APRIL 2020
The world has certainly been turned upside down since the last edition of TMAC TRAVELS.
First, there was the coronavirus pandemic which we're still dealing with as I write this.
That, in turn, forced our organization to postpone the national conference set for June in Sudbury, with the outside possibility of holding it in early September. Regardless of whether or not we manage to have a conference, we will need to hold an AGM. Stay tuned for more details about that in the upcoming weeks.
And finally, on a more personal and very sad note, the TMAC family lost long-time member Nathan Fong in March, as he passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. For the past several years, he had served as president of the B.C. chapter, but he was much more than that. He was a consummate professional, he was a colleague, he was a friend. He will be missed.

On a slightly more positive note, TMAC held its first live online professional development webinar earlier this month, and it went very well. We will host more of  them in the future.
Stay safe out there!
John Geary, TMAC Travels editor
Travel Media Association of Canada


Further to my two most recent President's Messages, I want to continue to assure you that we are constantly exploring ways to support our TMAC community. We are still in discussions with the City of Greater Sudbury regarding our 2020 TMAC Conference & AGM and promise to keep you abreast of any updates we have in a timely fashion. These are challenging times and we want to make the right decision for everyone.
The top five finalists of the TMAC 2019 Awards will still be announced in May, and,hopefully, be honoured in person at our annual TMAC Awards Ceremony.

Although the new re-qual cycle does not take place until November of this year, we will be making adjustments to the criteria to address to lack of activity created by COVID-19. This may be a reduction in the number of points required, or a delay in the timing of the re-qualification, or both. More details will follow.

The Board will continue to meet and communicates on a more frequent basis in order to keep you informed and support you in any way we can. In the meantime, please contact me at and/or Elizabeth Kerr at with any questions, suggestions or concerns you may have. We promise to address them all in a timely fashion. We are all here to support you.

Stay safe.

Dale Dunlop, president

As we continue to face the enormous impact that the COVID-19 virus has on each and everyone of us, we continue to search for ways to reach out to our TMAC community to engage, provide support and offer some new learning opportunities through the newly-launched National PD Program.

I'm sure that everyone who participated in TMAC's first online webinar was a great success and provided some great takeaways to reposition ourselves and be ready for new opportunities when they present themselves...and they will.

Send me a photo (preferably horizontal) and your favourite travel quote and I'll add you to TMAC's home page slideshow!

In preparation for the production of a PDF version of the Member Directory, there is no better time to build or refresh your TMAC profile and ensure that the content is current and relevant.

Some great examples include:

Dave Finn - MEDIA

Karyl Leigh Barnes, DCI - INDUSTRY | PR FIRM

Until now, PR firms were able to add all of the destinations they represent. For all members, you can now include destinations, attractions and/or events to your profile. 

You can access the instructions here!

If you need any help, please don't hesitate to reach out to me. I'd be happy to assist you.

During these uncertain times, we have decided to extend the deadline for renewals to April 30, 2020. Notifications will be sent out weekly until that date.

Perhaps this is a good time to introduce yourself to someone you have never met. The TMAC website has a robust member search function under the MEMBERSHIP tab. You can search any and all media or industry members by accessing the MEMBER DIRECTORY tab   HERE!

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, all are warmly welcomed. Please do not hesitate to reach out and ask. As always, I am here to support you in any way I can.

Elizabeth Kerr , executive director

We were thrilled to launch the National PD Program with our first webinar on April 2. More than 70 members registered to join a great  presentation by Nora Dunn on developing multiple revenue streams by leveraging your freelance writing and blog.
Our second webinar is set to take place on May 5, at 1 p.m. EDT (save the date) and will be titled, "A Critical Look at Influencer Marketing" with Dalene Heck of Hectic Media Inc.
While I'm here, here's a callout for presentations and presenters:  Do you have a skill or area of expertise that you think our members would be interested in learning more about? If so, would you be interested in presenting a webinar? Please email  to discuss it further.
Marc Smith,
TMAC board member


At TMAC we're always looking for ways to support our members. We're happy to announce that we've created a Pinterest account to do just that! Head to and check it out.

As of right now, we have Canada-centric boards which you are encouraged to join to start sharing your content. We will be adding more boards for additional destinations soon! Just follow the account and we will add you to all of the boards within the TMAC account. This may take some time so please be patient - we will get you added as soon as we can!

With this account, we hope to use it as yet another way to share our member's content. If you share your posts to our weekly/monthly share threads, we'll be adding those to the Pinterest account to help you get more eyes on your accounts. If you have any questions, please let us know and we'd be happy to assist.

We don't have much news from the Atlantic Canada side, this issue. The Atlantic chapter does send its love and support to all fellow members of TMAC during these difficult times. We hope to see everyone in the future, once it is safe to again get together for meetings and conferences.                                               
Helen Earley
Atlantic chapter chair
Isabel MacDougall
Atlantic chapter secretary

It has been a challenging time. I hope everyone is holding up okay and that you are all well. On behalf of everyone on the Ontario board, please stay safe and take care of yourselves. Our thoughts are with every single person in Canada and around the world who are suffering and dealing with loss as a result of the pandemic.
I don't want to dwell too much on the bad news. As you all know our national conference was postponed and sadly so was our April and May M&M's. In all likelihood, there will be further cancellations as the COVID-19 crisis continues to unfold.
There is good news to share. I want to send a huge thanks to Colorado Tourism for sponsoring a wonderful March M&M. We had a great time on March 10 at The CRAFT Beer Market in Toronto. It was wonderful learning about Colorado and playing a challenging yet fun trivia game.
And more good news. Even though we had to cancel our M&M we are interested in hosting a virtual M&M on April 21st. Plans are still in the works, but we will keep you posted. This will be an Ontario chapter event but anyone who is a member of TMAC can attend. The plan is to have an agenda, PD session and a chance to mingle at the end of the event. If it goes well, we will also have hangouts for anyone who may feel isolated and just want to stay in touch. Details will follow on our Facebook pages.

Rod Charles , chapter chair
Ontario chapter board


Like many chapters, our team has been adjusting to the "new normal" as we all navigate the COVID-19 pandemic together. Most recently, we ran our first Zoom webinar for members, focusing on the pandemic and how it's currently impacting global tourism.
We were privileged to welcome Dr. Craig Jenne, Canada Research Chair in Imaging Approaches Towards Studying Infection from the University of Calgary, and Don Boynton, a public relations and crisis communications expert.
Both guests thoughtfully answered a series of questions prepared by our team as well as from webinar participants. Dr. Jenne was so helpful in providing straightforward information about the pandemic - what we can expect in terms of timelines and adjusting to the current situation. Don shared some key information about how to navigate this crisis from a communications perspective, highlighting some brands that are "getting it right".
Our chapter is committed to keeping our membership informed and connected during these unsettling times.
Our planning of in-person events and our annual PD weekend is currently on hold until the situation eases, but we look forward to continuing to adapt our programming to provide great value to our members in a virtual environment.
We know it will be a long road to recovery, but until then we are all doing our part to stay home while offering some armchair travel inspiration.
Stay safe, everyone!

Paula Worthington, co-chair
Prairies & NWT chapter board

Usually, this report is written by chapter president Nathan Fong. Sadly, he is no longer with us.
Nathan touched a great many people throughout his career, helping them in many different ways, as a mentor, a colleague and collaborator, as a voice to listen to, as an ear to hear when others needed to speak.
The first memory I have of Nathan is from the Fredericton conference in 2012. I knew Nathan from reading some of his work in the Vancouver Sun, but this was the first time I met him in person.

Nathan and Ange Chew at a recent gathering of the BC board.

As it turned out, just about everyone else at the conference did, too - thanks to the keynote speaker. I don't remember the speaker's name, but I remember he was talking about the importance of meeting people and not being afraid to strike up conversations. With no warning, he singled out Nathan.

"Take for example, Nathan there," he said, asking Nathan to stand up. "I met him in the elevator this morning, and we struck up a conversation..."

For the rest of the conference people were teasing Nathan about elevator chats - especially if you happened to be in an elevator with him - and he would just grin good-naturedly and shake his head a bit, rolling with the joke.
A few of our other members have taken the time to share some memories and moments of Nathan.
Jantine Van Kregten, director of communications for Ottawa Tourism, had this to say:

"Ottawa Tourism had the pleasure of hosting Nathan for the Canadian Culinary Championships over the first weekend of Winterlude in February 2020 (just two short months ago - hard to believe!) As always, he was the consummate professional: he knew everyone, and everyone knew him. He shared reminiscences, jokes, advice, praise, and (constructive) criticism in equal measure. His smile was infectious. The love he had for the industry was palpable.
"I feel blessed to have spent that time with him. He will be missed."
Nathan: stylin' ... in his lobster bib dress.

Veronica Leonard was still a newcomer to TMAC when she first met Nathan as part of a post-Quebec AGM tour in Gatineau. "That group remains very special to me for being incredibly welcoming and helpful," she says.
"Nathan's stories kept us in stitches and despite his prestigious position as a culinary spokesperson to the Province of BC, he had time for everyone.
"I was shocked and saddened to hear of his passing."

Sandra Thomas worked with Nathan on the BC chapter board for several years.

" I recently enjoyed a dim sum brunch in Vancouver with Nathan, some other members of the TMAC BC board and a few friends. We let Nathan do the ordering and enjoyed everything from chicken feet to BBQ pork buns to har gow.

"But the highlight had to be the gigantic sesame ball we had for dessert, which was bigger than Nathan's head. God, how we all laughed when it was presented. And that's the way I'll always remember Nathan: with that giant grin and infectious laugh.

"You are much missed my friend."
Paula Bergeron from Quebec City Tourism also has fond memories of Nathan from a visit to Vancouver.

" Honestly, not a day goes by since I heard of Nathan's passing that I don't have a thought for him," she says. "I had the privilege to be invited into Nathan's and Michel's home in Vancouver. For me it was a true privilege, but I know that for them it was so natural. That's why we will miss him so much.
"What an extraordinary human being."
Nathan could also be very creative in ways that didn't involve food.

"One of my favourite memories of Nathan was when he hosted a press trip here in Nova Scotia," says Pam Wamback of Tourism Nova Scotia. "One of my other guests' luggage didn't arrive for serval days and Nathan was just beside himself on her behalf.
"On the third day in - still no luggage - Nathan decided he would make her a dress out of lobster bibs. He did such an amazing job and was so proud of his work that he modelled it around the Superstore parking lot himself in Windsor, NS!  

"Every time we met, we both pulled out this photo and laughed at the memory over and over and over.

"Like his design, he too was one of a kind!"
Donations made be made to the Dr. Peters Aids Foundation in Nathan's honour at

John Geary, TMAC Travels editor
Travel Media Association of Canada

In October 2019, Discover America Canada announced the winners of their prestigious award program which recognized Canadian travel media for outstanding consumer, travel trade, photographic and online digital story featuring the USA.  
The winner of the best consumer article was Josephine Matyas for her story, "The Drama of Yellowstone National Park" published in Canadian RVing magazine, Jan-Feb 2019 issue. Hats off to Jo for her award!

Dale Dunlop,
John Geary,
Helen Earley,  
Isabel MacDougall,
Rod Charles,
Paula Worthington, 
TMAC Travels is published bi-monthly. Publication of solicited and unsolicited articles is not guaranteed. Final content is decided by TMAC Travel's editorial board and the national board. Submissions should fit into one of the following categories:
Professional news about you: books published, awards won, new markets obtained, positions attained, requests for travel-related information (story-specific requests ONLY), contact/profile information updates/changes.

Social notices about you: weddings, babies, non-industry awards and so on (at the editor's discretion and with a 50-word limit; these must be things directly connected to the member).
NOT allowed: requests for comps (airfare, accommodation, tickets, etc.), assignment requests, promotion of stories already written.
Professional news about you/your company: announcement ONLY of new products, new clients, travel-related info requests, contact/profile updates/changes.
Social notices: as per media, above.

NOT allowed: press releases, promotion of anything beyond new products, new clients or awards.
The newsletter also seeks chapter news and info on press trips (short descriptions with dates, rough itineraries, requirements - e.g. assignment letter) as well as tips, news and updates submitted by members.