(Thunder Bay, ON) – Tourism operators, professionals and industry stakeholders celebrated a busy and prosperous season in a big way this week in Thunder Bay. With 2016 being just .04% shy of the highest number of visitors on record for Canada, Northern Ontario headed into the 2017 season with high hopes that were not disappointed.
As a culmination of the Northern tourism industry’s successful season, over 300 delegates from across the region gathered in Thunder Bay at the Northern Ontario Tourism Summit to learn, share and celebrate from November 15th to 17th. Marty Kalagian, Chair of Tourism Northern Ontario, had this to say about the event: “The Northern Ontario Tourism Summit continues to please attendees year after year. It is so important to come together as an industry not only to learn together, but to learn from each other and celebrate the fantastic individuals in this sector. Our growth and prosperity, both individually and as a whole, depends on our ability to work together by fostering new and existing relationships. We can’t wait to see everyone next year in Sault Ste. Marie.”
Attendees participated in over 24 workshops and sessions specifically designed to increase sales and marketing efforts, boost product development and prepare for workforce development challenges such as succession planning and employee training.
The industry was recognized over the course of two awards ceremonies; the Nature and Outdoor Tourism Ontario Annual Awards and the Tourism Northern Ontario Industry Award Leaders. Award recipients include:
· Tourism Northern Ontario Industry Leader Award – Investment Attraction – Radical Gardens
· Tourism Northern Ontario Industry Leader Award – Workforce Development and Training – Quattro Hotel and Conference Centre
· Tourism Northern Ontario Industry Leader Award – Product Development – Lake of the Woods Brewing Company
· Tourism Northern Ontario Industry Leader Award – Marketing and Communications – Joe Barefoot, Bear Den Lodge
· Tourism Northern Ontario Industry Leader Award – Tourism Innovator of the Year – Gregory Heroux, Sal Superior
· Nature and Outdoor Tourism Ontario – Bob Giles Award – Bill Chambers, Pine Grove Resort Cottages
· Nature and Outdoor Tourism Ontario – Executive Director’s Award – Bob David, Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry
· Nature and Outdoor Tourism Ontario – Preferred Supplier of The Year – Rod Duhaime, Quattro Hotel & Conference Center
· Nature and Outdoor Tourism Ontario – President’s Award – Brenda Baughman
· Nature and Outdoor Tourism Ontario – Tourism Champion Award – Luke Wassegijig, Wikiwemikong Tourism
The host community for the 2018 Northern Ontario Tourism Summit was announced by Ian McMillian, Executive Director, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie. “Hosting a major conference such as the Northern Ontario Tourism Summit not only provides a significant economic impact to our city, but it also gives us a chance to show off our attractions and amenities to key industry representatives from across Northern Ontario,” said McMillian. The Northern Ontario Tourism Summit steering committee invites the industry to Sault Ste. Marie next fall.