Ottawa Tourism Summit focuses on Ottawa 2017 and beyond

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(press release)

Ottawa – More than 250 representatives from the tourism industry, local business community and government gathered this morning at the Shaw Centre for the sold out Ottawa Tourism Summit. The event was hosted by the City of Ottawa and Ottawa Tourism, in partnership with the Economic Club of Canada, and sponsored by the Ottawa Gatineau Hotel Association and the Shaw Centre. The Summit delivers on a key component of the City’s economic development strategy, Partnerships for Innovation. 

 

Being on the cusp of Canada’s celebratory big year, the summit focused on how to sustain the momentum of Ottawa 2017 in the coming years – stimulating the local economy and creating jobs by continuing to develop Ottawa as a prime destination and attract visitors to the nation’s capital.

Mayor Jim Watson and Michael Crockatt, President and CEO of Ottawa Tourism, provided their visions of Ottawa’s tourism industry in an armchair discussion moderated by Councillor Jean Cloutier.

“At the end of the last Term of Council, we were getting ready to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary like nowhere else, with the goal of attracting millions of additional visitors to Ottawa. But I knew we couldn’t stop there; that we had to look past 2017 and start planning the future of our tourism industry,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “I’m glad we delivered on this important campaign promise today, and I know this long-term visioning exercise with our partners will help us build on the success of 2017 to strengthen our tourism sector in the years to come.”

“We’re very pleased with the high turnout of tourism stakeholders. It speaks to the strength of the industry and shows our local businesses truly want to see the sector grow,” said Alta Vista Councillor Jean Cloutier, co-host of the Summit with Mayor Watson.

“We’re very pleased with the high turnout of tourism stakeholders. It speaks to the strength of the industry and shows our local businesses truly want to see the sector grow,” said Alta Vista Councillor Jean Cloutier, co-host of the Summit with Mayor Watson.

“The Tourism Summit sets the stage for how we can strategically take advantage of our “Big Year” in 2017, for long-term destination strength after 2017,” said Michael Crockatt, President & CEO of Ottawa Tourism. We have the opportunity to get a sound reading on Ottawa’s current-day strengths and opportunities, game-changing investments that will transform our city, and how a shifting landscape of consumer travel behaviour and expectations is changing how we need to interact with our visitors in the short-term and in the future. It is a tall order, but we can point to research, trends, and bricks-and-mortar plans to help map our way forward. These are our objectives with this year’s Ottawa Tourism Summit.”

Guy Laflamme, Executive Director of the Ottawa 2017 Bureau, moderated a panel discussion of experts who brought an outside perspective on how Ottawa can strengthen its tourism industry by leveraging its 2017 investments and the increased number of visitors and earned media they will generate. The panelists included: David Goldstein, President and CEO of Destination Canada; Charlotte Bell, President and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC); Daniel Gélinas, former CEO of Québec 400 and current General Manager of Le Festival d’été de Québec; and Katherine Henderson, former Senior Vice-President, Marketing and Revenue, for the Toronto 2015 PanAm/ParapanAm Games and current CEO of Curling Canada.

“The most important measure of success of any event that is brought by or to a City is a positive impact that it leaves for that place when it is all over,” said Katherine Henderson, CEO of Curling Canada. “The focus of the organizers of 2017 shouldn’t be exclusively what Ottawa will look like in 2017 but in 2018 and many years beyond. Having citizens in the years ahead saying ’I was there in 2017 when Ottawa changed for the better‘ needs to be the goal.”

“Next year will provide an incredible opportunity to capitalize on the excitement of Canada’s 150th anniversary as we showcase Canada’s very best and indeed, our nation’s capital,” said Charlotte Bell, President and CEO of TIAC.  “Visitors from across the globe will have an opportunity to experience the beauty and charm of the national capital region and will return home to share their fond memories, great stories and the desire to start planning their next trip to Canada. As Canada’s national advocacy voice for the tourism industry, we are most eager to see Canada enhance its place on the international stage as an accessible, desirable destination offering great experiences and value.”

The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Small Business and Tourism also provided remarks at today’s event.

The Summit continued in the afternoon with facilitated workshops that examined results from an online consultation exercise with local tourism stakeholders that was completed in April. Ottawa Tourism will be also holding its annual general meeting later today, and will be issuing a news release on the outcomes of this event on Tuesday morning.

 


OttawaStart Staff

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