I woke up this morning to a fresh dusting of snow. I dread snow in October, as it makes working difficult around the resort. Many of our seasonal resorts and lodges in my neck of the woods have already closed for the year, but we have guests in, and boats in the water. The snow reminds me that the main tourist season is winding to a close and that its time to focus on what we learned this year and what we have to do to improve our property and guest experience for next year.
I was very happy to see that Tourism Northern Ontario (RTO13) & Explorers Edge (RTO12) won an award at the TIAO Summit for their partnership creating the program Tourism Excellence North (TEN). This program is a suite of training tools and workshops that help you improve the customer experience and thereby become exceptional tourist operators & ambassadors for not only your property but your region and ultimately for tourism in the Province. The North and Tourism in Ontario are well represented this year and definitely has piqued the interest of the current government. I am encouraged that they are interested in reducing some of the red tape which hampers us in our business as well as promoting the message that the province is open for business.
We had some concerns at NOTO that legislation might hamper American visitation, but that crisis seems to have been avoided with this bit of good news for our American visitors! It appears that the problems for non-residents with a single, old DUI have been avoided with some changes made by the Immigration Minister. Old DUI's will be "grandfathered". However, it is important to note that anything from December 2018 on will make them inadmissible to Canada.
This is the time of year when I find myself excited for the upcoming Northern Ontario Tourism Summit. This year the summit will be held once again in beautiful Sault Ste. Marie at the Quattro Hotel & Conference Centre, November 13-15. This 3-day summit is packed with networking opportunities, seminars, speakers, awards and of course our NOTO AGM. I hope to see you all there as this is a pivotal year for NOTO as we undergo our Strategic Planning, charting our course for the future. To ensure that we are THE Voice of Nature & Outdoor Tourism in the province, we need your participation. Some of you may have taken part in regional focus groups and the summit is the time to “bring it home.”
We welcome and encourage your input on how to make our organization stronger to serve the needs of our members. In this day and age, breaking the 90-year mark for an organization is almost unheard of in any industry. Your thoughts on the future of our organization will define what it means to be an operator in this day and age and how we can compete and have a voice at the table. Our strength as an organization begins with you and I welcome you to join us in creating this vision.
See you at the Summit!