President’s Message – December 2016

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Greetings From NOTO’s New President, Hilary Chambers
President, Hilary ChambersDecember 2016
I’m sure those of us that attended the 3 day Northern Ontario Tourism Summit this past November in Sudbury, are still riding high on the excitement of this event. What a fabulous way to network with industry partners and others in the tourism sector, while working collectively towards building a stronger tourism industry for Northern Ontario. The NOTO evening was yet again a resounding success, filled with laughter, engagement and excitement…let’s keep that momentum moving forward into 2017!
There is no better time than now to be involved in Tourism; as we head into 2017, and Canada’s 150th birthday, all eyes will be on our beautiful country. The recent election in the United States has also created a climate where our American friends are looking favourably on visiting their Northern neighbours.
We are fortunate in Northern Ontario to have that iconic Canadian wilderness experience at our fingertips. We have solid ownership of “Cottage Country” with our breathtaking scenery, vast forests, pristine waterways, world class fishing opportunities & wildlife experiences, be they hunting or photography. We are what visitors think of as Canada, and as such can offer memories that will last a lifetime, and keep guests returning year after year.
With the increased interest from new visitors to Canada, we have an opportunity over the shoulder season to make sure that our resorts, lodges and businesses are ready to make an outstanding first impression. 
The Tourism Excellence North program is a way for us to ensure we offer that WOW experience to our guests. The “TEN” program is a suite of training solutions that strengthen the ability of tourism operations to respond to changes in the marketplace, adapt to quality visitor expectations, and raise the bar on visitor value and experience. 
This program is only available to those in Northern Ontario, and is currently subsidized for tourism operators, communities and destinations. The “TEN” program was modelled off the highly successful ACOA program in Atlantic Canada that became a game change for their tourism industry. I encourage everyone to check it out and use the self-assessment tools, there are many “Brokers” in all regions of the North, that are trained to assist you in navigating the program should you wish to move through the levels. Two of our NOTO staff have been trained as brokers of the program so reach out to Andre Dukhia or Laurie Marcil to find out more.
My love of the tourism industry was instilled from birth, I grew up in the North at my families Pine Grove Resort Cottages in Port Loring. My father is a Past President of NOTO, and I have seen the dedication to community, environment, natural resources and industry that are essential to keeping NOTO’s voice strong. I am passionate about engaging our members and strengthening renewed relationships with all levels of government and the Ministry of Natural Resources so that we can work together to ensure a viable tourism industry with healthy wildlife populations & prosperous outfitters.
We have a strong and passionate Board of Directors in place for 2017 that will help once again position Nature & Outdoor Tourism Ontario as an organization of influence in the industry. Many of the current directors have spent a lifetime dedicated to tourism in the North, their experience is a strong asset in moving NOTO into the future.
On behalf of the NOTO Board of Directors, I wish you a safe and prosperous 2017. 
Hilary ChambersNOTO President

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