Check out the latest news from around the world by the industry's movers and shakers.
Check out the latest news from around the world by the industry's movers and shakers.
We have compiled a list of sources to help you access the latest information regarding COVID-19. Details and information surrounding COVID-19 are constantly changing. We will continue to monitor the situation and post relevant resources as they come in.
Remarks by Clark Grue, Chair Meetings Mean Business Canada, to The House of Commons of Canada’s Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology in view of its study of the Canadian response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thank you Madame Chair and honorable committee Members….
Meetings Mean Business Canada represents a cross section of the Business Events community in Canada. We are made up of Event professionals and event owners, hoteliers, transportation professionals, convention centres, airlines, Destination Marketing Organizations, technology companies and many others who make up an often invisible industry that supports the growth of every industry in our country. In addition to this, Business Events stimulate no less than a third of the Tourism activity in Canada.
The Business Events industry was, until COVID hit us, a 1 Trillion Dollar global industry. In Canada, according to Oxford Economics, 229,000 Canadian jobs were supported annually by Business Events. The events that we have all attended in the past; conventions, exhibitions, congresses, and other business meetings of 10 or more, created $33 billion in direct spending and contributed $19 Billion to Canada’s annual GDP.
These numbers are real and should shine a light on a critical component of the Canadian economy that has been forced to shut down in the wake of the COVID crisis. This industry that brings together our businesses, academic thought leaders, and Canadian citizens to exchange ideas and transact business has been shut down by the response to COVID 19.
Now, I can tell you that the industry is not suggesting that we have not responded appropriately to the COVID crisis in Canada. Quite the opposite. The professionals in the industry are highly tuned-in to the safety and experience of the attendees at Business Events. This is their life, their living, their career. They understand the safety of delegates in ways that no other industry does. We track our guests before they arrive, while they are in our care and post event.
These are not festivals, concerts or shopping malls. At Business Events we are able to control where our guests go and where they do not go; we control how they interact; we control what they consume and how they consume food and beverages. We are prepared and ready to conduct our business much like the NHL has done with their Event bubbles for the playoffs.
This industry is well prepared to host events again. We can do it safety and we can set a Global standard for doing it right. Doing it with care and doing it in a way that every Canadian would be proud of.
Many of these professionals that are sidelined by protocols are struggling to get through this time. Many of them are new Canadians, many of them are parents of kids, many of them do not have the stability of a pension or other financial supports. They are vulnerable.
Canada needs our business events professionals to survive this crisis. Sadly, without direct support for the people and businesses within the business events industry, they will not survive this fall let alone the next year. Many will have to seek jobs outside of this vital industry.
Just as important, Canada’s industries; Health, Technology, Energy, Finance, Manufacturing, Forestry, Mining, Professional Services, Academia: they all rely on the Event Professionals that bring them together with their colleagues, their suppliers and their customers. This convening of our industry leaders is a backbone to Canada’s economy which allows them to exchange intellectual and financial capital as well as invite the world to explore Canada’s innovation, resources and industry excellence. This fosters R&D, Foreign Direct Investment and Trade.
So, I am here today representing an industry of 229,000 Canadians that need help to survive. Professionals that want desperately to be part of the solution for Canada as we restart our economy. They are passionate about what they do and want to contribute to a solution for Canada.
But the clock is ticking. We have lost a significant portion of 2020, all but lost the lucrative fall season and now we are looking at a challenged first half of 2021.
We are part of the solution to get Canada’s economy restarted. We are a sharpened tool that the government can use to carefully and safely launch the recovery phase of the crisis that we have experienced for the past six months. We can create jobs quickly and efficiently.
Our asks are simple.
Thank you for our kind attention.
MONTREAL - Transat A.T. Inc. is delighted to present the destinations it will offer travellers as of November 1, 2020, strengthening its overall program since gradually resuming its operations on July 23.
Air Transat plans to operate, at the height of the season, flights to more than 40 destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America, the United States, Europe and Canada. A selection of South and Europe packages featuring more than 320 dream hotels will also be offered. And to help travellers plan their getaways with peace of mind, Transat is presenting even more flexible options to book, change or cancel a trip, in addition to ensuring a safe experience with its Traveller Care program.
"Even though the entire tourism industry has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the desire to go abroad for a change of scenery and for new discoveries is still very much alive in travellers," says Annick Guérard, Chief Operating Officer of Transat. "That is why we are delighted to present them with our enhanced offer. Now, more than ever, this program of more than 40 destinations allows us to redesign our future one step at a time and to renew our mission, which is to brighten the everyday of our passengers."
Enhanced flight schedule
As they gradually regain their appreciation for a well-deserved vacation under the sun, travellers will be able to choose from a wide range of flights.
From Montreal, Air Transat will operate direct flights to Colombia(Cartagena), Costa Rica (Liberia, San José), Cuba (Cayo Coco, Cayo Largo, Havana, Holguin, Santa Clara, Varadero), the United States(Fort Lauderdale, New Orleans, Orlando), Guadeloupe (Pointe-à-Pitre), Haiti (Port-au-Prince), Honduras (Roatan), Jamaica (Montego Bay), Mexico (Acapulco, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta), Martinique (Fort-de-France), Panama (Rio Hato), Puerto Rico (San Juan), the Dominican Republic (La Romana, Puerto Plata, Punta Cana, Samana, Santo Domingo), St. Maarten (Philipsburg) and El Salvador (San Salvador).
Travellers from Toronto will be able to fly direct to Colombia (Cartagena), Cuba (Cayo Coco, Cayo Largo, Holguin, Santa Clara, Varadero), the United States (Fort Lauderdale, Orlando), Jamaica (Montego Bay), Honduras (Roatan), Mexico (Cancun, Puerto Vallarta), Panama(Rio Hato), the Dominican Republic (La Romana, Puerto Plata, Punta Cana, Samana) and St. Maarten (Philipsburg).
From Quebec City, 10 South destinations will be accessible via direct flight: Cuba (Cayo Coco, Holguin, Santa Clara, Varadero), the United States (Fort Lauderdale, Orlando), Mexico (Cancun) and the Dominican Republic (Puerto Plata, Punta Cana, Samana).
Direct flights to the most popular destinations in Florida, Mexico and the Caribbean are also scheduled from Halifax, Hamilton, London, Moncton and Ottawa.
In addition, to complement its range of flights, Transat is also highlighting its attractive hotel offer, featuring more than 320 properties grouped under its four collections—Luxury, Distinction, Family and Solo—to suit all tastes and budgets. Exceptional hotels in the United States and Europe are also on the program.
As for Europe, Air Transat will offer direct flights between Montrealand Spain (Malaga), France (Paris) and Portugal (Lisbon). In addition, direct flights from Toronto to Portugal (Faro, Lisbon, Porto) and the United Kingdom (Glasgow, London, Manchester) will also be offered. Travellers from Quebec City will be able to fly direct to France (Paris)during the holidays.
Finally, to open the door to more international destinations and enable travel throughout Canada, Air Transat will also operate domestic flights between Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.
Travelling with peace of mind
Subject to changes in demand and travel restrictions, Transat may have to modify its flight schedule. However, to reassure its travellers, it is offering them even more flexible booking options.
That is why it is extending its Book with peace of mind offer, applicable to all new flight bookings, until August 31, 2020. This offer allows passengers to change their travel dates or destination—or both—at no charge up to 24 hours before departure. In the event of a cancellation, they will obtain a travel credit that will be fully transferable and have no expiry date.
The Here Comes the Sun Promo also includes extra flexibility on new bookings of South packages made by September 11, 2020. It features perks like Transat's Price Drop Guarantee, a reduced deposit of only $100, and Option Flex, which allows travellers to cancel or change their booking at no charge or to transfer their package to a friend or family member.
And since passenger safety remains Transat's top priority, it will continue to apply the strict health and safety measures of its Traveller Care program at check-in, during boarding, on board and at destination. In addition, a practical guide for travellers containing all the information they need has been created to accompany them at every step of their trip.
Air Transat continues the transformation of its fleet and strengthens its commitment to reducing its environmental footprint by integrating two new Airbus A321neoLRs, the greenest in their class. It plans to add three more by next spring, bringing the total number of this generation of aircraft in its fleet to nine.
Transat A.T. Inc. is a leading integrated international tourism company specializing in holiday travel. It offers vacation packages, hotel stays and air travel under the Transat and Air Transat brands to some 60 destinations in more than 25 countries in the Americas and Europe. Transat is firmly committed to sustainable tourism development, as reflected in its multiple corporate responsibility initiatives over the past 13 years, and was awarded Travelife certification in 2018. Based in Montreal, the company has 5,000 employees (TSX: TRZ).
MONTRÉAL In this exceptional summer, as the tourism industry attempts to resume its cruising speed, a new kind of accommodation, Griffintown Hotel, is opening its doors to offer visitors to the city a safe and unique experience. The first concept of its kind in Montréal, this apartment-hotel is designed to provide its guests with a vivid "neighbourhood-type" experience in one of the city's most sought-after new districts, located between the downtown core and the Old Montréal historic quarter. Griffintown Hotel is prioritizing its guests' health and safety in the COVID-19 era.
A concept that has been tested successfully internationally
Griffintown Hotel redefines hospitality. It offers its guests not simply rooms, but complete one- and two-bedroom condo-style apartments (395 to 845 square feet), a concept that has proven itself internationally. Each apartment is designed and equipped to make guests feel at home. From doing laundry to preparing a good meal – all these activities are possible in the comfort of a Griffintown Hotel apartment.
Each apartment is equipped with a full kitchen, a living room and one or two bathrooms. The apartments are therefore ideally designed to comfortably accommodate up to five adults for a long stay. The hotel also offers discounts for rentals of seven days or more.
"Launching a new apartment-hotel concept in the midst of a pandemic is quite a challenge, but we believe it demonstrates the need for an essential service like ours," said Laura-Michèle Grenier Martin, General Manager of Griffintown Hotel. "Our vision is perfectly in tune with today's reality. We offer a safe and autonomous environment while providing hotel standards and services."
A unique experience
Guests have access to many amenities. In addition to a 24-hour reception and security service, an indoor garage is available. With the hotel's Griffintown location, every apartment, whether facing downtown and Mount Royal or the Lachine Canal, enjoys an exceptional view of the skyscrapers and the iconic Farine Five Roses sign. The views are stunning from the private balconies featured with each modern, uncluttered unit.
Since it is not always possible to have a safe table at a restaurant, and to support the principles of distancing, a take-out section reserved exclusively for hotel guests is located on the ground floor. This section offers gourmet take-away meals and a selection of local products for cooking in the apartments. In addition, the hotel's sister commerce, the Café-crèmerie-dépanneur GH (for Griffintown Hotel), offers everyday commodities just a block away from the hotel. Reception staff also deliver orders to the rooms.
Several measures in place in the time of COVID-19
Among the management's top priorities are the health and well-being of guests and employees. Because it is opening its doors in the midst of a pandemic, Griffintown Hotel's usual health and sanitation standards are not only carefully observed, but enhanced. A number of additional measures have been put in place, including a two-step apartment-preparation process, which includes disinfection using dry-vapour equipment commonly found in hospitals. In addition, all the condo-apartments have their own independent ventilation system. Finally, a 24-hour delay between bookings is respected in order to assure visitors' safety.
Visit www.griffintownhotel.com to take advantage of official opening promotions.
About Griffintown Hotel
Griffintown Hotel is a new-generation accommodation for business and leisure travellers who want a simple and authentic Montréal experience. Located on Rue des Bassin, the hotel is close to several new restaurants, shops and parks that have transformed the Griffintown neighbourhood into one of the most sought-after in Montréal. The hotel includes 114 fully-equipped condo-style apartments that are available for short-, medium- and long-term stays via the hotel's website. Griffintown Hotel offers all the amenities of a hotel with the comfort of home.
For more information, visit www.griffintownhotel.com.
Montréal – The Palais des congrès de Montréal is continuing to proactively respond to the challenges the events industry is facing by innovatively adapting its services and solutions. Today, it unveils its latest strategic initiative aimed at shaping the convention centre of the future: a video and podcast studio designed for content creation as well as live and on-demand streaming. The name of the studio is: ‘’Palais Média Propulsion“, and its new state-of-the-art facilities will be made available to organizers looking to host hybrid events (both live and virtual) and to generate and capture compelling content that will drive further interactions on the web, social media and other platforms.
This innovative turnkey service will enable the Palais and its customers to seize and capitalize on the digital opportunities of events hosted at the Palais. And due to the fact that the Palais is a leading advocate for Montréal creativity, these customers will also enjoy access to a network of the city’s top production teams. Involving local firms and creatives in the content creation process will enable Québec talent to demonstrate what it can do to an international clientele. Event organizers can look forward to imaginative, agile, flexible and affordable options.
Content that reflects the range and diversity of events hosted at the Palais
From science talks during conferences to fun informal interviews, the new studio will produce content for all tastes. The studio will also feature themed channels covering local news, sports, innovation, wellness, etc. that will provide a unique showcase for the various topics being addressed at the events happening at the Palais.
Aptly located in the heart of the city, this studio will serve as a communication hub conveying the effervescence of the Palais, widely regarded as a driver of innovation and knowledge, and a favourite venue for ideas and people to come together.
A full range of services
This high-tech digital studio will be run by a creative team focused on accurately ascertaining the needs of customers and driven by a desire to communicate their mission during events. Palais Média Propulsion offers myriad possibilities:
Clips and posts specifically for social media
Customers will be able to choose from turnkey packages or à la carte services.
An additional means of helping speed up the reopening
With the pandemic severely affecting major events, Palais Média Propulsion adds to Montréal’s competitive edge as our industry reopens. By fostering the onsite creation of quality content for social media consumption, the Palais is empowering organizers to reach a bigger portion of their audience, and thus help offset any lower turnouts stemming from the current global situation.
The studio becomes the latest in a series of initiatives, after the recent hybrid event packages, and the new health measures, the Palais has released to help restart events in Montréal, under a newly reinvented format.
“With our new studio located in the heart of Montréal, the Palais keeps evolving and reinventing itself in order to proactively meet the needs of customers looking to broaden the reach of their event beyond the venue’s walls and all across the world. Palais Média Propulsion is a creative and flexible solution adapted to our post-COVID reality that will deliver access to exclusive content captured with the finest technology available. This undertaking will reflect Montréal’s vitality and the unforgettable experiences we deliver at the Palais, where we always actively advocate for Montréal’s unique brand of creativity!” – Robert Mercure, CEO of the Palais des congrès de Montréal
About the Palais des congrès de Montréal
The Palais des congrès de Montréal, a new leader in hybrid events, continues to respond proactively to the event hosting requirements prompted by COVID-19. Through PROGRESS, its Palais Reopening Operating Guide to Running Events with Safety Standards, the Palais is adhering to the new health standards ratified by the appropriate governmental authorities. Temporarily closed because of the pandemic, the Palais is now open for events of up to 50 people as of summer 2020.
The Palais des congrès de Montréal convention centre stands in the heart of the top host city in the Americas for international events, as ranked in 2019 by the Union of International Associations. It is the recipient of the highest quality standards certification in the industry, awarded by the International Association of Convention Centres (AIPC), and also a finalist for the prestigious Apex award honouring the “world’s best customer satisfaction ratings.” In 2019–2020, the Palais generated $228 million in economic benefits along with an invaluable amount of intellectual wealth via the 339 events it hosted. A trailblazer, it operates its own events lab, CITÉ, which houses Montréal startups that are helping redefine how conferences are held. The Palais is among the first convention centres in the world to operate a carbon neutral building, and is also BOMA BEST certified. congresmtl.com
SITE Week is a brand new event, created by SITE to respond to the needs of its members and industry at this challenging time. Taking place July 20-23, it is an opportunity to harness the full power of SITE’s global membership. There will be interaction and engagement with Town Halls, Business Recovery Updates, Hackathons, Ideation Sessions and the Launch of The Vancouver Manifesto. Day 1 is for SITE Members only, but the rest of the week is open to the wider Incentive Industry.
As countries begin to ease lockdown measures, and the Incentive Travel Industry sets out on the road to recovery, SITE Week is a chance to come together, reflect, and prepare at this midway point of 2020.
“Throughout the months of lockdown we tried to be together, apart. As we move to the next phase, it’s vital that we stay aligned. SITE Week is a chance for us to plan for recovery and celebrate our togetherness.” SITE President, Jenn Glynn, CIS CITP
SITE Week Overview:
*Open to Non-SITE members also
SITE CEO, Didier Scaillet, CIS, CITP relays his enthusiasm for the sessions towards the end of the week. “I am excited to welcome the wider industry to our ideation sessions on July 22 and 23. We have some incredible speakers and topics that will really connect with our industry’s needs at this time of change and uncertainty”.
Sessions will be held at times to suit global audiences, including topics such as;
Experience Design; The Corporate Perspective & Supporting your Corporate Clients; Sales and Marketing in a Reopening Environment; Sustainability; Employee Wellness in remote work and return to office; Building new revenue streams for small companies; Technology Right Now; A Mental Health Support Discussion for business owners; Elevating Domestic and Regional Incentive Experiences; What's my next job and how do I find it?
EventWell Ltd, the charitable social enterprise, educating and campaigning for better mental health and wellbeing in the events industry, is delighted to announce the agenda for the inaugural Digital Summit 2020.
The EventWell Digital Summit 2020, is a two day digital event bringing the best in thought-leadership and knowledge from the world of wellbeing and mental health in events to a digital stage across two days, Tuesday 14 and Wednesday 15 July.
The inaugural event will provide tools and insight to help event professionals make better choices when it comes to self-care and overall wellbeing, and for employers insight to support positive workplace culture and support for teams and talent, building essential resilience to stay Event Well.
Helen Moon, Chief Executive said “We are really excited to be bringing the first EventWell Digital Summit to the event industry. A new annual event that will focus solely on mental, physical, emotional health and wellbeing, and at a really crucial time. The challenges that we are facing as an industry right now mean that there has never been a more important time to be talking about mental health in particular, with many professionals facing trauma and real challenges and difficulties, we hope that the education and thought leadership we will be sending out over the two days will be of vital support to our industry”.
EventWell are offering any event professionals who have recently been made redundant, lost work, businesses or jobs, free attendance to the summit, to enquire about securing a complimentary ticket you can email the event team at email@example.com.
For more information and a full agenda on the event visit
EventWell is the event industry’s official charitable organisation and social enterprise in the United Kingdom, educating and campaigning for better mental health and wellbeing in the event industry, offering thought-leadership, expertise and support services as the “Mental Health & Wellbeing Voice of the Event Industry”.
#EventWell20 is the fourth annual mental health and wellbeing national industry campaign powered and led by EventWell Ltd. The inaugural campaign held in September 2017 #EventWell17 was successful in inspiring the event industry to take action and start having open conversations on the health and wellbeing of event professionals..
EventWell Ltd was incorporated as a charitable social enterprise at the end of 2017 following the inaugural campaign week, with the aim of educating and providing a go to mental health and wellbeing hub and resource. EventWell’s vision is to “make tangible change to the event industry’s relationship with wellbeing” through its core values of empathy, culture and self-care.
TORONTO The CN Tower announced it will welcome guests back to the CN Tower observation levels starting July 15, 2020.
Like every business, the CN Tower has unique challenges and has determined its opening date to allow for the implementation of the safety measures required.
"The health and safety of our staff and guests is our top priority," said Peter George, COO of the CN Tower. "We are working to ensure every measure is in place to meet or exceed public health guidelines and provide a safe, comfortable, uplifting and exhilarating experience for everyone." Timed tickets will go on sale online July 1 on the CN Tower's website, www.cntower.ca.
In order to meet or exceed the recommendations of public health authorities and the Government of Ontario, the CN Tower has assessed the building from bottom to top and made adjustments to ensure physical distancing is achieved throughout the building and guest experience. The guest flow, including elevator capacity, has been reimagined to avoid bottlenecks anywhere they might occur.
Among the measures we have taken are:
Timed tickets for the reopening of the CN Tower go on sale online July 1. Visit www.cntower.ca for updates and to book tickets.
About the CN Tower
At a height of 553.33 metres (1,815 ft., 5 inches), Canada's National Tower is an engineering wonder, award-winning dining and entertainment destination, and has been Toronto's "must-see" attraction for over four decades. The CN Tower was visited by more than 1.98 million people last year. For more information www.cntower.ca
About Canada Lands Company
Canada Lands Company is a self-financing federal Crown corporation that specializes in real estate development and attractions management. Since 1995, Canada Lands has enriched Canadian communities and experiences by embracing the full potential of the properties it owns and operates. Canada Lands is a leader in attractions management with its operations of the CN Tower and Downsview Park in Toronto, the Old Port of Montréal and the Montréal Science Centre.
Canada Lands Company strives to enhance economic, social and environmental value for Canadians. It has delivered more than $1 billion in economic benefits to Canada since inception.
For more information www.clc.ca
As of June 15th the EU/EEA, EFTA and UK residents have begun to travel to Iceland. A travel restriction release eminently welcomed by both visitors and locals. This reopening is to be followed by nations outside of the Schengen Area on July 1st. All travelers and visitors alike are invited to either be conveniently tested for coronavirus upon arrival at Keflavik International Airport or go directly into a 14 day quarantine stay.
Having successfully eliminated the virus by mid May, Iceland began to lift restrictions and announced the reopening of the border effective June 15th. Being a nation that has faced catastrophes like volcanic eruptions, avalanches and earthquakes, we were able to deal with the pandemic effectively by using a familiar method - allowing and trusting the experts and scientists to lead onward. And upward we went.
With Iceland's stellar strategy of data-protection, including large-scale testing, tracing, and isolating - we feel confident in our reopening process while further controlling the pandemic, which will be closely monitored from every angle. As of today we have only a few Covid-19 cases, with no hospitalizations.
The nation is confident and excited to welcome visitors again this summer. We believe that we have a lot to offer to make your holiday adventurous, safe and relaxing. Though the world is slowly emerging from lockdown we’re not expecting any high numbers in tourism, which will make this summer in Iceland the ideal Coronavirus Refuge, as Bloomberg.com titled it.
As for the meetings industry, we have now opened gatherings for up to 500 people. Safety measures have been taken in all of the hotels, event spaces and other key venues. Restaurants are following strict guidelines, and transportation companies have implemented security strategies.
While this is still very much a developing story in the world, Iceland is ready for your arrival when you are.
The Spanish Secretary of State for Tourism has created the ‘Responsible Tourism’ seal for all those establishments that follow the Guidelines for reducing the spread of COVID-19 in the tourism sector developed by the Secretary of State for Tourism, which are the only ones approved by the Ministry of Health.
To obtain the seal the establishment must show its commitment to follow the Guidelines. This seal is personal and non-transferable and must be renewed every year.
For the Secretary of State for Tourism, Isabel Oliver, “offering trust and safety is crucial at this time to attract both national and international tourists again. This seal is one more element in our strategy to reposition ourselves as a safe tourism destination worldwide. In addition, it serves to recognize the responsibility of those entrepreneurs who make an effort to create a safe environment in their respective businesses not only for tourists but for their own workers and residents”.
The ‘Guidelines for reducing the spread of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 in the tourism sector’ contain specifications of service, cleaning and disinfection, maintenance and management of risk for different subsectors of the tourist sector, and will be the framework for the creation of standards at a global level, following an agreement adopted within the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
The Guidelines can be downloaded at: https://www.mincotur.gob.es/en-us/COVID-19/turismo/Paginas/Guias-sector-turistico.aspx
CALGARY, AB, June 22, 2020 /CNW/ - Three new federal and provincial funding programs for Alberta destination management organizations and tourism businesses are addressing key areas of need, as identified in a recent Travel Alberta industry COVID-19 impact survey:
"From the Rockies to the Badlands, it's not hard to see why visitors are drawn to Alberta. Yet tourism and those whose livelihoods depend on it have been hit hard by COVID-19, and we're here for them. This investment will help more Albertans discover the wonders of their own backyard, while supporting local jobs in tourism. Our message to Alberta tourism is clear: we've been here for you with immediate measures, we're here for you now as our economy reopens and we'll get through this together. We're working with you to support good jobs and help tourism bounce back stronger than ever."
The Honourable Mélanie Joly, MP for Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada
"Tourism has been hit hard by COVID-19. The tourism industry is the fourth largest employment sector in the province, it's a key contributor to our economy, and it creates jobs and revenue that so many communities across our province depend on. Travel Alberta is taking action to address important needs, support destination management organizations and tourism businesses, and accelerate our tourism industry's recovery."
The Honourable Tanya Fir, MLA for Calgary-Peigan and Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism
"In a recent COVID-19 industry assessment survey conducted by Travel Alberta, tourism partners clearly told us which support systems will have the greatest impact in helping them remain viable and adapt to the changes resulting from COVID-19, including operational funding and marketing support. These programs help address these needs and are critically important to the rebuild of Alberta's tourism industry and visitor economy."
Linda Southern-Heathcott, chair, Travel Alberta Board of Directors
"Tourism will play a vital role in restarting Alberta's economy and we are pleased to see these federal and provincial funding programs tailored to address local industry needs. These investments will go a long way toward helping regional destination organizations and small- and medium-sized businesses in every corner of the province remain viable and support their re-opening and local marketing efforts to drive desperately-needed cash flow and get Albertans back to work."
Alida Visbach, board chair, Tourism Industry Association of Alberta
About Travel Alberta
Travel Alberta is the destination development and promotion organization of the Government of Alberta. We promote Alberta as a desirable place to travel, work, live, play, invest and learn. Working with businesses throughout the province, we capitalize on Alberta'sbreathtaking landscapes and world-class hospitality to develop memorable experiences for visitors to enjoy, in all regions, in all seasons. Our work directly and indirectly benefits our province, driving visitation and revenue, diversifying the economy, providing jobs, encouraging economic investment and enhancing quality of life for Albertans and their communities.
Established as a Crown corporation on April 1, 2009, we operate under the authority of the Travel Alberta Act within the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism.
POINT EDWARD The modern, new Holiday Inn Express Sarnia – Point Edward is excited to welcome guests back to the hotel, effective today, after temporarily closing operations on March 23rd, 2020.
In early March, over the course of a few short weeks, travel throughout the world reduced to a near halt due to the health crisis. As owner of twenty-one hotels across Ontario including three popular hotels in Sarnia – Point Edward (Holiday Inn Express, Hampton Inn by Hilton and Best Western Plus Guildwood Inn), Vrancor Group adjusted operations accordingly, which meant a reduction in hours, temporary leave for some team members or outright temporary closure to some facilities including Holiday Inn Express Sarnia – Point Edward, which first opened it’s doors in September 2019. Hampton Inn and Best Western Plus Guildwood Inn have, and continue to remain, fully operational.
“What’s happening inside our hotels is changing” said Doug Loucks, General Manager. “In addition to physical distancing practices that are carefully laid out in public areas and elevators, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has expanded their long-standing commitment to rigorous cleaning procedures by enhancing IHG Way of Clean with additional COVID-19 protocols and best practices to strengthen the hotels’ commitment to the care of all who visit. Heightened abilities are underpinned by the new IHG® Clean Promise, ensuring that guests enjoy a confident, clean stay.
New science-led protocols and services, partnering with industry-leading experts Cleveland Clinic, Ecolab and Diversey, assures guests that “good isn’t good enough – we’re committed to high levels of cleanliness. That means clean, well maintained, clutter free rooms that meet redefined standards.”
IHG’s Way of Clean program has always included deep cleaning with hospital-grade disinfectants. With guidelines from WHO, CDC, Province of Ontario and local Public Health Agencies, enhanced procedures have been developed to include additional deep-cleaning, physical distancing protocols and changes to how food services are delivered, all with heightened guest-safety in mind. Extra attention is given to high touch areas including light switches, door handles, TV remote controls, elevator buttons, and faucets. Moving forward, guests can expect to see evolved procedures in every area of the hotel including reduced contact at check-in with the use of plexiglass partitions for additional protection, sanitizer stations located throughout the hotel and visible verification of sanitized items in all guestrooms. Complimentary Grab and Go Breakfast is available daily and includes a variety of popular, fresh items.
“The health and wellbeing of guests remains our top priority”, said Loucks. “Holiday Inn Express has a long-standing tradition of setting new benchmarks for excellence in our industry and as more guests prepare to resume travel, we’ll be ready to welcome them with new standards that support this unprecedented moment in our history.” The hotel employs 35 associates including management and hourly team members.
ABOUT HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS®
Holiday Inn Express® hotels are modern hotels for value-oriented travelers. Fresh, clean and uncomplicated, Holiday Inn Express hotels offer competitive rates for both business and leisure travelers. Guests Stay Smart® at Holiday Inn Express hotels where they enjoy a free hot Express Start®Breakfast with new healthier offerings, free high-speed Internet access and free local phone calls (U.S. and Canada only). There are currently almost 2,800 Holiday Inn Express hotel locations around the globe. For more information about Holiday Inn Express hotels or to book reservations, visit www.holidayinnexpress.com.
ABOUT VRANCOR GROUP
Vrancor Group is one of the top hospitality companies in Ontario and an award-winning leader in property management and development. Committed to smart growth, we effectively adapt to changing market demands in order to deliver market leading ROI. Vrancor’s experienced and diverse corporate team offers expertise in multiple disciplines including operations, finance, sales, marketing and human resources. We specialize in building, (re)developing and managing award-winning properties in Ontario. When it comes to hotel, residential or commercial spaces – we know our game, and are one of its leading players. We pride ourselves in creating a sense of uniqueness and individuality for each of our properties, something which has earned us a reputation for innovative leadership, sound judgment and extraordinary guest satisfaction. Visit vrancor.com for more information.
Montreal - Filled with confidence in the future of the event industry, Sénik the Event agency decided to invest by acquiring Champagne Events. With this promising new partnership, Sénik's objective is to produce more international activities, increase and diversify its client portfolio and strengthen its position as a leader in the industry, as well as to take advantage of the 30 years of experience of Lucie Champagne, president and founder of Champagne Events.
Sébastien David, Nicholas-Olivier Caron and Sylvain Grégoire, the owners of Sénik, are excited by this acquisition that was made despite the ravages of the pandemic on their industry. "In events, it’s our job to manage the unexpected, but let's say that COVID-19 is one that we had not seen coming," says Sébastien David. It may seem surprising to be making acquisitions right now, but we believe more than ever in the relevance of our services and our industry. We are excited to work with Lucie on a daily basis. Her dynamism and overflowing creativity are assets that will solidify our positioning, strengthen our offer and solidify our operations."
Lucie Champagne is delighted to integrate a team of event professionals and concentrate her energy and experience towards her passion: her customers and their innovative projects. “This allows me to focus more on developing stronger relationships and creating even bolder events. I wanted to join a team where I could make a difference and a company whose values and professionalism aligned with me. Sénik was the obvious choice."
Since 2011, Champagne Events has staged over 300 events in Canada, the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean and Europe, leaded by Lucie Champagne. She has 30 years of experience in incentive tourism and event management and 2,800 achievements.
The Champagne Events banner will continue to evolve in the Senik family. "Champagne Events customers will receive an even more exclusive service and will benefit from the support of a larger team," explains Sylvain Grégoire.
Sénik also takes the opportunity to redefine its image: "We wanted refresh our image to clearly represent our personality: passionate, authentic, warm and creative event professionals. "Says Nicholas-Olivier Caron.
Since its inception in 2003, SÉNIK has stood out for its audacity, creativity and strategic advice. The Event agency, that has won several industry awards, produces around 100 projects a year. It specializes in corporate, institutional and cultural events. The company has two offices: Montreal and Quebec City. To learn more, visit WWW.SENIK.CA
Hamilton, Bermuda – The Bermuda government has announced the island will resume international commercial air service for visitors starting July 1, as part of its fourth phase of economic reopening after successful management of COVID-19 to date.
“There are many in our community and around the world eagerly awaiting confirmation of when the L.F. Wade International Airport will reopen to regularly scheduled commercial flights. I can now confirm that the decision has been made to resume commercial flights on July 1, 2020,” said Bermuda’s Minister of Tourism & Transport Zane DeSilva at a press conference yesterday, delivering the first details of Bermuda’s plan to safely welcome back international air visitors. “As we work to finalise the protocols and requirements for travel to Bermuda, rest assured, we will always place the safety of our island and its people above all else.”
Bermuda’s reopening plan features five stages of visitors travelling to and from Bermuda including: 1) pre-departure; 2) in-flight; 3) upon arrival; 4) on-island and 5) returning home. In the coming days, Government officials are working to finalise a policy that will enable travellers who test negative 72 hours in advance and who also test negative upon arrival in Bermuda to have freedom of movement to enjoy the island’s experiences, adhering to local health guidelines in place at the time of visit.
“Bermuda looks forward to welcoming visitors back to our island starting July 1. Just 21 square miles with a population of 64,000, Bermuda has always been a precious resource, set apart by its geographic location and vibrant way of life. Now more than ever, we believe travellers will value our genuine hospitality, pristine beaches and open spaces – all accessible by a two-hour, non-stop flight from several East Coast North American gateways,” said Glenn Jones, Interim CEO of the Bermuda Tourism Authority. “The Bermuda government’s plan is rigorous: protecting the health of our community, while allowing visitors to experience our island safely and responsibly when they are ready to travel.”
The re-opening reflects Bermuda’s success in managing the impact of the pandemic, with a high volume of testing and contact tracing following lockdown and shelter-at-home measures. The island has:
These outcomes have given Bermuda the confidence to welcome airlines and visitors back, through developing a robust screening protocol. With reopening, Bermuda offers guests an accessible, safer destination with an emphasis on wellness and responsible precautions, along with the island’s well-known beauty, flavours and natural attractions.
With the resumption of cruise traffic unknown at this time, the Bermuda Tourism Authority encourages visitors yearning for Bermuda to work with their trusted travel professional for hotel and air packages or book direct with island hotels.
More information on Bermuda’s reopening plan and timeline can be found at https://www.gotobermuda.com/bta/press-release/bermuda-tourism-authority-update
About the Bermuda Tourism Authority
The Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA) is an independent, non-government, entity and the official destination marketing organization for the island country. The Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA) promotes Bermuda globally as a world-class destination for leisure and group travel and tourism investment. For more information visit: www.gotobermuda.com/bermudatourism.
NASSAU, Bahamas– The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation has announced the destination will begin Phase 1 of the Tourism Readiness and Recovery Plan on Monday, June 15, which welcomes international boaters, yachters and private aviation back to Bahamian shores, across all The Islands Of The Bahamas.
During Phase 1, hotels will also reopen for staff to return to work and put in place all the measures required to ensure they are ready to welcome guests at the onset of Phase 2. Commercial airlines will also be allowed to bring in Bahamian citizens, legal residents, homeowners qualifying for economic permanent residency, or the immediate family members or significant others of any of these groups. It is anticipated that during this period of time there will be a reduced flight schedule as airlines begin adding The Bahamas to their schedules once again.
This is the first part of the strategic, phased reopening approach for the tourism sector that ensures critical health and safety protocols are being adhered to, and that the Health sector remains well equipped and ready to respond as necessary. The plan was constructed by The Bahamas Tourism Readiness and Recovery Committee, a group comprised of public and private sector partners. Allowing Phase 1 access to these smaller, special interest groups will allow a more controlled segment to test the country’s new measures. The second phase will commence on July 1 with the resumption of international commercial travel.
Guidelines, Policies and Procedures for International boaters, yachters and private aviation visiting The Bahamas between June 15 – June 30 are, as follows:
A COVID-19 RT-PCR Negative (Swab) Test is required and must be presented upon arrival. Results must be no more than ten (10) days old.
All travellers – both domestic and international – are required to complete an Electronic
Health Declaration Form at travel.gov.bs prior to departure and for any inter-island travel within The Bahamas. An automated response will be provided upon completion, and it is essential that travellers present proof of confirmation upon arrival in their destination This is an important step for contact tracing purposes.
No quarantine will be required upon arrival (if all steps are met).
Failure to comply with the test requirements and heath form submission will result in
Boaters must inform marina at least 48 hours prior to vessel’s arrival.
This June 15 tourism re-entry builds on and supports existing government rules and regulations, which already allow for inter-island domestic travel for Bahamian citizens and residents.
Per the direction of the Bahamas Ministry of Health, Bahamian Citizens, Residents and Homeowners Returning from CARICOM countries are not required to present a COVID-19 RT- PCR Negative (Swab) Test upon arrival. However, they remain subject to other public health measures.
Reopening of borders will continue to be monitored and guided by The Bahamas government and health officials. Reopening dates are subject to change based on COVID-19 trends, if there is a deterioration in improvement, or if government and health organizations deem these phases unsafe for residents or visitors.
The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation believes it is an absolute baseline requirement for consumers to have a comfort level that The Bahamas is a safe and healthy destination to visit, and the ultimate goal is for that to remain the case. For more information, or to view the Tourism Readiness and Recovery Plan, please visit: www.bahamas.com/travelupdates.
All COVID-19 inquiries should be directed to the Ministry of Health. For questions or concerns, please call the COVID-19 hotline: 242-376-9350 (8 a.m. – 8 p.m. EDT) / 242-376-9387 (8 p.m. – 8 a.m. EDT).
Transat A.T. Inc. is pleased to announce the resumption of its flights and tour operator activities as of July 23, 2020. It will offer a new flight schedule to 22 destinations in Europe, the South, the United States and Canada until the end of the summer season on October 31, 2020. The company will also offer South and Europe packages during this period and will gradually reopen travel agencies in its network starting June 15, 2020. In addition, Transat unveils its Traveller Care program, rolling out new health measures to ensure the safety of its customers and employees.
MONTREAL, June 11, 2020 "After these long months that put the entire tourism industry to the test, we are very happy to announce today the resumption of our operations," says Annick Guérard, Chief Operating Officer of Transat. "We will gradually operate a flight schedule with 23 international routes to Europe, the South and the United States, in addition to a domestic flight schedule between major Canadian cities.
"To address the concerns caused by COVID-19 and to prioritize the safety of our customers and employees, we will be implementing new health measures as part of our Traveller Care program," adds Guérard. "In compliance with the recommendations and requirements of regulatory authorities, these measures will accompany our travellers throughout their travel experience, from the travel agency to the airport to on board to the destination. We look forward to welcoming travellers again and to share the passion that unites us."
Flights for summer 2020
Transat expects to resume its flights and tour operator activities as of July 23, provided that the travel restrictions applicable on that date allow it.
From Montreal, Air Transat will gradually operate direct flights to Athens (Greece), Bordeaux (France), Lisbon (Portugal), Lyon (France), Nantes (France), Marseille (France), Paris (France) and Toulouse(France). Travellers from Toronto will benefit from direct flights to Athens (Greece), Glasgow (Scotland), London (England), Manchester(England), Porto (Portugal) and Rome (Italy).
For travellers who wish to fly south, Air Transat will offer direct flights to Cayo Coco (Cuba), Cancun (Mexico), Fort Lauderdale (Florida) and Punta Cana (Dominican Republic) from both Montreal and Toronto, in addition to one direct flight a week to Port-au-Prince (Haiti) from Montreal.
To open the door to even more destinations via connecting flights and to allow Canadians to explore more of their country, the airline will also offer domestic flights between Montreal, Toronto, Calgaryand Vancouver.
Depending on demand and the easing of regulatory restrictions, Air Transat may enhance its flight schedule for the months of September and October. Customers are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with the governmental guidelines and entry requirements of their destinations, as they vary from country to country.
Flexibility offered to customers
Fully aware that travel plans can change, Transat is implementing a policy offering more flexibility to travellers whose flights are scheduled to operate this summer. Customers who booked before March 4, 2020, can change their travel dates, destination or package at no charge up to seven days before departure. If they prefer to cancel their trips instead, they will be able to obtain a travel credit valid for 24 months.
Customers who booked on or after March 4—the date Transat launched its "Book with peace of mind" policy—can make the same changes at no charge up to 24 hours before departure. If they prefer to cancel their trips instead, they will be able to obtain a travel credit valid for 12 months.
Passengers whose fare types allow for modification or cancellation will be able to benefit from those conditions if they wish to change or cancel a flight that is scheduled to operate this summer.
Temporary suspension of certain routes
COVID-19 and its impact on the tourism industry are forcing Transat to extend the suspension of some of its flights, significantly reduce its capacity and completely cancel certain routes for the 2020 summer season.
Until the end of the summer season, the airline is suspending its flights to certain destinations in Europe (Amsterdam, Basel-Mulhouse, Barcelona, Brussels, Copenhagen, Dublin, Faro, Lamezia, Madrid, Malaga, Nice, Prague, Venice and Zagreb), the South (Cayo Largo, Holguin, Montego Bay, Puerto Plata, Puerto Vallarta, Roatan, Santa Clara, Samana and Varadero) and the United States (New Orleans, Orlando and San Diego). It is also suspending all its direct flights to Europe and the South from Vancouver and Quebec City. Customers affected by these cancellations will receive a travel credit for the value of the amount received on file, which they can use within 24 months of their original return dates.
New health and safety program: Traveller Care
Transat also unveils today its Traveller Care health and safety program. Based on the recommendations of regulatory authorities, the travel experience has been completely revised: at the travel agency, at the airport, on board and even at destination.
For details on the measures featured in Transat's Traveller Care program, travellers can consult airtransat.com/traveller-care. The flight schedule for the 2020 summer season and other flight details can be found at airtransat.com/resumption-of-our-operations.
Transat A.T. Inc. is a leading integrated international tourism company specializing in holiday travel. It offers vacation packages, hotel stays and air travel under the Transat and Air Transat brands to some 60 destinations in more than 25 countries in the Americas and Europe. Transat is firmly committed to sustainable tourism development, as reflected in its multiple corporate responsibility initiatives over the past 12 years, and was awarded Travelife certification in 2018. Based in Montreal, the company has 5,000 employees (TSX: TRZ). www.transat.com
Quebec - Québec City Business Destination recently held an innovative, first-ever virtual educational tour for event planners from June 8 to 10, 2020. The goal of the tour was to keep Québec City as a top-of-mind host city for future international conventions and conferences.
While major public gatherings are still temporarily prohibited, Québec City Business Destination decided to create a virtual educational tour, along with its partners, that presented the city in all of its colours. Educational, playful and highly enticing, this initiative was a huge hit with virtual attendees. Over 80 event planners from across Canada and the United States registered to participate in the virtual tour—a first for the Canadian event industry.
The tour featured webinars, presentations, virtual tours of the city, hotels and venues, wellness activities, recommendations from DMCs and meeting and incentive companies, live cocktail hours, and so much more. Québec City virtually showcased everything it had to offer for event planners; it was the perfect time to speak with event organizers until they can physically visit the city again.
"Québec City is like no other destination to hold conferences and conventions. I am very proud of the Québec City Business Destination team, which has been working hard over the past few weeks. I am confident that professional event planners, when the opportunity arises, will quite naturally think of Québec City for their upcoming projects," Mr. Pierre-Michel Bouchard, President of Québec City Business Destination, explained enthusiastically.
View the three-day program of the virtual educational tour here.
About Québec City Business Destination
Québec City Business Destination was created in fall 2013 as the official information bureau for meeting and convention planners from outside Québec. A partnership between Québec City Tourism and the Québec City Convention Centre, its mission is to promote Québec City outside the province of Québec as a destination for conventions, meetings, and other events.
Montréal – The Palais des congrès de Montréal, jointly with partners Encore and GES, and together with startups from its CITÉ Events Lab, is preparing to reopen by hosting hybrid events. In response to the safety concerns and social distancing requirements shaking up the convention industry, the Palais is retooling how it holds events by enhancing them with affordable digital components that will help offset the restrictions expected to affect speakers, exhibitors and visitors.
Integrated hybrid solutions
Hybrid events are both live and virtual. They are physical events that also incorporate virtual online components. Everything runs simultaneously in real time. The same content is shared, and interactive elements are included. They give audiences the option of participating live in-person, or online via the internet.
Ideal for events where lower turnouts are expected, these solutions replicate virtual event rooms where presenters and speakers can count on receiving support from crews of technicians and producers providing instant guidance and direction remotely at all times. Hybrid events also make it possible for participants attending in person to interact with their counterparts in remote locations in real time.
In addition, the Palais is set up to operate a studio area if needed, for recording audiovisual content for podcasts, interviews, etc. All told, it is a complete package designed to produce quality content and ensure it is delivered professionally to participants attending remotely.
Solutions for consumer and trade shows
The Palais expects to host physical consumer and trade shows the moment it is authorized to. New options are revamping how exhibitions will be organized, primarily through the integration of a virtual show platform enabling exhibitors to showcase their products and services remotely. Real-time interaction and monetization opportunities will also be possible thanks to Livescale, a CITÉ startup.
Because the Palais is able to tap into the expertise of its partners and a well-established business network, it can play a significant advisory role. It can shepherd clients through a range of event formats, including exclusive, full-service technological solutions developed by its partners Encore (formerly Freeman Audio Visual Canada), and GES. The Palais is also open to working with ideas proposed by event planning firms having developed their own hybrid event solutions, provided these meet new health and social distancing requirements.
Toward a new normal
Clients looking to add virtual components to their events can now choose from an array of affordable packages. Digital trends already gaining traction in recent years have now leaped to the forefront because of the current crisis, to become the new norm for the convention industry. Although initially intended to render events COVID-ready, these hybrid solutions will make it possible moving forward to broaden the reach of events, period. Thanks to its innovative partners, the Palais is in an excellent position to perform well and thus remain on track to build the convention centre of the future.
New health protocols on the horizon
In addition to adapting the offering, the Palais and its teams are working tirelessly on developing the health protocols and standards of tomorrow. Together with other members of the convention and tourism community, both locally and internationally, and in tandem with the government, the Palais is rigorously developing new practices focused on ensuring the health and safety of employees and visitors.
Meeting in person will make a comeback
Although adding these new virtual options might appear to suggest physical meetings will no longer be required, the Palais remains optimistic. In the short term, a drop in attendance is to be expected for some events already scheduled. Nevertheless, history has demonstrated that the need to assemble in person has triumphed over numerous crises. These digital solutions are meant to complement the services the Palais offers. The Palais will continue to host major events, which are sources of economic benefits and intellectual wealth for Montréal and Québec.
“Despite the undeniable impact COVID-19 has had on the Palais’ operations, the current situation is serving as a springboard for going forward with new digital opportunities that will enable us to further make our mark globally. The convention industry is simply evolving, and the Palais and its new hybrid event solutions are at the forefront of this transformation.”
– Robert Mercure, CEO of the Palais des congrès de Montréal
About the Palais des congrès de Montréal
The Palais des congrès de Montréal convention centre stands in the heart of the top host city in the Americas for international events. It is the recipient of the highest quality standards certification in the industry, awarded by the International Association of Convention Centres (AIPC), and also a finalist for the prestigious Apex award honouring the “world’s best customer satisfaction ratings.” In 2018-2019, the Palais generated $215 million in economic benefits along with an invaluable amount of intellectual wealth via the 353 events it hosted. A trailblazer, it operates its own events lab, CITÉ, which houses Montréal startups that are helping redefine how conferences are held. The Palais is a carbon neutral building, and also BOMA BEST certified. Its suite of sustainability initiatives, which it runs under the name Palais Boréal, includes an innovative program that shepherds event organizers and participants through the process of offsetting their GHG emissions locally. Actively immersed in the community, the Palais opens its spaces to visitors and stages art-driven experiences for the public, like the Palais Seasons, showcasing Québec creatives. A leader and visionary, the Palais is at the forefront of the Convention Industry 4.0 transformation. Visit congresmtl.com.
(CALGARY, AB) • The Calgary Stampede and development partner Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) are thrilled to unveil the design for the expansion of the BMO Convention Centre – Calgary’s premier meetings and convention venue since 1982. This visually stunning expansion, valued at $500 million, will significantly grow and modernize the facility and enable Calgary to host major conventions on a global scale.
Last year, the Calgary Stampede and CMLC carried out a rigorous competitive process to select the internationally recognized design team now leading this transformation—Stantec, Populous and S2 Architecture. These firms, valued for their complementary experience and proven collaborative approach on major projects, have spent the past 12 months crafting a world-class design for a revamped BMO Centre that’ll enable Calgary to compete with major convention destinations the world over.
Dana Peers, President & Chairman of the Calgary Stampede Board, shares his excitement about this milestone project. “Calgary’s citizens are world-renowned for their community spirit and their drive to achieve great things,” says Peers. “When complete in 2024, the expanded BMO Centre will provide Calgary and southern Alberta a significant platform for economic diversification through growth in both the convention and tourism industries.”
Calgary Stampede CEO, Warren Connell, adds “This project would not be possible without the support of our three orders of government, and we thank them for the opportunity to undertake this important project to support economic diversification and job creation for our region.” The BMO Centre will be the largest conference facility in western Canada (and the country’s second largest after Toronto’s) and will launch Calgary as a bona fide competitor in the international meetings and conventions industry.
“The Government of Canada is making historic investments in infrastructure projects that create jobs in the short term and support significant growth for the local economy. The BMO Centre’s expansion will help drive tourism activity in Calgary and generate more foot traffic for local businesses in and around Stampede Park,” says the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities. “I am pleased to be a partner in this important project and look forward to continue working together to build a better, more prosperous, and more resilient Alberta and Canada.”
The raw numbers are impressive—over 1 million square feet of total floor space, including 350,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit space, and more than double its current rentable area—but more important, the new facility will espouse, inside and out, today’s best practices in premier conference facility design. The interior spaces will be ample and adaptable; meeting rooms will be wired for instant connectivity; flexible breakout areas will facilitate those all-important human connections; and outdoor spaces will invite attendees to experience the natural surroundings, diverse amenities and western hospitality Calgary is rightfully famous for.
“As we prepare Calgary for the future, solidifying our role as the ultimate host city will be a major driver of jobs and economic activity. The expanded BMO Centre is going to be a major draw for tourism and travel, says Mayor Naheed Nenshi. “From design to function, I’m confident this building will capture the attention of event organizers from around the world, creating opportunities for our local economy for decades to come.”
The BMO Centre expansion is significant also for being a keystone project set to catalyze the transformation of east Victoria Park into Calgary’s Culture & Entertainment District.
“This project defines an incredibly important phase in realizing the Calgary Stampede’s and CMLC’s long-term vision for east Victoria Park and Stampede Park,” says Kate Thompson, CMLC president and CEO. “The mission shared by the whole BMO project team—Together we will design a world-class facility that celebrates Calgary, captures the Stampede Spirit, connects the city with the Rivers District and activates the site all year long—speaks to this commitment.”
“An expanded BMO Centre will bring new energy, talent and revenue into our city while adding another world-class attraction to the area,” says Thompson. “This design reveal is confirmation that our vision for the city’s Culture & Entertainment District is truly coming to fruition—and I couldn’t be prouder of what the team has accomplished so far.”
This announcement comes at a time when, in a typical year, Calgary would be preparing to host the world at the annual 10-day community celebration. Although the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the cancellation of the 2020 edition of the Calgary Stampede, all project partners remain fully committed to the project and enthusiastic about the opportunities it heralds for the city.
“This exciting project will not only enhance the world-class infrastructure in Calgary but will create jobs in this city when they are needed most. Once complete, this upgrade will continue to positively impact the Calgary economy, as conventions and events from around the world take advantage of the BMO Centre, creating jobs and supporting the hospitality sector,” says Jason Kenny, Premier of Alberta.
The expanded BMO Centre will sustain thousands of jobs—both during construction and after it’s complete—attract private investment and development, and significantly boost both business and leisure tourism to Calgary and the province as a whole for years to come.
In 2019, the Calgary Stampede contributed $700M to Canada’s economy with $540M of that staying in Alberta—not including the construction activities associated with the expansion. Post-construction, the BMO Centre will add another $223M to Alberta’s economy and support 1,757 full-year jobs – 90 per cent of which will stay in Calgary.
Dana Peers adds, “The innovative design unveiled today—its inspiring architecture and enticing spaces—will draw community members and visitors alike, day after day, year after year.” This state-of-the-art, tier-one facility is designed to meet the needs of the convention and consumer show industries in 2024 and beyond. As an iconic anchor for the Rivers District, it is a catalyst that, in concert with the new Event Centre, will support commercial and residential development in the district and the surrounding communities.
The project is on schedule to meet the projected June 2024 completion date. The development permit has been submitted and construction of Hall F (100,000 SF of additional space) is on track for completion later this month. Crews will begin demolishing existing structures in the fall and break ground on the new building next year.
Warren Connell says that, “Despite the obvious challenges posed by COVID-19, we’ve continued to receive inquiries from interested conventions eager to book events when the building is complete and the heightened awareness of health and safety protocols has provided an excellent opportunity for the design team and our operations team to ensure the utmost standards in health and safety are in place when the building opens.”
Connell adds that, “Once completed, the BMO Convention Centre, will have the advantage of the many differentiators that the great city of Calgary has to offer to clients from around the world, including the Calgary Stampede, the gateway to the Rockies, and our unique western culture and community spirit.”
To view the video on the BMO Centre design, click HERE
About the Calgary Stampede
The Calgary Stampede celebrates the people, the animals, the land, the traditions and the values that make up the unique spirit of the west. The Calgary Stampede contributes to the quality of life in Calgary and southern Alberta through our world-renowned Stampede, year-round facilities, western events and several youth and agriculture programs. Exemplifying the theme We’re Greatest Together, we are a volunteer-supported, not-for-profit community organization that preserves and celebrates our western heritage, cultures and community spirit. All revenue is reinvested into Calgary Stampede programs and facilities.
It is with great regret and disappointment that today we are announcing that we have made the difficult decision to cancel IMEX America 2020, due to take place at the Sands Expo, Las Vegas from September 15-17.
Our industry has been impacted heavily by the global lockdowns and travel restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and we know how many of you were looking forward to coming together again in Las Vegas this fall. We’re acutely aware that since lockdown began, IMEX America 2020 has come to represent a beacon of hope for the entire business events community. We assure you, no-one is more disappointed than the IMEX team that we can’t fulfil that expectation.
However, we must also be realistic about the current reality. There are three main reasons why we’ve taken the decision to cancel IMEX America 2020.
First and foremost is our responsibility to our exhibitors to deliver a return on the investment they make in the show. We do this through our guarantee of delivering a high quality, large-scale hosted buyer program. With corporate travel bans still in place and uncertainty over continued global travel restrictions, we’re sadly in no position to offer that guarantee.
Second is the issue of timings. As industry professionals you know that a show of the scale of IMEX America doesn’t happen overnight. Our industry supply chain and the investments that our exhibitors make in the show start now. It’s therefore important that we make this decision at a time when we’re still able to reduce the risk and exposure for our exhibitors, partners and suppliers.
Finally, IMEX America is a truly global show, with over a third of the 13,000+ industry professionals attending from outside North America. Global travel restrictions and uncertainties around when they might be lifted make it impossible for a large proportion of our exhibitors, buyers and key industry professionals to commit to attending. And, whilst the global events industry is proudly distinct from the travel and tourism sector, nothing has demonstrated our interlinked fortunes and dependencies more keenly than the current crisis.
It is for these reasons that we’ve taken the difficult decision to cancel IMEX America for 2020. Our team has spent the past few weeks in constant contact with our exhibitors, partners and suppliers and we’ve been overwhelmed by, and so grateful for, the support we’ve received.
Many in the industry took part in our PlanetIMEX activities during May. We’ll continue to work on this virtual platform and the industry can expect to see innovations and plenty of fresh activity online during September and beyond. We know that nothing we do online can make up for the loss of meeting, celebrating and doing business together face to face in Las Vegas at what would have been the 10th anniversary of IMEX America. We’ll miss shaking your hands, giving our industry friends a well-earned hug and looking you in the eye with a warm smile. However, true to the spirit of IMEX and our heartfelt commitment to the industry we love, we’ll do our very best to deliver our customary high-quality content, business connections plus a dash of fun through our online experience until we can all meet again.
The IMEX Team will also be extremely busy planning forward confidently and with passion for IMEX in Frankfurt and IMEX America 2021, when we look forward to welcoming back the global business events community face to face.
We believe strongly in the resilience, flexibility and creativity of our industry. We’re optimistic that meeting face to face will play an important role in helping our economies and all the industries we serve to regenerate and recover. We’re certain that globally there’s a great deal of pent-up demand to come together for both business and for pleasure, once it is safe to do so.
We WILL meet again and, like you, we can’t wait for that moment to come.
With very best wishes,
Carina and Ray
United. Resilient. Proud.
Carina Bauer, CEO, IMEX Group
Ray Bloom, Chairman, IMEX Group
Airline reinforces hygiene measures in place for a safe travel journey
CALGARY, AB, June 9, 2020 /CNW/ - Today, WestJet announced its travel hygiene program under the Safety above all umbrella, detailing what WestJet guests can expect when travelling to ensure their health and safety. The video series and WestJet's fulsome hygiene measures can be found here.
"Safety, including hygiene and health, is above all at WestJet, which is why the already-existing mantra was selected to communicate our hygiene efforts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic," said Billy Nolen, WestJet Vice-President, Safety, Security and Quality. "Safety is at the forefront of every decision and initiative at WestJet and our efforts on health and hygiene are no exception. As the world continues to adapt to this new environment, we will continue to adjust our health measures to ensure the safest travel experience possible as more Canadians begin to fly once again."
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, WestJet has introduced a number of safety and hygiene best-practice initiatives based on information from domestic and global experts such as the Public Health Agency of Canada, the World Health Organization and International Air Transport Association (IATA). These measures include introducing both seat distancing and aircraft fogging, which is a cleaning procedure that provides a complete disinfection of the aircraft interior using a hydrogen peroxide-based solution cleaner. WestJet has also implemented temperature taking before boarding across its 38 Canadian destinations.
It is a misconception that COVID-19 is spread on aircraft. With WestJet's layered approach to health, the aircraft is as safe an environment as possible. In addition to the measures detailed here, all WestJet aircraft (737, 767, 787 and Q400) are equipped with an industry-leading air circulation system containing a HEPA filter, similar to what is used in hospital environments, achieving a viral removal efficiency of greater than 99.99909 per cent. World Health Organization also recently stated the spread of COVID-19 by someone who is not showing symptoms appears to be rare.
Concluded Nolen. "As Canadians continue to flatten the curve, WestJet is committed to doing our part, while helping guests feel safe getting back in the skies."
WestJet and WestJet Encore continue to connect all 38 of the airline's domestic airports, with a reduced frequency, to ensure essential travel, trade and cargo can continue during the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, WestJet has maintained its status as one of the top-10 on-time airlines in North America as named by Cirium.
For more information about everything WestJet, please visit westjet.com.
MONTRÉAL Montréal – host of World Environment Day 2020 – becomes the first Canadian city to join the Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS-Index). The destination now forms part of the global destination sustainability movement, that seeks to engage, inspire and enable urban centers to become more regenerative places to visit, meet and thrive in. The GDS-Index is delighted that Montréal has chosen such a significant day to announce its membership of the global performance improvement program.
Initiated by Tourisme Montréal, a private, non-profit organization that plays a leading role in the management and development of Montréal's tourism offer, the initiative will:
The breaking of the COVID-19 crisis has brought devastating effects on economies worldwide – not least for the tourism sector. However, even in the face of that adversity, Tourisme Montréal had already started to think forward, posing itself questions to reboot the sector, such as "How can we use tourism and events to transform our society?" and "How can tourism be pivotal to the solution?"
Tourisme Montréal's journey towards regeneration and sustainability provides an opportunity for renewed city-wide collaboration behind bold initiatives that promote the greatest assets of Montréal – innovation, creativity, as well as its position as the leading destination for business events in North America.
Guy Bigwood, Managing Director of the GDS-Index, comments: "Montréal is already recognized as a pioneer, with tangible assets in innovation and creativity, great cooperation between Tourisme Montréal and its partners and suppliers. Tourisme Montréal has a great opportunity to create new advantage and push the city forward to become the leading sustainable destination in North America. We are delighted that they have decided to join the GDS-Index and even more that they have chosen such a momentous day to do so."
Yves Lalumière, CEO of Tourisme Montréal, mentions: "Tourisme Montréal has always stood for innovation and forward-thinking. We strongly believe that committing to such strategy, alongside our partners, members and suppliers, will create a positive impact on the local communities, promote the harmonious cohabitation of residents and tourists, encourage responsible tourism and develop sustainable commercial actions that are conducive to growth. Following the impact of the pandemic on the tourist industry, there is no doubt that we must build it back upon the principles of sustainable development."
ABOUT THE GLOBAL DESTINATION SUSTAINABILITY INDEX (GDS-INDEX)
The GDS-Index is a collaborative partnership between ICCA, ICCA's Scandinavian Chapter, IMEX, ECM and MCI Group. It measures, benchmarks and improves the sustainability strategy and performance of meetings, events and business tourism destinations. Founded by pioneering Scandinavian Convention Bureaus through ICCA's Scandinavian Chapter, its purpose is to engage, inspire and enable destinations to become more sustainable places to visit, meet and thrive in.
ABOUT THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS (SDGs)
In 2015, countries adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs are a blueprint and a call for action by all countries – poor, rich and middle-income – to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. They recognize that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth and address a range of social needs including education, health, social protection, and job opportunities, while tackling climate change and environmental protection.
ABOUT TOURISME MONTRÉAL
Tourisme Montréal is a private, non-profit organization that has been positioning Montréal as an international-calibre leisure and business travel destination for the past 100 years. The organization leads innovative tourist welcome strategies with a twofold objective: ensuring that visitors enjoy a quality experience and balancing economic growth with the city's long-term interests. Uniting more than 1,000 tourism professionals, Tourisme Montréal plays a leading role in the management and development of Montréal's tourism business, and makes recommendations on issues surrounding the city's economic, urban and cultural development. For more information, go to
SOURCE Tourisme Montréal
TORONTO – After careful consideration and consultation with the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC), we, Newcom Media, have made the difficult decision to cancel the Canadian Meetings + Events Expo this coming August.
Delivering a safe and successful CMEExpo during this time is our top priority and it has become clear that doing so will not be possible as the fight against COVID-19 continues.
The MTCC will not be ready to hold events the size of CMEExpo come August, nor do we feel a large number of people would be interested in gathering at this time even if we were able to host the event in person.
“Given the impact that COVID-19 has had on our entire industry, we were hoping that the August show would be the first step towards reconnecting the industry in a personal and meaningful way,” Melissa Arnott, director of events, CMEExpo said. “Unfortunately, we will not have that opportunity in 2020. We are eager to start working on CMEExpo 2021 where we will focus on rebuilding and reconnecting the meetings and events industry in Canada.”
We hope to see you next year at CMEExpo on August 17 + 18, 2021.