Current News

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Current News

April 15, 2021
Hybrid Meetings by Four Seasons Whistler

In a world where virtual connections are becoming the new reality, it has never been more important to connect with colleagues, clients or partners in a deeper and more meaningful way.

In the hub of global innovation and technology, Four Seasons Resort and Residences Whistler has re-invented its meetings and events services, with enhanced hybrid meeting solutions and the option to run meetings concurrently at the same venue. The in-person audience can participate with any number of virtual attendees, thanks to state-of-the art technology and health and safety measures.

Attendees can experience the best of alpine living in-person or without ever leaving the comfort of their homes. From culinary experiences featuring British Columbia’s fresh produce and mountainside classics to virtual cocktail classes by the stellar bar team, Four Seasons brings Whistler to wherever one is in the world.

“Our mission is to create a bespoke experience for all participants, whether attending an event physically or virtually, our talented team can craft customised local experiences that will delight in-person attendees and inspire remote guests with the uniqueness of Whistler,” says Ali Mohammed, General Manager.

Innovative Hybrid Solutions

The Resort’s turn-key hybrid event possibilities and curated experiences include flexible, cost-effective solutions for small and intimate groups, enhancing the in-room and remote experience. Audio-visual experts are available every step of the way to facilitate the meetings. Providing multiple HD cameras, screen projectors, conference speaker phones, webcams and innovative sound systems, state-of-the-art technology and broadcast solutions offer the support needed so presenters and hosts can focus on a successful event. Full day packages starting from CAD 1,500.

Lead With Care

The health and safety of guests and employees remains the top priority therefore Four Seasons Resort and Residences Whistler will continue to welcome guests with Lead With Care, the company’s enhanced global health and safety program. Commonplace measures such as screening, increased sanitation, physical distancing and mandatory use of masks are in effect, while the team will continuously follow local health authorities’ guidelines.

Whether as an event requirement, for added safety at in-person gatherings, or simply for peace of mind, the Resort can also facilitate access to COVID-19 testing for guests through a third-party provider.

For more information on the different packages and offers, visit the Resort's website or contact 604-935-3400.

April 15, 2021
Travelport upgrades SalesTrip to Travelport+

ATLANTA: Worldwide leader in travel retail, Travelport, today announced that expense management and travel booking software company, SalesTrip, is among the first group of customers to start using Travelport+. Travelport+ is an extensive, next-generation platform that creates a simplified, capability-rich, marketplace for travel retailing and is the centerpiece of Travelport’s new global strategy, designed to accelerate industry innovation in multi-source content, better travel retailing and delivering the best value.

Travelport upgraded SalesTrip to Travelport+ so that companies across North America and Europe using SalesTrip to manage their corporate travel benefit from an enhanced range of premium air (ATPCO, LCC and NDC), car, hotel, and rail content. Companies partner with SalesTrip to both simplify and calculate the value of corporate travel through automated expense management. Travelport+ is a key component that enables SalesTrip to provide easy access to superior travel content for its thousands of users.

Eoin Landers, Vice President of Product at SalesTrip commented: “Here at SalesTrip, we’re really excited by the vision for Travelport+ and how it’ll help us to deliver even better travel options to our customers. Since inception, we’ve advocated for simpler business travel through providing a single platform that manages end-to-end travel and expense management. Travelport+ removes API complexities and helps us to fulfill this ambition even further with their global platform.”

Jason Toothman, Global Head of Agency Sales at Travelport commented: “We love working with the change makers in travel like SalesTrip and are dedicated to providing our customers with the most compelling range of travel content in the easiest way possible. I look forward to helping SalesTrip and all of our customers in North America gain more value with Travelport+.”

About Travelport

Travelport is a worldwide leader in travel retail. Our next-generation marketplace Travelport+ connects buyers and sellers that share our passion for delivering exceptional travel experiences. Unconflicted and independent, we are reinventing a simpler future for travel’s complex ecosystem. We are a truly global company, operating in over 180 countries. Our headquarters are in London, United Kingdom.

About SalesTrip

SalesTrip is an expense management and travel booking system on Salesforce, making it easier for people to do business from places outside the home and office so their organizations can thrive in return. By managing expenses and booking travel alongside customer and revenue data in Salesforce, employees benefit from a fast and easy way to track and claim travel expenses. Companies benefit from automated reconciliation of spend against business purpose to prove how it aids company growth. The company launched in 2019 with customers located across the UK, Europe and US.

April 13, 2021
WestJet extends sun-flight suspensions until June 4

CALGARY, AB - WestJet today announced it will extend its temporary suspension of international sun flights to destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean until June 4, 2021. 

"We are extending our suspension with the clear expectation that as more Canadians are vaccinated, government policy will transition," said Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO. "We continue to advocate for the replacement of mandatory hotel quarantines with a testing regime that is equitable and consistent with global standards at all points of entry into our country. Alongside an accelerated and successful vaccine rollout, this policy transition will support the safe restart of travel and help stimulate the Canadian economy, where one in ten jobs are tourism related." 

Guests with affected itineraries will be proactively notified of the cancellations. Since November 1, 2020, WestJet has been providing refunds for all travellers, regardless of fare class booked where WestJet initiated the cancellation. 

"We remain focused on a long-term solution that will serve the best interests of Canadians," continued Sims. "A safe travel-restart framework is the most effective way to support those interests and restore jobs."  

About WestJet 
In 25 years of serving Canadians, WestJet has cut airfares in half and increased the flying population in Canada to more than 50 per cent. WestJet launched in 1996 with three aircraft, 250 employees and five destinations, growing over the years to more than 180 aircraft, 14,000 employees and more than 100 destinations in 23 countries, pre-pandemic. 

Since the start of the pandemic the WestJet Group of Companies has built a layered framework of safety measures to ensure Canadians can continue to travel safely and responsibly through the airline's Safety Above All hygiene program. 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.

April 08, 2021
Ottawa Tourism launches Virtually Ottawa
Meeting planners from around the world have access to virtual tools  to aid in the planning of future events in Ottawa   

OTTAWA— Ottawa Tourism launched last week Virtually Ottawa, an interactive experience which aims to inspire conference planners to consider Ottawa, Canada’s capital, for their next meeting. This tool helps bridge the gap while in-person site visits are not a possibility. 
 
Viewers are virtually welcomed to the Shaw Centre, Ottawa’s award-winning convention centre, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2021. They will have the opportunity to explore Ottawa’s landscape through the panoramic city tour from the Trillium Ballroom and tour the centre to discover locally inspired experiences, including: 
  • a mixology demonstration with Greg O’Brien from Bar from Afar demonstrating the art of making craft cocktails at home,  
  • a 15-minute break with Brittany Bryden, a yoga and movement teacher, and
  • a visit to CrEATe Kitchen with the Shaw Centre’s Chef Patrick Turcot as he shares the recipe for a decadent treat for the whole family.  
Upon entering the platform, meeting planners are greeted by a virtual member of the Ottawa Tourism sales team, who provides a virtual site visit of the city and its landmarks, as seen from the ballroom. Venues and attractions are tagged, allowing the viewer to be directed to the appropriate section of Ottawa Tourism’s website for more information. 
 
The virtual space contains billboards with links to destination videos, a Meet the Team piece as well as information on Ottawa Tourism’s Convention Services. 
 
“Ottawa Tourism’s Business Events team is proud to launch this tool, which allows them to show off Ottawa’s assets in a safe and secure, accessible way to meeting planners both near and far,” says Michael Crockatt, President and CEO of Ottawa Tourism. “Given that many meetings are booked years in advance, this allows our staff to continue their work bringing important business to Ottawa and helping to set the scene for a robust recovery of Ottawa’s hard-hit tourism sector.” 
 
About Ottawa Tourism
Ottawa Tourism provides destination development and marketing, strategic direction, and leadership in cooperation with its members and partners, welcoming leisure travellers, business travellers, group tours, and conventions to Ottawa and Canada’s Capital Region. Its goal is to support the local tourism economy, fueled by an estimated 11 million visitors annually in recent years and with $3 billion in typical economic output for Ottawa, generating community wealth through tourism. Ottawa Tourism’s vision is to offer the complete capital experience, tell the story of Canada, and get people talking.
April 01, 2021
Are events trashing the planet? Yep.

We can fix this and make events carbon neutral.

The Sustainable Events Forum hosts the 2nd annual Earth Day for Event People on April 22, 2021. This virtual event celebrates how the event industry is a part of the solution to the climate emergency — and how event attendees can achieve carbon neutrality.

Earth Day for Event People will shine a spotlight on 10 of Canada’s most beautiful AND sustainable event destinations as voted by attendees. Taking inspiration from CBC’s Canada Reads, 10 event professionals who host events in these destinations will make the case for their chosen nominee. Destinations in the running this year are St. John’s, Charlottetown, Halifax, Quebec City, Montreal, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Banff, Vancouver, Victoria, and Whitehorse.

“This year on Earth Day for Event People, we want to celebrate the destinations doing the hard work to protect our natural assets. They operate tourism centres, destination management organizations, oversee water, waste and sewage and operate convention centres, parks and recreational venues. Destinations are crucial to reducing the carbon footprint of any event in their area and as event professionals, we need them as partners to make change in our industry,” said TSEF co-founders Candice Tulsieram and Natalie Lowe.

To attend Earth Day for Event People, register here.

About The Sustainable Events Forum

TSEF started 18 months ago as a gathering for event

professionals to educate, inspire, collaborate, and act on the climate crisis.

There are hundreds of events held live or virtually every day in Canada and while gatherings are important for people and businesses, they have a large carbon footprint. Making the events they host or attend low carbon is an easy way for companies to work toward carbon neutrality.

To learn more about TSEF and Earth Day for Event People, or to register for Earth Day, go to tsef.ca

March 31, 2021
One Young World picks Montréal to host annual summit

2,500 young leaders coming together at the Palais des congrès de Montréal in 2024

Montréal – The Palais des congrès de Montréal and Tourisme Montréal are proud to announce the city will be hosting the One Young World Summit in 2024. The international organization confirmed their decision during a virtual press conference today. This is a major event that will draw some 2,500 inspiring young people from all over the world and generate an estimated $4.4 million in tourism revenues along with 7,000 hotel room nights.
 
This news bodes well for the future of the convention industry, and young leaders converging on Montréal in the month of May will certainly contribute to the city’s trademark effervescence.
 
The global forum for tomorrow’s leaders
The One Young World Summit is an annual three-day event attended by thousands of promising young delegates from 190+ countries and all walks of professional life. It features a rich roster of inspiring conferences given by influential humanitarian, political and business leaders.
 
The purpose is to give delegates the means to maximize the social impact of their professional and personal initiatives, while also mentoring them on best sustainability practices. At the end of the Summit, these delegates become One Young World Ambassadors and access a global network that serves to accelerate and optimize their ventures.
 
A bid supported by Montréal’s youth leadership
Montréal entered the bid to host the One Young World Summit in 2019. At a kickoff meeting, the bid was embraced by a committee of 42 young leaders and youth representatives.
 
Impressed by the level of cooperation between the various entities of the city’s tourism ecosystem, One Young World shortlisted Montréal, along with San José, Belfast, São Paulo, Kigali, Dubai and Monterrey (Mexico). A charm offensive followed when representatives of the London-based organization visited the city.
 
The initial plan was to bid for the 2022 or 2023 Summit, but the pandemic pushed everything back one year. Ultimately, Montréal won the bid to host the 2024 One Young World Summit. The reasons for the choice included the standing and opportunities enjoyed by the city’s youth, the city’s reputation for diversity and inclusion, and its sustainability commitments. Belfast won the bid to host the 2023 edition.
 
 
“The One Young World Summit coming to the Palais is evidence that despite the impacts of the pandemic, Montréal remains a highly attractive host city for major events. The cooperation shown by the various stakeholders, the creativity of our offering, and the Montréal brand confirm we are primed for getting business back on track.”
 
– Luc Charbonneau, Director of Business Development and Strategic Alliances of the Palais des congrès de Montréal
 
“The outstanding cooperation between the city’s business community and Tourisme Montréal and the Palais des congrès was rewarded today with our winning the bid to host the 2024 One Young World Summit. Not only will the event generate major tourism benefits for the city, but it will also have a huge social impact for young Montréalers and the businesses that support our youth.”
 
– Yves Lalumière, CEO of Tourisme Montréal
 
“Belfast and Montréal are vibrant, youthful cities, and we’re really looking forward to hosting our next Summits in these important cultural hubs. The world has faced more than a year of incredible disruption, yet we have also seen inspirational moments of activism, strength and commitment. The young leaders of the world are well-placed to help lead us out of the crisis and into a brighter future.
 
Similarly, our next host cities Belfast and Montréal share a passion for attracting global talent and being committed to the acceleration of the kind of ambitious, innovative ideas that we will need.
As we look to the future of One Young World, we are thrilled to announce that Belfast and Montréal will be our next host cities"
 
– David Jones, Co-Founder of One Young World
 
 
About Tourisme Montréal
Tourisme Montréal is a 100-year-old private, non-profit organization that works to position Montréal as an international-calibre leisure and business travel destination. Uniting nearly 1,000 businesses and organizations working directly or indirectly in tourism, 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 www.mtl.org.
 
 
About the Palais des congrès de Montréal
The Palais des congrès de Montréal convention centre continues to respond proactively to the event hosting requirements prompted by COVID-19. A new leader in hybrid events, it houses various state-of-the-art studios as part of its Palais Média Propulsion service. 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, at no additional cost to its customers.
 
The Palais 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. Visit congresmtl.com.
March 25, 2021
Production Canada expands into the US market with The Production Agency

The Production Agency blends set construction and full-service event production

Seattle, WA: Today, Production Canada, an award-winning production company that helps clients manifest their event vision into experiences with impact, expanded into the US market with the launch of The Production Agency. The Production Agency blends set construction, full- service event production, and a celebrated approach to client service, and are expertly positioned to build strong, lasting relationships with its customers.

As COVID restrictions begin to loosen and the events industry begins its journey to recovery, The Production Agency truly believes that live events are going to become more important than ever before. The Production Agency is excited to join their clients around the table to begin a renaissance in live event experiences, embracing a second roaring twenties.

Todd Skinner, Owner of The Production Agency, explains “We’re extremely excited to be expanding into the US to service our American based clients and look for new avenues for growth and to continue our mission to produce the best and most respected events in North America.”

The Production Agency offers design/build and strategize/execute services. Their construction workshop is renowned for turning ideas into compelling visual realities. Additionally, The Production Agency’s event management team will overcome your biggest event challenges. Be they logistical, technical, creative, or financial. The Production Agency genuinely believes that they can make a difference to the world of events and activations.

About The Production AgencyThe Production Agency is an award-winning company that helps clients manifest their event vision into experiences with impact. Blending scenic construction, full- service event production, and a celebrated approach to client service, The Production Agency is expertly positioned to build strong, lasting relationships with its customers.

March 25, 2021
60% of Canada's Hardest Hit Businesses Will Not Survive to the End of the Year
OTTAWA – A March 2021 survey released today on Parliament Hill reveals that 60% of Canada’s hardest hit businesses will not survive if the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) as well as the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) are not extended beyond the June 5th deadline to the end of the year. The survey with over 1,700 respondents from across Canada was conducted by the Coalition of Hardest Hit Businesses.
 
Based on the survey results, the Coalition is formally appealing to the Federal Government to provide certainty and announce an extension of the CEWS and CERS supports to the end of the year for the hardest hit sectors in the April budget.

“Our businesses were the first hit by the pandemic, the hardest hit by closures, and will be the last to recover. With extended support, we can thrive and survive. Without it, Canada’s tourism, culture and hospitality industries will be devastated for a generation,” announced Beth Potter, President and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, hard hit businesses that make up the coalition employed more than 2 million Canadians - about 1 in every 10 jobs. The membership is primarily Canadian-owned small or medium-sized businesses providing significant employment while living in the local community. Our employees are predominantly women, young people, Indigenous and new Canadians - populations whose employment has been particularly impacted by the pandemic.

“For businesses that find their recovery impaired by the lingering effects of mass gathering bans and other public health policies, the CEWS and CERS programs will be a lifeline. Their continuation would make the difference between a vibrant tourism and cultural industry in Canada, and a breakdown of the critical infrastructure that supports the travel and tourism sector,” said Susie Grynol, President and CEO of the Hotel Association of Canada.

“In the absence of any certainty, many festival and event organizers are nearing the point where they must decide whether to cancel their planned activities for this year or to go ahead with a smaller scale edition. Chances are, they are going to once again miss out on the opportunity to generate their revenues for the year. Other sectors of the economy may begin to recover as restrictions ease, but the events sector will not be in a position to do so and will require continued government support until a return to normal occurs,” added Martin Roy, Executive Director of Festivals and Major Events.

“We hope that by the summer we will continue to see an easing of restrictions and a modest return of leisure travel. However, the decisions to cancel conventions for this fall have already been made and business travel will not recover in the short term. Where the recovery is quick these businesses will not qualify for government support. But if there are protracted restrictions from COVID, we will need to know this support is there,” concluded Potter.

The Coalition also stressed that efforts to safely stimulate domestic tourism, lower interprovincial travel barriers and reopen international borders are critically important. But such measures must be accompanied by critical support programs to ensure that highly affected sectors can bridge to the other side.

The Coalition of Hardest Hit Businesses is an industry-driven group of over 100 stakeholders representing a variety of sectors including tourism, travel, arts and culture, events and festivals, accommodation and hospitality.

To learn more about the Coalition of Hardest Hit Businesses, visit www.HardestHit.ca.
March 25, 2021
Qaumajuq Inuit art centre in Winnipeg, Canada opens March 25 & 26 with virtual celebration

Come on in to the new Inuit art centre at the Winnipeg Art Gallery

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Treaty 1 Territory: The Winnipeg Art Gallery invites everyone to be part of the once-in-a-lifetime opening of Qaumajuq, an innovative new museum dedicated to Inuit art and culture, led by Inuit voices. A two-part virtual celebration on March 25 and 26, 2021 will welcome the world to the light-filled spaces of Qaumajuq, connected to the WAG on all levels. Artwork, performances, voices, and ceremonies bridging North and South will mark the unveiling of this new 185,000 square-foot cultural campus, now one of the largest art museums in Canada.
Presented by BMO Financial Group, Qaumajuq’s documentary-style virtual opening is produced by award-winning, Winnipeg-based Eagle Vision and hosted by the WAG’s Dr. Stephen Borys, Director & CEO, and Julia Lafreniere, Head of Indigenous Initiatives, with Nunavut’s Madeleine Allakariallak, former host of CBC North’s Igalaaq. Qaumajuq’s doors open to the public on Saturday, March 27, 2021.
 
Virtual Opening
PART I: March 25, 6:30pm CT - WELCOME: Takes you on a journey through the new 40,000-square-foot building by Michael Maltzan Architecture; the world-renowned collection of Inuit art it holds; the education, outreach and meeting place it will provide; and the inspiration for its design and function. Performers from Inuit Nunangat, the homeland of Inuit in Canada –including Inuit performance collective ArtCirq and hoop dancer Marika Sila – will come together with Manitoba artists like viral TikTok jiggers and hip-hop dancers the Ivan Flett Memorial Dancers Mikey, Jacob and Cieana Harris, singer-songwriter Don Amero, and throat-singers Nikki Komaksiutiksak and Chasity Swan, and more.

PART II - March 26, 6:30pm CT - CEREMONY & CELEBRATE: Tells the story of the spirits that exist within the art, the blessing of Qaumajuq in ceremony by the Seven Nations of Manitoba, and a mix of celebratory messages from across the country and beyond.

HOW TO WATCH: The virtual opening is free and accessible to all, streamed on the WAG website, social media, and available through broadcasting partners. Both segments are approximately 60 minutes and start at 6:30pm CT. RSVP at wag.ca/opening. The event is part of a year of celebrations called Qaumajuq365, offering many ways to get involved with the inaugural year, virtually and in-person at a safe distance. ⁠

March 27, 11am-10pm, March 28-April 2, 11am-9pm, Canada Life Qaumajuq Free Days@WAG: Everyone is invited to come check out the new building for free with special interactive programming for families. Canada Life Free Sundays@WAG start up again on March 14, 2021 (WAG only) and continue on the second Sunday of every month, including Qaumajuq as of April 11, 2021. The WAG is closed to the public March 21-26, 2021.

Free Days
All are invited to sign-up for free timed-tickets to explore the new building (limited quantity available). Advanced registration is required.

March 22, 1-9pm: Inuit, Metis & First Nations Welcome Day: It is important that the Indigenous community is welcomed into the building first as they are the original keepers and protectors of the territory on which WAG-Qaumajuq stands. The Winnipeg Foundation is helping make free admission possible that day and supporting free admission to Qaumajuq-WAG for all Indigenous peoples beginning when the new building opens to the public on March 27, 2021. This policy advances the WAG’s ongoing work to respond to the TRC Calls to Action and the UNDRIP.  If you are Inuit, Metis or First Nations, sign up for a timed-ticket at wag.ca.

March 23-24, 1-9pm: WAG Supporter Preview: WAG supporters are invited for a sneak peek. Not a WAG member? Sign-up for a free Friend membership if you’re 25 or under or Indigenous, or for $35 if you’re over 25. This pilot for Qaumajuq’s inaugural year gives you 12 months of admission. Youth under 18 receive free admission without a membership for the inaugural year thanks in part to The Winnipeg Foundation. Learn more about WAG membership at wag.ca.
 

“I have witnessed first-hand leadership from every corner of this country that made this multi-decade dream a reality. Our mission was illuminated by visionaries and sustained by selfless volunteers. Together they forged a path that was bright and lit—the essence of Qaumajuq. On behalf of the Board of Governors, we extend our sincere heartfelt thanks and gratitude to all the stakeholders that contributed to the founding of Qaumajuq. It is bright, it is lit. Indeed this new art museum is more than a building, it is a beacon where Inuit voices are front and centre in sharing their creativity. Artists, Inuit, various partners and community leaders have collaborated to envision and create a vibrant gathering place where all are welcome and where everyone’s stories are told and heard in a true spirit of reconciliation.”

—Dr. Ernest Cholakis, Chair, Board of Governors, Winnipeg Art Gallery

“Qaumajuq is a new museum, a transcendent place where Inuit vision and voices illuminate and inspire. We would not be here without the dedication and support of many individuals, families, organizations, governments, staff, and volunteers. We thank BMO Financial Group for investing in Qaumajuq, Eagle Vision for guiding our celebrations, and all our opening supporters for ensuring everyone can be part of this historic moment for Canada and Inuit everywhere, no matter where you are in the world. Above all, we are profoundly grateful to the Inuit artists, living and now passed, who inspire us, and have given us a reason to build Qaumajuq. This new centre is their stories told, their voices heard.” 
—Dr. Stephen Borys, Director & CEO, Winnipeg Art Gallery
                
“I am very excited to share Qaumajuq with the world. A lot of Ceremony went into preparing the artworks and building for opening, and I'm very grateful to the Indigenous Ceremonial Leaders who brought their prayers to Qaumajuq and the Spirit of the artworks that live here. Miigwech to Dakota Grandfather Wanbdi Wakita, Grandmother Pahan Pte San Win, Byron Beardy, Elder Dr. Mary Courchene, Chief Dennis Meeches, Elder Marcella Vezina, Victor Tssessaze, Elder Martha Peet, Joachim Ayark and Jolene Mercer for helping to prepare Qaumajuq for opening in the right way.”
—Julia Lafreniere, Head of Indigenous initiatives, Winnipeg Art Gallery    
“We are excited to collaborate with the Winnipeg Art Gallery on the opening of Qaumajuq, a pre-eminent gathering space dedicated to one-of-a-kind collection of Inuit art. For over a century, we’ve proudly supported the WAG and are honoured to be a part of bringing this unique collection which celebrates diversity and culture to our community and the world.”
— John MacAulay, Regional President, Prairies Central Region, BMO Bank of Montreal
 
Supporters: The WAG thanks the following partners: Qaumjuaq Virtual Opening presenting sponsor BMO Financial Group; supporting sponsor Destination Nunavut; as well as Travel Manitoba, Eagle Vision, Downtown Winnipeg BIZ, Johnston Group, Government of Manitoba, Manitoba Arts Council, Cushman & Wakefield; City of Winnipeg, Mayor Brian Bowman, Winnipeg City Councillors Brian Mayes (St. Vital), Markus Chambers (St. Norbert – Seine River), Ross Eadie (Mynarski), Kevin Klein (Charleswood – Tuxedo), Shawn Nason (Transcona), Devi Sharma (Old Kildonan), Scott Gillingham (St. James), Vivian Santos (Point Douglas), John Orlikow (River Heights – Fort Garry), Jason Schreyer (Elmwood – East Kildonan), Cindy Gilroy (Daniel McIntyre), Sherri Rollins (Fort Rouge – East Fort Garry), Janice Lukes (Waverley West); Panasonic; Mondetta Clothing Company. Media sponsors Winnipeg Free Press, Outfront Media, Tourism Winnipeg, CTV Winnipeg, print sponsor Esdale Printing Company. Free Days@WAG Title Sponsor Canada Life, and access supporter The Winnipeg Foundation. 
 
Associated Links

Stay Connected
Follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram #Qaumajuq365 #atwag
March 25, 2021
Raise Your Voice: the Coalition of Hardest Hit Businesses

The federal government will table its budget on April 19. The industry is now in a critical period to apply pressure as final budget deliberations are currently underway.

On behalf of the industry, the Coalition of Hardest Hit Businesses is specifically asking Ottawa for:
    •    An extension and enhancement of CEWS at 75% targeting hard hit industries until the end of 2021
    •    An extension and enhancement of the CERS program for hard hit businesses, including deeper support for medium-sized businesses

HERE'S HOW YOU CAN HELP:
    •    Call (or email) your Champion MPs and tell them the wage subsidy and fixed costs support is critical and must continue until the end of 2021. Share these Key Recommendations for Budget 2021.
    •     Send a letter to your local Member of Parliament. It will take less than 1 minute and you can send via this microsite.
    •     Spread the word on social media. Pre-written social media content can be found here.

March 24, 2021
GMID 2021: Help Spread the News

Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID) is our industry's most important annual event!
On April 8, Meetings Mean Business Canada is hosting a free, 90-minute virtual event that will emphasize our industry's readiness to reopen the travel and business events economy as soon as restrictions are lifted.
 
Program Highlights
How provincial industry groups will reopen in their respective regions
The status of domestic business travel
The eventual return of international events
Industry state-of-the-art readiness plans and safety protocols
How the business events industry can help rebuild Canada’s economy
 
Who's Participating?
More than two dozen DMOs & industry associations plus:
Destination Canada Business Events
Tourism Industry Association of Canada | Hotel Association of Canada
Global Business Travel Association | Convention Centres Canada
Canadian Association of Exposition Management | Canadian Chamber of Commerce

Register today!

Light Up Blue on April 8
We're asking DMOs and their partners to recognize GMID 2021 by lighting in blue their local convention centres, off-site venues, attractions, monuments
and any other key meeting places.
For more information, contact  Christina Northcott

Advocating for Canadian Meetings & Business Events

Meetings Mean Business Canada works in collaboration with the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) and Destination Canada Business Events to communicate the social and economic impact of the sector to all levels of government and to all Canadians.



March 24, 2021
Hybrid City Alliance adds 8 new members

Worldwide coalition of destinations working to organize safe in-person and virtual meetings  

OTTAWA—Eight cities—Antwerp, Cannes, Durban, Edmonton, Lausanne-Montreux, Seoul, Sydney, and Zurich—have joined Ottawa, The Hague, Geneva, and Prague in the Hybrid City Alliance. Launched in December 2020, the Hybrid City Alliance brings together like-minded destinations to offer international meeting planners a simple, streamlined, and transparent approach to engaging with multiple locations for hybrid and multi-city events.

“Ottawa Tourism is proud to be a founding member of the Hybrid City Alliance and to contribute to the safe resumption of in-person meetings around the world,” says Michael Crockatt, President and CEO of Ottawa Tourism. “The Alliance is founded on the principles of inclusiveness, collaboration and competence as the member cities encourage, promote, and facilitate the delivery of hybrid and multi-city events. With a dozen cities participating from across the globe, we can offer seamless options for meeting planners.”

Ottawa Tourism has gathered info for meeting planners looking to organize hybrid events (a mix of in-person and virtual content).

Over the past few months, the Alliance has conducted a series of focus groups and discussions with a range of industry stakeholders (including event platforms and AV suppliers) to ensure it offers maximum value to buyers from around the world. Output from these discussions will include a white paper due for release in the coming weeks. 

Above all else, the combined knowledge and experience of the member cities removes barriers, offers solutions and inspires the creation of unparalleled delegate experiences. This leaves a lasting legacy in each city, while simplifying the role of the meeting planner, who is able to benefit from the shared knowledge of the members as well as their willingness to work together on a huge range of events. 

The Hybrid City Alliance has partnered with the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) and will support ICCA’s North American Summit on March 30, 2021. This partnership will see the Alliance share case studies of recent hybrid events, assist in facilitating workshops, and demonstrate the Alliance members’ position as thought leaders and experts on the subject of hybrid events.

About Ottawa Tourism

Ottawa Tourism provides destination development and marketing, strategic direction, and leadership in cooperation with its members and partners, welcoming leisure travellers, business travellers, group tours, and conventions to Ottawa and Canada’s Capital Region. Its goal is to support the local tourism economy, fueled by an estimated 11 million visitors annually in recent years and with $3 billion in typical economic output for Ottawa, generating community wealth through tourism. Ottawa Tourism’s vision is to offer the complete capital experience, tell the story of Canada, and get people talking.

For more information, please contact:

Jantine Van Kregten

Director of Communications, Ottawa Tourism

613-866-4955 | press@ottawatourism.ca

March 15, 2021
Hosts Global Unveils a New Global Alliance

Hosts Global (Hosts), the preeminent provider of destination management services worldwide, debuted a new (and growing) collection of global destination management companies (DMCs). The announcement adds 70 new destinations to the company’s portfolio with Hosts Global's Alliance of DMCs in addition to their current portfolio of Hosts Global Destinations.  

With the increase in vaccines and travel destinations continuing to reopen, meeting and event planners are confidently penciling in group events again. From the start of the pandemic, Hosts worked on reconfiguring their global event solutions to meet clients’ ever-changing needs. This announcement marks the first of Hosts’ new developments to meet this resurgence.  

“Groups are excited to gather again and we’re ready with new places, new members, and new possibilities, said Marty MacKay, Hosts Global’s president, alliance events and operations. “The DMCs in our Hosts Global Alliance are not just destination experts, they all deliver fresh perspectives and the ferocious creativity Hosts Global has become known for.” 

Since transforming from USA Hosts to Hosts Global in 2011, the company has experienced extraordinary growth and continues to innovate through industry-leading initiatives.   

“Though travel was on pause, Hosts was not,” said Jennifer Patino, Hosts Global CEO. “The meetings and events industry is starting to see a significant rebound in group business requests. This is just the beginning—not just for the industry, but for us. We’re setting the stage for more big news to come.”

  
Contact Hosts Global for more information.


About Hosts Global: Hosts Global is a strategic partner for meeting and event planners worldwide. We help visionary planners deliver meaningful, memorable and motivating group experiences in destinations around the globe. Across our destinations, Hosts Global Destinations and Hosts Global Members are known as the local experts, weaving ferocious creativity and intention into every moment, from event design and production to team building programs and everything in-between. For more information about Hosts Global solutions visit www.hosts-global.com.
Global Reach. Local Experts.
 

March 05, 2021
MPI Toronto has recognized Meetings Mean Business Canada chair Clark Grue with its 2021 President’s Award.

Clark’s efforts on behalf of Canada’s business events industry take the form of media interviews, industry webinars and meetings with elected officials. Government decision makers have gained an appreciation for the shutdown’s devastating toll on the industry, as well as a better understanding of how business events can help drive Canada’s economic recovery.

“Over the past year, Clark has captured not only my attention, but my deep respect,” said Margaret Binns, president, MPI Toronto. “In his role as chair of MMBC, he works tirelessly to advocate to elected officials and to industry stakeholders about the critical social and economic impact that our industry has on the financial health of this nation. He was the obvious choice for this award.”

In accepting the award, Clark recognized how the industry has worked hard to raise its voice at a critical time: “Advocacy is definitely a team sport.. it takes an army of voices and continual persistence to have success. So many of you have done so much for this industry over the past year. I want to thank each one of you for your efforts and your commitment.”

“I’m proud to say that the meetings industry has come a long way this past year in advocating to government for the support that is so desperately needed,” added Clark, who is also president and CEO of Calgary-based Rainmaker Global Business Development. “A special thanks goes to the volunteer board and the executive of Meetings Mean Business Canada. And a huge thank you to MPI for your support and commitment to MMBC’s work.”

MMBC works with industry partners such as the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, to advocate for immediate and appropriate relief for the visitor economy. These advocacy efforts have contributed to the introduction of new programs, for example the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP Canada).

Learn more about Meetings Mean Business Canada at meetingsmeanbusiness.ca

March 04, 2021
Edmonton tourism and hospitality industries announce a collaborative commitment to pursuing city-wide GBAC STAR™ accreditation.

Edmonton to become first Canadian destination with health & safety designation.

Edmonton, AB – Explore Edmonton has announced a collaborative initiative with the Edmonton International Airport, Edmonton Destination Marketing Hotels (EDMH), the Oilers Entertainment Group and the already accredited Edmonton Convention Centre and Edmonton EXPO Centre to pursue a city- wide Global Biorisk Advisory Council® (GBAC) STARTM Accreditation for Edmonton, positioning Edmonton among the healthiest and safest destinations for business and leisure travel in North America. Once complete, Edmonton will be the first and only Canadian destination, and one of only two destinations throughout North America, to obtain the GBAC STARTM Accreditation.

The GBAC STARTM Accreditation program is the cleaning industry’s only outbreak prevention, response and recovery accreditation for facilities and destinations. This means the cleaning and sanitization programs of participating Edmonton hotels, venues and transportation agencies will be accredited and validated by the gold standard program that prepares them with the right systems to protect against biorisk situations, including COVID-19.

“Edmonton’s tourism, hospitality and events industries will play an important role in our region’s post-COVID recovery, getting people back to work, welcoming travelers back to the city and delivering important economic and social benefits to our region,” said Maggie Davison, Acting CEO, Explore Edmonton. “Edmonton’s GBAC STARTM Accreditation will ensure our international airport, major venues and hotels are all working towards the same standards for cleanliness and outbreak prevention. By working in partnership, Edmonton can safely reopen for business and provide one of the safest travel experiences in North America, from arrival to departure.”

To obtain GBAC STARTM Accreditation, facilities must demonstrate compliance with 20 specific elements including maintaining strict cleaning protocols, disinfection techniques, infectious disease prevention planning, staff training and more.

“Health and safety are always our top priorities and we know how important it is for visitors to feel both welcomed and safe. Edmonton's designation as a city that in today’s challenging world puts outbreak and virus safety top of mind will make a positive difference in attracting tourism, conventions and other events back to our region,” said Tom Ruth, President & CEO, EIA. “Explore Edmonton is working to make sure visitors know this is a great and safe destination and as the gateway to our region, we're on-board to support this.”

“We recognize that we live in unparalleled times. Hotels have always had strong cleanliness standards, but operating through a pandemic has amplified those requirements, ensuring the safety of our guests and staff,” said Barnie Yerxa, Board Chair of the Edmonton Destination Marketing Hotels. “Our organization has always been one to collaborate with key partners within the City of Edmonton and that is why our organization jumped at the opportunity when Explore Edmonton brought the idea of bringing multiple organizations together to showcase our city as a safe destination to travel to when the time is right. As we’ve advanced over the years with state-of-the-art online bookings systems, increased in-room amenities and gourmet-level food & beverage offerings, the newest standard that participating hotels will incorporate is a sanitized level of safety, thanks to the GBAC STARTM.”

“As a leader in Edmonton’s Sports and Entertainment industry, Rogers Place and the Oilers Entertainment Group are proud to support the collaborative effort being undertaken in conjunction with our partners at Explore Edmonton, the Edmonton International Airport and Edmonton Destination Marketing Hotels to achieve a city-wide GBAC STARTM Accreditation,” said Jay MacDonald, Assistant General Manager, Rogers Place. “The safety of our fans, staff and partners is of paramount importance, this accreditation provides third-party validation of the rigorous protocols we have undertaken to ensure a clean, safe and healthy environment.”

Edmonton’s accreditation process is anticipated to be finalized by Spring, 2021. Participating hotels, venues and transportation partners include:

“The pursuit of GBAC STARTM Facility Accreditation by various venues in Edmonton is a testament to the city’s commitment to making cleaning, disinfection and infection prevention an ongoing priority for its citizens and visitors,” said GBAC Executive Director Patricia Olinger. “Through the GBAC STAR accreditation, they show their commitment to their communities by implementing a higher level of cleaning.”

ABOUT EXPLORE EDMONTON

We are the visitor economy and venue management organization for Edmonton. Together, we tell our city’s story, elevate the Edmonton experience and generate inbound visitation. We want visitors to have more than enough reasons to visit, explore and stay longer in Edmonton. In working closely with our partners & stakeholders, our efforts positively impact the economic diversity and quality of life for Edmonton residents, while remaining competitive in a global marketplace. In collaboration with our hotels, attractions and businesses, we strive to make Edmonton a four-season destination of choice, delivering year-round transformational visitor and guest experiences. For more information, visit exploreedmonton.com.

March 04, 2021
Marriott International to Provide Associates Financial Award for COVID-19 Vaccination

Vaccination Care Program to provide financial award, schedule flexibility and education

Marriott International, Inc. today announced it has created the Vaccination Care Program, which will provide a financial award to U.S. and Canadian associates at its managed properties who get vaccinated for COVID-19. Employees will receive the equivalent of four hours of pay upon completion of the vaccination.

Marriott International supports global vaccination efforts to help bring the devastating COVID-19 pandemic under control. To encourage our associates to get vaccinated, we are also providing education on the benefits of vaccination and directing leaders to allow for schedule flexibility for vaccination appointments. Although the company is strongly encouraging associates get vaccinated, vaccination is not mandated.

“The health and safety of our people is our top priority. Our goal for the Vaccination Care Program is to remove potential obstacles to getting vaccinated so our associates can put their health first and have peace of mind,” said David Rodriguez, Global Chief Human Resources Officer, Marriott International. “Marriott International is confident that vaccination is a key measure, along with mask wearing, social distancing and stepped-up cleanliness protocols and hygiene practices in minimizing the spread of COVID-19. As vaccines become more widely available, this will create a safer environment for all associates, and we believe that consumer confidence to travel again will increase significantly and help the rebound of the travel and tourism sector. We appreciate the support from our managed hotel owners, and encourage the industry and our franchisees to offer flexibility and incentives to their associates as a vital step in our industry’s recovery.”

In April 2020, to elevate its cleanliness standards and hospitality norms and behaviors to meet the new health and safety challenges presented by the current pandemic environment, Marriott International created the Marriott Global Cleanliness Council to tackle the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic at the hotel level and further advance the company’s efforts in this area. The Marriott Global Cleanliness Council is focused on developing the next level of global hospitality cleanliness standards, norms and behaviors that are designed to minimize risk and enhance safety for consumers and Marriott associates alike.

Marriott International sees the broad distribution and adoption of vaccines—for travelers and industry employees—as key drivers of economic recovery. Recent research indicates that half of consumers in the U.S. see vaccine distribution as key to travel. For many consumers, vaccination is a gating factor to their ability to confidently get back on the road for leisure or business travel.*

Marriott has consistently been recognized for its outstanding workplace programs. For a comprehensive list, please visit Awards and Recognition.

*Destination Analysts Coronavirus Travel Sentiment Index Report, January 18, 2021

About Marriott International
Marriott International, Inc. is based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, and encompasses a portfolio of more than 7,600 properties under 30 leading brands spanning 133 countries and territories. Marriott operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts all around the world. The company offers Marriott Bonvoy™, its highly-awarded travel program. For more information, please visit our website at www.marriott.com, and for the latest company news, visit www.marriottnewscenter.com. In addition, connect with us on Facebook and @MarriottIntl on Twitter and Instagram.

February 24, 2021
An Intimate and Restorative Escape Awaits at Echo Valley Ranch & Spa

The award-winning eco-luxury oasis in BC’s Cariboo Region offers a travel experience tailor-made for 2021

Clinton, BC - For 25 years, Echo Valley Ranch & Spa has offered visitors from around the world the opportunity to experience adventure, revitalize their spirit, and connect with nature. Set amidst the pristine wilderness of British Columbia’s Cariboo Region, this family-owned eco-luxury retreat isn’t merely a vacation destination. Hundreds of guests have described their stay at Echo Valley as transformative – a once-in-a-lifetime awakening of their spirit and a rediscovery of their childlike sense of wonder.

Why do they say this? The 160-acre Echo Valley property sits majestically at the convergence of four distinct geographic regions: the Marble Mountains, the Mighty Fraser River and Canyon Desert, Cariboo Plateau Boreal Forest, and the Cariboo Grasslands. Here in this pristine, sustainably maintained* sanctuary, guests are able to achieve a peace of mind and state of relaxation that is all too rare amidst the chaos of modern life. “Soft adventures” such as hiking, cycling and fishing, and activities including morning yoga and forest bathing, stimulate body and soul, while magnificently appointed rooms and cabins, five-star cuisine (much of it made from ingredients grown and raised onsite), and European- and Thai-inspired spa services rival the amenities found at resorts anywhere in the world.

In order to ensure the well-being of its guests during these exceptional times, Echo Valley Ranch will be limiting its capacity to a maximum of 10 guests, and, where necessary, has redesigned its activities to maintain proper distancing. 

For May and October, the Elopement Experience offers the perfect alternative to a big wedding, with every detail anticipated for the happy couple and up to eight guests.
From June 1 to September 30, Echo Valley’s bespoke Signature Experience is available as an individual experience and a property-wide buyout: guests select every detail of their stay, from meals and wine pairings to outdoor adventures and spa treatments.

“The global events of the past year have reminded us of the importance of respecting and honouring nature. At the same time, the stresses of modern life emphasize how much we need nature, to spend time in it and allow it to restore us,” says Echo Valley cofounder Norm Dove. “My wife, Nan, and I founded Echo Valley with the intention that guests could come here to reconnect with nature and let it rejuvenate their spirit. I’m confident that in 2021 and beyond, visitors will leave here with a much-needed sense of calm, as well as memories to last a lifetime.”

*Echo Valley Ranch & Spa has received Gold certification status from Green Tourism Canada.

February 23, 2021
Two of Western Canada’s Elite Event Companies Have Teamed Up to Tackle the Growing Demand for High-End Hybrid and Virtual Events

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about huge changes in how people take in live events, and two forward-looking industry leaders are acting on a massive opportunity to fill a need now, and lead the industry into the exciting future of incredible remote live experiences.

Calgary, AB – The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on countless businesses in Canada, but perhaps no sector has been harder hit than the events industry. With legislation preventing in-person gatherings of any significant size in place across the country since early March 2020, event professionals have found themselves searching for ways to safely and legally stay active and viable through the lockdowns and restrictions.

At the same time, non-profits, festivals, meetings and conferences, and corporations and brands have been left trying to reimagine important fundraising, arts, community engagement, and employee events in a way that will carry their organizations through this time and to the other side. Too often, the options at hand are underwhelming, ineffective, and not in keeping with the legacy these events and brands have built over years and often decades.

But not for long. Two of Western Canada’s events industry heavy-hitters have stepped up to the plate to offer a solution that is not a compromise or a stop-gap, but rather a live event experience on par with the calibre both clients and guests used to expect, and still deserve. Experience Factory – a joint venture by Dustin Westling of OneWest Event Design and Pierre Marleau of Orange Frog Productions – is a 7,000 square-foot private broadcasting studio and hybrid event space fully equipped with both the technology and the talent to deliver a virtual event on par with the streaming services, awards shows, and sports events we all regularly enjoy remotely. The goal is to not only bring experience and quality back to the forefront, but to leapfrog the events industry into a future where live events are routinely offered with highly desirable remote options, alongside VIP and in-person experiences.

Along with live events, Experience Factory will service existing and burgeoning demand for recorded content – a demand that will continue to swell, and last long past pandemic restrictions. Recorded material for meetings and conferences, product launches, even television and commercials are well within the

wheelhouse of Experience Factory’s diverse capabilities, thanks to the high-end, integrated audio-visual, lighting, and design technology in one of the largest studios in Canada, along with the best and brightest talent in both events and broadcasting.

The foundation of everything is, of course, safety. Experience Factory is led and staffed by a fully COR Certified team of professionals, with dedicated Health & Safety Coordinators in place to oversee an exhaustive list of industry-leading protocols and state-of-the-art safety features. In a climate of job insecurity and economical instability, Experience Factory has seized on a way to safely fulfill a real need in the market, keep event and broadcasting professionals active in engaging and creatively rewarding work, and build something that will be relevant and exciting well beyond the eventual end of the pandemic.

More information about Experience Factory can be found at meetxfactory.com. More information about Dustin Westling and One West Event Design can be found at onewestevents.com. More information about Pierre Marleau and Orange Frog Productions can be found at orangefrogproductions.ca.

February 22, 2021
Aloft Tulum Debuts in Mexico’s Bohemian Paradise

New Lifestyle Hotel Marks Marriott Bonvoy’s Entry into Tulum, Ushering in a New Era of Hospitality

Aloft Tulum, a brand-new, boho-chic inspired hotel managed by Highgate Hotels, opened last week near Tulum’s desirable downtown district and its white-sand beaches. The four-floor property features 140 loft-like guest rooms and suites and a variety of vibrant spaces for socialization and music, including: signature Ático Rooftop Lounge & Bar with an infinity pool, teepees for kids, and the destination’s only venue for corporate meetings and events. Aloft Tulum is part of Marriott Bonvoy’s portfolio of brands, and its first property to debut in Tulum, Quintana Roo.

“After much anticipation, we are thrilled to welcome visitors to Aloft Tulum,” said the hotel’s General Manager Sergio Parra. “It is the ideal choice for travelers who are in search of a boutique-like hotel with bold design at an approachable price point.”

Aloft Tulum is as impressive as it is expressive. Next-gen travelers enter the hotel’s lobby to be greeted by urban art that changes seasonally, modern furniture and floor-to-ceiling windows. While guest rooms boast 10-foot-high ceilings, plush platform beds and light airy décor infused with natural textiles to deliver the ultimate comfort. Each room includes complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi, 55-inch LCD televisions, free signature coffee, Aloft custom toiletries from Bliss® Spa and walk-in showers with rainfall showerheads.

For mingling, Aloft Tulum offers several design-forward spaces including its Ático Rooftop Bar & Lounge. At this hangout spot, guests can take a dip in the infinity pool, experience local cuisine and sip on seasonal cocktails – all while marveling at unrivaled views of Tulum. Additionally, the urban hotel is home to a Re:fuel by Aloft, filled with fresh grab-and-go options; Re:mix lounge, the perfect place to mix, mingle and play a game of pool; and the W XYZ® bar, where guests and locals alike can enjoy live music programming.

Additionally, Aloft Tulum makes doing business and hosting intimate events and weddings a breeze with three multi-functional meeting conference spaces, totaling 2,761 square feet. Meeting rooms can accommodate up to 240 people and are equipped with the latest audiovisual technology, plasma screen televisions, and complimentary Wi-Fi. For guests’ further convenience, the property provides several high-tech features including a Mobile Key program for keyless entry into guest rooms and a concierge tablet.

Guests can stay in shape with access to the hotel’s Splash pool and Re:charge fitness center, which is outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment. The hotel also offers special amenities for kids with Camp Aloft and pets with ARF (animals are fun pet program).

Aloft Tulum is situated off-the-beaten-path in a beautiful location on Coba Avenue that is just a short walk or drive away to internationally recognized cuisine, local shopping and recreational activities. Nearby attractions include Playa Paraíso, one of the most spectacular beaches in Mexico, Tulum Mayan Ruins, and the award-winning Xel-Há water park.

Double guest rooms currently start at $150 per night. Aloft Tulum has two welcome offers: Guests will automatically receive a savings of 20% on the hotel’s best available rate and Marriott Bonvoy members staying three or more nights will be awarded 3,000 points. Both offers are valid on bookings made before April 30, 2021 for travel through June 30, 2021. To book, visit www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/tuyal-aloft-tulum

About Aloft Hotels®
Aloft Hotels currently operates more than 185 hotels in over 25 countries and territories. Catering to a tech-savvy, music-loving crowd, the brand offers vibrant, eclectic spaces that thrive off bringing people together. A brand for music lovers and music makers alike, Aloft is best known for its emphasis on innovative music programming through its Live at Aloft platform. Signature brand amenities include WXYZ® bar, Re:mix® lounge, grab-and-go breakfast concept Re:fuel by Aloft®, and pet-friendly program Arf® (Animals R Fun). Aloft moves to its own beat – it is Different. By Design. – using technology and design to enhance experiences and evolve with the needs of its guests. For more information, visit www.alofthotels.com and follow along on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Aloft is proud to participate in Marriott Bonvoy, the global travel program from Marriott International. The program offers members an extraordinary portfolio of global brands, exclusive experiences on Marriott Bonvoy Moments, and unparalleled benefits including free nights and Elite status recognition. To enroll for free or for more information about the program, visit MarriottBonvoy.com.

February 19, 2021
Beth Potter appointed new president and CEO of Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC)
TORONTO - Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) President and CEO, Beth Potter will be leaving the associationafter eleven yearsas President and CEO. Beth has been appointed the new President and CEO of the TourismIndustry Association of Canada (TIAC).
 
Beth’s last day with TIAO will be March 12, 2021 and she will begin her career at TIAC on March 15, 2021.
 
TIAO is pleased to announce, Carol Greenwood, Vice President, Membership & Business Development will become interim TIAO President and CEO on March 15.
 
Beth Potter said:
“I’m excited to be taking on this new challenge as the President and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada. This is a critical time for the tourism industry. The decisions the government takes in the coming weeks and months will have a significant impact on our ability to bring back the jobs and economic growth that tourism contributed to the Canadian economy before the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
These are undoubtedly challenging and difficult times, but the tourism industry is an innovative and resilient sector. I will harness all of my thirty years of experience in advocacy, shaping government policies and experience in collaboration on the international stage to meet these challenges head on.In the past eleven months, TIAC has made significant progress in winning key economic support programs for the tourism industry. I am determined to build on these achievements and ensure that tourism receives the sector-specific support it requires to rebuild.
 
I’d like to thank TIAO’s past and present staff members and directors for their unrelenting support during the past eleven years.TIAO, like the tourism industry in Ontario, has grown exponentially during my tenure. No more so than in the last eleven months, where TIAO has worked with government, stakeholders and members to provide vital support for our industry.
 
I am invigoratedby the challenge lying ahead at TIAC and look forward to working with my new colleagues and board members to position tourism front and centre of Canada’s economic recovery.”
 
Minto Schneider, Chair of TIAO’s Board of Directors said:
“Beth Potter has been an instrumental part of TIAO’s growth and success during her tenure as President and CEO. Beth has been an inspirational leader who, for over a decade, has ensured tourism has had a seat at the decision-making table in Ontario.
 
There is no greater seal of approval of Beth’s work at TIAO than being chosen from a stellar field of applicants to become a national voice for the tourism industry. Whilst we are sad to see her leave TIAO, as a member of the tourism family, I am thrilled to know that she will be bringing her experience, knowledge and considerable expertise to tourism’s national advocacy efforts.
 
On behalf of the entire Board of Directors I want to thank Beth for her decade of service and congratulate her on this exciting opportunity to join TIAC as their new President and CEO.
 
In the meantime, TIAO’s Vice President of Membership and Business Development, Carol Greenwood will be ably stepping into the interim President and CEO role. Carol has been at the forefront of TIAO’s growth over the past five years and has extensive knowledge of every part of TIAO’s operations. Carol will be assisted by Christopher Bloore, our Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs as the Board of Directors start the recruitment process.”
 
Carol Greenwood, Vice President, Membership and Business Development said:
“Beth Potter is synonymous with the tourism industry in Ontario and has been an integral part of TIAO’s rapid expansion over the past eleven years.
 
During her time as TIAO’S President and CEO, Beth has provided unparalleled leadership for the tourism industry in Ontario, bringing cabinet members, decision-makers and members of our industry together, to help deliver economic policies that have helped the tourism industry continue to grow in every part of our province.
 
This collaborative style has never been more important than during the past year as the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged our industry like no other crisis before. Beth’s calm and strong leadership has helped deliver key economic support programs for our members.
 
That’s why it has come as no surprise that TIAC has chosen Beth to lead the tourism industry's national advocacy efforts. Whilst we’re sad that Beth is leaving TIAO, she leaves us in a position of strength and we couldn’t be happier to have such a key ally in Ottawa fighting for the tourism industry.
 
TIAO won’t miss a beat in our advocacy efforts during this critical time. We have a comprehensive advocacy, government relations, communications and member development strategy in place and a talented team ready to execute it."

ABOUT TOURISM INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION OF ONTARIO (TIAO)
TIAO is recognized as the umbrella advocacy organization for leading associations, destination marketing organizations, regional tourism organizations, educators and businesses serving Ontario’s diverse tourism industry. Collectively representing 200,000 businesses and 400,000 employees, TIAO provides a strong and unified voice for the sector and is committed contributing to evidenced-based policy and providing strategic insight on how to create favourable public policy that allows the tourism industry to flourish. Find out more at tiaontario.ca
February 18, 2021
Suzanne Neufang Named Executive Director of GBTA

New leader brings years of optimal experience to helm the unified GBTA and ACTE, and lead business travel out of the pandemic and into the future

Alexandria, VA - The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), the worldwide leader in education, research, networking, and advocacy for the business travel industry, proudly announces the hiring of Suzanne Neufang as its next Executive Director, leading the combined GBTA and the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE).

Neufang was hired after a comprehensive and exhaustive review of over 130 candidates from around the world. The months-long process was led by an independent search committee of industry leaders and staff. The search was coordinated by leading association consulting firm MCI-USA, which served as a third-party hub to screen applicants and facilitate the extensive interview process.

“The independent search committee has provided GBTA with an exceptional leader for the future of our Association and industry. Suzanne is unquestionably the visionary to lead business travel to a complete recovery in the years ahead,” said Bhart Sarin, President of GBTA, “It will be a distinct privilege to support her as we complete our integration of GBTA and ACTE and build on the momentum of the Ready. Safe. Travel. campaign toward our annual convention in July.”

Neufang, whose diverse executive career has included senior leadership roles with several high-profile travel and technology companies, most recently served as Senior Vice President-Americas for HRS Global Hotel Solutions. Before HRS, Neufang worked for 10 years as an executive leader with Sabre Travel Network, GetThere and Travelocity and later as a divisional Chief Marketing Officer for Fortune 500 software giant Intuit. An active member of GBTA since 2005, Neufang led ACTE as Board President from 2012 to 2014 and as a Board Member from 2014 to 2018. She served as ACTE’s interim Executive Director during summer 2012.

Neufang described the opportunity to lead GBTA as a “pinnacle career opportunity” and an important way to give back to an industry she loves, and which has offered her many opportunities. “It’s not a secret that business travel is at an historic low point as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but in crises we find opportunities to be bold and to excel,” said Neufang. “Business travel has been down before and we have recovered – always coming back more technologically savvy, data-focused, and globally connected. The key questions for me are when we as an industry will recover, and how we as GBTA can drive economic and industry recovery to be even faster.

“We need to emerge from this pandemic as a healthier, more transparent association, one with the strongest possible, globally-focused foundation. As an organization, I believe we can work together to provide more value, better education and research, and even more effective advocacy for our members and sponsors. I’m very much looking forward to working with the professional staff at GBTA – and the Board, members, sponsors, and regional partners – who have had a long track record of growth and success serving the business travel community.”

Neufang will take over on February 24 from Dave Hilfman, who since July 2020 has served as the Association’s interim executive director. Hilfman will remain with GBTA in a temporary consulting role to smooth the transition.

“It’s been a privilege serving the business travel industry in this interim role over the past eight months and I’m grateful for the opportunity,” said Hilfman, who retired from United Airlines as Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales in 2018. “To be entrusted to lead the largest business travel association in the world at a truly consequential moment in our history is a true honor. I’m proud of the work we’ve done together and the significant progress made to date. My sincere thanks to the Staff, Board and members of GBTA for all their support. Stepping aside for Suzanne is easy, because she understands business travel from the buyer and supplier perspectives like few people I’ve ever met.”

About the Global Business Travel Association:
The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) is the world’s premier business travel and meetings trade organization headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area with operations on six continents. GBTA’s 9,000-plus members manage more than $345 billion in global business travel and meetings expenditures annually. GBTA delivers world-class education, events, research, advocacy and media to a growing global network of more than 28,000 travel professionals and 125,000 active contacts. To learn how business travel drives lasting business growth, visit www.gbta.org.

February 16, 2021
Marriott International Announces the Unexpected Passing of Arne M. Sorenson, - President and CEO

Bethesda, MD - It is with profound sadness that Marriott International announces that Arne M. Sorenson, President and CEO, unexpectedly passed away on February 15, 2021. In May 2019, the company announced that Mr. Sorenson had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. On February 2, 2021, Marriott shared the news that Mr. Sorenson would temporarily reduce his schedule to facilitate more demanding treatment for pancreatic cancer.

Mr. Sorenson became the third CEO in Marriott’s history in 2012, and the first without the Marriott surname. A visionary leader, Mr. Sorenson put the company on a strong growth trajectory that included the $13-billion acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts. During his tenure as CEO, Mr. Sorenson was tireless in driving the company’s progress, creating opportunities for associates, growth for owners and franchisees and results for the company’s shareholders. Known for his leadership on difficult national and global issues, Mr. Sorenson steered Marriott to make significant progress on diversity, equity and inclusion, environmental sustainability and human trafficking awareness.

“Arne was an exceptional executive – but more than that – he was an exceptional human being,” said J.W. Marriott, Jr., Executive Chairman and Chairman of the Board. “Arne loved every aspect of this business and relished time spent touring our hotels and meeting associates around the world. He had an uncanny ability to anticipate where the hospitality industry was headed and position Marriott for growth. But the roles he relished the most were as husband, father, brother and friend. On behalf of the Board and Marriott’s hundreds of thousands of associates around the world, we extend our heartfelt condolences to Arne’s wife and four children. We share your heartbreak, and we will miss Arne deeply.”

When Mr. Sorenson stepped back from full-time management in early February, the company tapped two veteran Marriott executives, Stephanie Linnartz, Group President, Consumer Operations, Technology and Emerging Businesses, and Tony Capuano, Group President, Global Development, Design and Operations Services, to share responsibility for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the company’s business units and corporate functions, in addition to maintaining their current responsibilities. Ms. Linnartz and Mr. Capuano will continue in this capacity until the Marriott Board appoints a new CEO, which is expected to be within the next two weeks.

About Marriott International
Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) is based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, and encompasses a portfolio of more than 7,500 properties under 30 leading brands spanning 132 countries and territories. Marriott operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts all around the world. The company offers Marriott Bonvoy™, its highly-awarded travel program. For more information, please visit our website at www.marriott.com, and for the latest company news, visit www.marriottnewscenter.com. In addition, connect with us on Facebook and @MarriottIntl on Twitter and Instagram.

February 12, 2021
Submissions for the 2021 ILEA Esprit Awards Are Now Open!
The International Live Events Association (ILEA) is pleased to announce that the call for submissions for the 2021 ILEA Esprit Awards are now open!

New this year, the ILEA Esprit Awards are open to our entire events community!
 
Since 1995, the ILEA Esprit Awards program has recognized top talent, events, and initiatives from many facets of the live events industry. From weddings and corporate gatherings, to nonprofit fundraisers and beyond, we honor the outstanding individuals and organizations that make events possible.

The 2021 ILEA Esprit Awards, powered by CORT Events are now open and celebrate the extraordinary work of our ILEA members, events community, and events industry organizations throughout 2020.

There are 5 new ILEA Esprit Award categories that celebrate the extraordinary efforts we have undertaken to adapt to unprecedented circumstances and the impacts of the pandemic to our global events industry.

The New ILEA Esprit Awards Categories Include:
  • Best Corporate Social Responsibility 
  • Best Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Initiative 
  • Best Hybrid Event
  • Best Industry Adaptation 
  • Best Virtual Event
The ILEA Esprit Awards include 34 different categories that honor events of varying types, budgets, and production elements.  
 
ILEA is accepting submissions through Monday, March 15, 2021. The 2021 ILEA Esprit Awards entry fee is $200 per submission, with an ILEA member rate of $100. Late submissions will be accepted from March 16-31, 2021, for an additional $50 fee. 
 
Be recognized for the outstanding events and initiatives that you and your organization produced in 2020. Start your ILEA Esprit Awards submissions today on our awards platform, hosted by Omni Solutions Group, Inc.
 

Have questions? Email ILEA at info@ileahub.com or call 571-685-8010. Watch the video to get inspired!
 
International Live Events Association
571-685-8010
ILEA website
February 10, 2021
Change is Coming at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel in Toronto International Airport

We’re Creating a New Place to Gather

In early 2021, the Sheraton Gateway Hotel in Toronto International Airport has commenced a transformational journey to join Sheraton hotels’ global rebranding. After acquiring Starwood Hotels & Resorts in late 2016, revitalizing the Sheraton brand has been one of Marriott International’s top priorities, a project that is finally coming to life across the globe. The Sheraton Gateway is proud to be joining this movement of change at a time when it is much needed.

Our owners, Knightstone Capital Management, work to optimize each of their properties by providing exceptional spaces and service offerings that enhance the guest experience. Managing a diverse portfolio of hospitality, academic, commercial, and residential assets, Knightstone Capital Management is an experienced leader in developing and upgrading properties to create unique spaces for people to live, learn and connect.  Knightstone is committed to the Hotel’s long-term success and is excited to be part of the Sheraton brand’s global transformation.

The past year has been a challenging episode for the hotel industry and as we continue to look forward, we continue to prepare for Canada’s recovery and future. Part of this recovery involves bringing a new experience to travelers at the Toronto Pearson International Airport, one that is more aligned with our guests’ evolving needs and where the power of the collective is put forward. We see this time as the perfect opportunity to rethink our offering and come out even stronger from this difficult period.

The new Sheraton experience will be a place to gather, where the community is stronger than the individual, where experiences are shared and differences are unified. Public spaces will be reimagined to invite our guests to come together as a global and inclusive community. Our F&B offering is being redesigned to enable our guests to increase their productivity and create meaningful connections. Our meeting spaces are being rejuvenated and our guestrooms are being elevated to bring an immediate feeling of comfort and belonging from the moment you step in.

These renovations will take place in different stages, all throughout which the hotel will remain open. During this time, to minimize the disturbance for our guests, work will only be conducted from Monday to Friday, between 9AM and 5PM. While these renovations are ongoing at our property, all local safety guidelines regarding COVID-19 are being followed to ensure the health and wellness of our guests, contractors and hotel associates. We are expecting the project to be completed by April 2022.

In the meantime, we look forward to gradually introducing you to the new Sheraton experience at our hotel as the different stages are being completed. The time for change has come and we are excited to soon welcome you again in a place of community, where you belong.

 

Sheraton Gateway Hotel in Toronto International Airport

Terminal 3, Toronto AMF, P.O. Box 3000, Toronto, Ontario L5P 1C4

T 905 672 7000 | Marriott.com/YYZGS

February 09, 2021
Marriott International Expects to More Than Double All-Inclusive Portfolio in an Agreement with Sunwing Travel Group

Company plans to add 19 resorts to its robust all-inclusive offering, expanding presence to Antigua and St. Lucia

Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) today announced a significant planned expansion of its all-inclusive portfolio through a long-term agreement with Sunwing Travel Group’s hotel division, Blue Diamond Resorts, which has an extensive portfolio of resort properties throughout the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico. The agreement is expected to propel Marriott into the list of top 10 global all-inclusive players by adding 19 franchised resorts totaling nearly 7,000 rooms across six destinations and more than doubling the company’s presence in the all-inclusive segment to 33 properties by 2025. The majority of the properties are expected to be converted into Marriott’s Autograph Collection by mid 2021.

“We are thrilled to work with Sunwing Travel Group and expand into two new leisure destinations – St. Lucia and Antigua,” said Tony Capuano, Group President, Global Development, Design and Operations Services, Marriott International. “Blue Diamond’s expertise in the all-inclusive segment and high-quality resorts will help ensure that these properties serve as excellent additions to the Marriott portfolio. Today’s signing is a testament to Marriott International’s scale and loyalty platform, and we look forward to providing travelers seeking an all-inclusive experience with more choices in the Caribbean and Latin America.”

Marriott International launched its multi-brand all-inclusive portfolio platform in August 2019 and has 9 open hotels across Costa Rica, Barbados and Mexico with an additional 5 hotels in the pipeline in Mexico, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Brazil. With today’s agreement, another 19 are expected to join the portfolio. The platform will provide the company’s 145 million Marriott Bonvoy members the option to earn and redeem points for the convenient, pay-one-price concept.

“We are excited to enter into this agreement with Marriott International, and introduce Blue Diamond Resorts’ portfolio of hotels to their Autograph Collection brand,” said Stephen Hunter, CEO, Sunwing Travel Group. “Our luxurious, award-winning hotels will benefit from Marriott’s world-renowned reputation and esteemed travel program, all while bolstering our mission to bring unparalleled vacation experiences to customers.”

The following resorts are anticipated to convert to the Autograph Collection:

Mexico

  • 840-room Royalton Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa
  • 343-room Hideaway at Royalton Riviera Cancun
  • 566-room Planet Hollywood Beach Resort Cancun
  • 332-room Planet Hollywood Adults Scene Cancun
  • 457-room Royalton CHIC Suites Cancun Resort & Spa

Dominican Republic

  • 730-room Royalton Bavaro Resort & Spa
  • 320-room Royalton CHIC Punta Cana Resort & Spa
  • 525-room Royalton Splash Punta Cana Resort & Spa
  • 317-room Royalton Punta Cana Resort & Casino
  • 168-room Hideaway at Royalton Punta Cana

Jamaica

  • 352-room Royalton White Sands Montego Bay
  • 228-room Royalton Blue Waters Montego Bay
  • 140-room Hideaway at Royalton Negril
  • 407-room Royalton Negril Resort & Spa

St. Lucia

  • 290-room Royalton Saint Lucia Resort & Spa
  • 166-room Hideaway at Royalton Saint Lucia

Antigua

  • 294-room Royalton Antigua Resort & Spa

Costa Rica

  • 294-room Planet Hollywood Beach Resort Costa Rica

Multi-Brand All-Inclusive Portfolio
Given growing demand for premium and luxury all-inclusive stays, Marriott International previously announced it would leverage eight of its 30 global iconic brands in the all-inclusive category: The Ritz-Carlton, The Luxury Collection, Marriott Hotels, Westin Hotels, W Hotels, Autograph Collection, Tribute Portfolio and Delta Hotels by Marriott. Today’s agreement reflects the addition of 19 resorts into Marriott International’s Autograph Collection, a curated collection of remarkably independent hotels hand-selected for their inherent craft and distinct perspectives on design and hospitality. Guests will revel in an elevated all-inclusive leisure vacation experience with a unique design aesthetic, enriching programs and redesigned dynamic dining options, along with enhanced spa and wellness offerings.

Marriott Commitment to Clean Protocols
Hotels in the Marriott portfolio are following Marriott International’s Commitment to Clean protocols created together with leading experts in food and water safety, hygiene and infection prevention and hotel operations. These protocols include mandated mask-wearing for all associates within the hotel, and the use of electrostatic sprayers and disinfectants recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization to sanitize surfaces in the hotels. In addition, the company has modified its food and beverage operational practices creating a newly designed approach to buffets and in-room dining. Measures include but are not limited to contactless and low-touch service, digital menus, pre-plated mini buffet options and a hybrid buffet with elements of self-guided service around individually plated or packaged selections.

About Marriott International
Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) is based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, and encompasses a portfolio of more than 7,500 properties under 30 leading brands spanning 132 countries and territories. Marriott operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts all around the world. The company offers Marriott Bonvoy™, its highly-awarded travel program. For more information, please visit our website at www.marriott.com. In addition, connect with us on Facebook and @MarriottIntl on Twitter and Instagram.

About Sunwing Travel Group
The largest integrated travel company in North America, Sunwing Travel Group is comprised of Sunwing Vacations and Vacation Express, two of the leading leisure tour operators in North America; Sunwing Airlines, Canada’s premier leisure airline; SunwingJets, a luxury private jet charter service; SellOffVacations.com and Luxe Destination Weddings, two leading travel retail businesses; NexusTours, a full-service destination management company; and Blue Diamond Resorts, the Group’s hotel management company, an innovative organization that operates popular resort brands across the Caribbean and Mexico. Since its inception in 2011, Blue Diamond Resorts has curated an impressive portfolio encompassing 45 properties, exceeding 15,000 rooms in ten countries, including the award-winning All-In Luxury® Royalton Luxury Resorts, adults-only brands Hideaway at Royalton and Royalton CHIC, Planet Hollywood Hotels and Resorts, and Mystique by Royalton. For more information on Sunwing Travel Group, please visit www.sunwingtravelgroup.com.