest look at the potential our industry has to play an integral role in workplace equality. The impressive panel of experts offered eye-opening insights into how workplace inequality negatively effects not only the obvious, such as employee retention, but also the not-so-obvious, such as the bottom line. TIAC is pleased to have furthered this important conversation among our industry peers and to see the high level of participation from the audience.
The New Kids on The Block session, featured entrepreneurs Eropa Stein, Founder and CEO of HyreStaff and Muneeb Mushtaq, Co-founder and CEO of AskforTask. This presentation showcased how creative thinkers are solving labour issues using today's technology, labour market trends and elements of the sharing economy. The potential for the tourism industry to partner with these innovation disruptors is significant.
With anticipation for the Canada-China Year of Tourism growing, the Dancing with the Dragon panel was one of the most-attended sessions. Stewart Beck, President and CEO of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada and Jennifer Drew, Director of Market Management for Canada at The Expedia Group shared their insights on how Tourism businesses can go from China-ready to China-ambitious.
The Air Canada Tourism Hall of Fame Luncheon honoured the contributions of two prominent women who have contributed tirelessly to our industry: Christena Keon Sirsly, former Chief Strategy Officer of VIA Rail Canada and Judith Cabrita, former President of the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia.
During Destination Canada's annual public meeting there were several exciting MOU's signed, these include:
- A new partnership agreement between Destination Canada and Statistics Canada
- A new partnership signed between Destination Canada and 21 key industry partners to further the North Star 22 program