Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Time to Reflect on Tourism Resolutions for 2011.

Its New years Day and I'm sitting in my den, looking out over the "Big Lake" with a coffee relaxing. And by relaxing, I mean putting my thoughts and resolutions into this digital space.

First off, Happy New Year to all of our tourism partners locally, provincially, nationally and internationally. 2010 was a whirlwind year with lots of challenges and thankfully many more rewards and as we take this long weekend breather before diving into a new regional tourism management world in 2011, its good to reflect on our accomplishments and plan for the future.

My main professional new years resolution is, after much thought, pretty simple. To build new partnerships that help us deliver the visitor experiences consumers want.

For me, the past week has not been entirely spend eating and socializing. With RTO work continuing through the holidays, seeing our 2011 Thunder Bay Visitor Experience Magazine and e-zine off to production, responding to media requests and coordinating upcoming outdoors tactical strategies with OTMPC, our year end and the coinciding deadlines for the year's tactical plans make for a busy time. But it never really feels like work, however.

Its also a time to reflect on my last four years in my current role and how enjoyable it has been to be part of a dedicated corporate team always moving forward to make this community great. Given my passion over the past decade for bringing entrepreneurial values into the public service economic development environment, I can honestly say that its been very rewarding to see that bureaucratic and entrepreneurial values can coexist in the public sector. As a department, my team has ushered in a consumer research and experientially focused planning model, adopted a whole new vision and for the local tourism industry through positioning the community as Canada's Best Outdoor City and embraced regional collaboration beyond our city limits to speak to consumers and tell stories that excite them.

We've done all this as an industry by taking calculated risks and pushing limits and challenging the status quo. Its been a four year adrenaline rush.

For 2011, we will continue to steer the ship on its course, building greater equity into the core "Superior By Nature" brand, moving ever closer to the "Canada's Best Outdoor City" position in the market place and everything we do will reflect that vision by new and creative means that weave our connection to our natural environment with our urban cultural and culinary fibres.

The coming months are going to be amazing, if not insanely busy for our tourism department. We'll be promoting the city and region's experiences in the Toronto, Winnipeg, Chicago and Minneapolis markets, we'll be launching the fourth generation of our Seven Days With the Giant experiential leisure program, generating greater cruise shipping industry awareness for the Lake Superior basin and continuing to build the RTO framework that will change the way we collaborate and communicate. We'll be rolling out an enhanced Meeting and Convention and Incentive Travel tactical creative plan sometime mid year and will continue to increase our digital presence by engaging the latest trends in creative digital social channels.

Most importantly, we're going to continue having fun getting to where we want to go as a tourism economy.

To all reading this, enjoy the day with family and friends and I encourage everyone in the tourism industry to adopt your own professional resolution for the coming year with respect to what you are going to contribute to growing the tourism economy. If we started writing them all down, I'm pretty positive it would paint 2011 as a challenging yet rewarding year for the tourism industry.

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