President's Message - Jan 2019

Wednesday Feb 20, 2019

Author: Hilary Chambers

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It has definitely been a wild winter in my slice of Northern Ontario! I suppose we are going to need to get used to more significant weather events rather than the predictable weather of years gone by. Luckily the intense snowfall has provided spectacular conditions for our snowmobile trails, even with the much colder than normal temperatures. 

With all of this winter weather, those who like to play in the snow have been busy, and those who crave warmth may have taken vacations of their own. This time of year we take a breath…and get prepared for the season ahead. Don’t forget NOTO in all of this! The time is NOW to renew your membership and take advantage of the discounted Early Bird Rate! Why pay more when you can save & support the organization that supports your business as the voice of Nature & Outdoor Tourism in Ontario! After March 31 the membership rate goes up…don’t miss out, take advantage of the savings.

This is also a great time of year to discuss the many benefits of being a NOTO member to others in the industry who have not yet joined, as well as potential Preferred Suppliers who want to do business with our members. Our organization has a long and iconic history, our strength comes not only from Laurie, who is a powerhouse, but our membership and a Board that is actively engaged in the issues that matter the most to us and our Tourism businesses. The Ontario Government is listening…and I find this very encouraging! They are actively looking for feedback from Tourism Operators & Outfitters to create a strong Ontario Tourism Strategy. It is vital that we make our voices heard.

Visit this link: https://www.ontario.ca/page/consultation-ontario-tourism-strategy to have your say BEFORE February 28, 2019.

As you know NOTO has been going through our own Strategic Planning process and we are excited to see the draft report that has come out of this in the next week or so. This has been a long time coming and I am grateful to all who participated online, in person at our focus group sessions and at the Northern Ontario Tourism Summit last fall. NOTO is heading into the future as a leader, with vast knowledge and resources. Change is never easy, but we need to embrace the suggestions and strengthen our organization so that we can meet our 100th year as an influential voice for the industry.

The tourism industry is full of organizations that propose to speak for us, but no other organization knows as well our segment of the industry, the individual operators or has the history & connections that NOTO has.

Make this strength and history work for you, and your community by encouraging others to join because together we can meet the challenges that we face head on and effect positive change throughout the tourism industry.

I like it when we have good news to report. I’m sure that we were all thrilled to hear that the TODS Signage program is not going through with its proposed increase this year, as well as the hunting/fishing license price freeze etc. These wins are due in large part to the feedback given by NOTO to government partners. Your opinions and voice are very important the more engaged you are in our organization the easier it becomes for NOTO to champion various causes that mean the most to our members. I encourage all of you to become vocal, volunteer, become a NOTO champion/ambassador, offer your expertise on a committee and please read and respond when you receive correspondence from the NOTO office.

Looking forward to a spectacular upcoming season for the tourism industry in Northern Ontario!

Hilary Chambers
Pine Grove Resort & Cottages
NOTO President

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