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January/February 2017
It's that time of year when we start thinking about the annual Travel Media Association of Canada conference.
This year's conference is taking place in beautiful and historic Quebec City. By this point, the early-bird deadline to register for the conference is past; however, there is still plenty of time to sign up, select which tours you'd like to participate in and sign up for the professional development sessions the PD committee is working hard on putting together.
Further details about the conference can be found in the newsletter.
We have the usual news and profiles for our members, as well. Enjoy!

- John Geary, TMAC Travels editor

I hope everyone is surviving the winter that has now finally landed on our doorstep and this time is likely to stay.

In my last report, I promised to share some of the initiatives that were presented and discussed during our Strategic Planning Workshop. It is our Board's goal to make a presentation at this year's AGM as well as invite you to one of five or six breakout sessions to help us all focus on some key initiatives. In the meantime, here are some recommendations that resulted from our discussions, all of which are now underway.
  • REFRESH our Vision and Mission statements to address the evolving digital stage and the growing online influencer community
  • REVIEW our membership criteria to ensure that it addresses all media
  • ASSEMBLE a Membership Marketing Task Force to ensure our membership remains strong and represents all media and industry professionals
  • ENSURE that every National Committee is properly resourced (including a succession plan), with defined roles and deliverables. A member of the National Board will be appointed to act as the liaison between Committee Chairs and the Board.
  • RESEARCH and DEVELOP ongoing PD sessions throughout the year delivered through webinars, You Tube videos, etc. to ensure access to all members
Renewals and re-qualifications are still underway but many of you have still not followed through. We encourage everyone to renew before the end of February to take advantage of the funding available to support your local chapter. Funding will be based on the number of members who have renewed and paid by February 28.

Conference registrations have surpassed all records as at the early bird date. Total paid registrants were confirmed at 158 at last count.

We have short-listed our vendors of choice for the website and are now doing the final assessments to determine best fit, etc. In order to ensure that the new and improved website is done in a timely fashion and truly addresses the needs of our members, I encourage some of you to join me on the Communications Committee to be part of this initiative. We need your help. It requires more TMAC resources than we currently have. Many hands make light work.
As a result of the ongoing challenges we have had with the website, we are now looking at an alternate way to update the online directory to ensure our members have access to the latest information. More details to follow shortly. And yes, there will be a printed version available...on demand.

As many of you know, our Editor's List has not been updated recently. We are currently creating an editable version of the existing list as well as establishing a vehicle for TMAC members to share intel and updates. We are also sourcing other lists to incorporate into our Editor's List using the most current data. In order to make this a reality, we need volunteers to fact check and update what we have and provide some on-going support in keeping it current.
As you can see, this is going to be a very busy year for TMAC. We need your help. It requires more TMAC resources than we currently have to get things done in a timely way. Many hands make light work.

Hopefully, some of you will find the time to raise your hand and help.

Positive, pro-active and productive!

- Elizabeth Kerr, TMAC president

The National BOD asked for your insight on where you find the most value in your TMAC membership, and where you want the organization to focus going forward - and you responded!  The results were presented at a BOD Strategic Planning Workshop, with one of the main objectives identified as creating a strategic plan for membership growth that meets the demand of its industry and media members.  The ability to evolve and attract new members it vital to TMAC's success, and we need your help to move forward.  Holly Lenk, Director, TMAC National Board, is compiling a Membership Marketing Task Force to create recommendations for a strategy on reaching, converting, and retaining members.  We are looking for your experience and wisdom to create a robust strategy that will lead TMAC going forward. Please contact Holly to indicate your interest. 

 - Holly Lenk , Director, TMAC National Board

This year's conference runs from Wednesday, May 24, 2017 to Saturday, May 27, 2017.
If you're a member in good standing, you should have received notification about the conference by now, via email. All the links for registering, signing up for pre-and post-tours as well as day tours and PD sessions will be in that email, along with instructions as to how to book accommodation for the conference. There are limited numbers of rooms put aside with special conference rates, so you should probably book sooner rather than later.
As we prepare for the conference, we would like to remind our industry partners that there are several exciting sponsorship opportunities available. There is no better opportunity to be visible for more than 200 of our media and industry members from across North America.  From conference breaks to awards to the guidebook app, there is something for every budget.
For further information, please contact the sponsorship committee at

As for awards...
Notification and details as to the how-what-where-when-who about this year's TMAC awards will be sent out via email in March.

- John GearyTMAC Travels editor

Lucy Izon
Have you found during your travels a hidden gem, a unique corner or a special place in Canada that ew people know about?  Most of us have, and now there is a plan to share these wonderful spots with Canadians from coast to coast, as well as visitors to our provinces and territories. Some friends and colleagues of long-time TMAC member Lucy Izon (who sadly passed away in 2014) have come together to propose that TMAC update and re-launch her ' Canada Cool ' map as a sesquicentennial project.  The map is a wonderful vehicle for sharing our favourite spots and expertise with the rest of the world while making a worthy contribution to this year's celebrations.
So what would be considered as a Canada Cool item for the map? It could be a unique, one-of-a-kind event or experience, a fun sleepover, animal encounters, a national park with a special feature, an annual event or activity, a local or provincial park with a cool connection or history, or even strange oddities that belong in Ripley's Believe It or Not! Visit the existing Canada Cool map to get an idea of what spots are already on the map, and parts of Canada where more could be added.
So please put on your thinking caps, and help TMAC add dozens of unique and cool items to our forthcoming map. Consider what Canada Cool means to you, and send your ideas before April 15th.  Mark the subject as "TMAC 150 Canada Cool."
Thank you for your interest and enthusiasm to celebrate the Canada that we -- as travel writers or travel professionals -- know and love. We look forward to hearing your thoughts and proposals!
In the meantime, if you have any ideas for the map itself, to make it more visually appealing and easy to navigate, or would like to comment or even volunteer to help with this project, please contact our TMAC Canada 150 Canada Cool Committee via

Thanks for your interest!
A Double Happy New Year! 
Ontario's first "Munch-and-Mingle" (M&M) of the year took place on January 24 at the Pearl King restaurant on King Street West. Steve Gillick welcomed members by wishing them both a Happy 2017 as well as a Happy Year of the Rooster, which was an appropriate greeting as the Hong Kong Tourism Bureau was the evening's sponsor.
Steve reminded members of the e-blast the chapter sent to all media and industry members in December regarding the need for an industry co-chair for the board, as well as for various board positions including a membership co-chair, secretary and treasurer.

Micheal Lim, director of Hong Kong Tourism for Canada, Central & South America
The current board composition is Steve Gillick (chair and acting treasurer), Kimberly Hartley (membership chair), Jerry Grymek (M&M coordinator), Ron Brown (Cash for Clips coordinator), Jacqueline Swartz (professional development chair), Anne Marshall and Igor Kravtchenko.
Steve noted that Ontario will once again collect used USB drives this year to donate to the Iqaluit Board of Education. So far more than 400 have been collected.  More than half of that comes courtesy of Ally Carlson of Development Counsellors International, who coordinated a donation of 300 from Visit California and their state partners.
Kimberly Hartley, membership chair, announced that the Ontario chapter currently has 85 industry members and 85 media members -an even balance between professions. She noted that one of the Ontario board's goals is to grow membership this year and therefore the chapter is offering another annual Visa cash card incentive of $200 for a membership referral draw. Every time an Ontario member refers a new Ontario member, the referring person's name will go into a draw to take place in December, 2017. The more referrals there are, the more draw entries there will be.
Ron Brown, the Cash for Clips coordinator, explained that when an Ontario member has an article published about any of the M & M hosts or sponsors, their name is entered into a draw for a $100.00 prize. The current deadline for submissions for 2015 and 2016 M&M-related articles is June 30, 2017.
Steve then introduced the sponsor-presenter for the evening, Michael Lim, director for Canada and Central and South America, Hong Kong Tourism Board. He delivered a very exciting presentation on "Best of All, it's in Hong Kong", in which he covered the themes of Tasting the Town, Journeys of Discovery, Hipster Stuff and Family Time. Afterward, Michael and Karisa Lui, the assistant manager at the HKTB, drew the names of three media and three industry members for prizes.
Afterward everyone enjoyed the delicious food. All in all, it was a great evening of information and networking. We even received a beautiful calendar and some New Year (Year of the Rooster) treats to take home.

- Steve Gillick, Ontario chapter co-chair (industry)

The B.C. chapter is in full swing, preparing for the annual spring professional development session. We're aiming to find a date that doesn't conflict with spring break, Canada Media Marketplace, or other events - so stay tuned and watch your email for a save the date!

Last time TMAC BC met on a yacht - where will they meet in March?
We're also planning a fantastic event for late June.
While details are still being firmed up, I can tease out that it will be in Victoria.
Cheers to 2017!
- Brian Cant, British Columbia chapter chair


It's been pretty quiet on the eastern front of Canada as far as chapter news, although media members are busily travelling, writing stories, taking photographs and sending queries out, while industry members are pulling their new season of media trips together, scouring their respective provinces for new products, services and experiences.
During the month of February, we will consult about our PD needs and start planning for a major PD session in March or April.

- Sandra Phinney, Atlantic chapter chair
The Alberta chapter kicked off 2017 with a M&M at a Calgary steakhouse, Modern Steak. Thirteen TMAC Alberta media and industry members along with some invited guests attended the event hosted by Modern Steak and Parker Media.
Building off this success, another M&M will be planned for later in the spring, with details to come later. The board has been busy planning our annual PD weekend, which will take place at the Jasper Park Lodge April 20-22. Workshops and speakers are TBA. 
- Andrea Visscher ,
MEMBER NEWS membernews


There were no media or industry member news items submitted since the last newsletter in December.
G ot some member news - media or industry - you want to share? Check the submission guidelines at the end of the newsletter, then email John Geary,
You can also share it in the national group's Facebook group page, "TMAC - Travel Media Association of Canada, National - members only"

INDUSTRY:  Julie Tremblay, Groupe Germain Hôtels
TMAC welcomes Julie Tremblay, national public relations manager with Groupe Germain Hôtels .
Julie joined the team at this Canadian hotel chain two years ago. She says she had an exciting start to the new job.
Julie Tremblay
"On my second day into my new role, I was sent to Winnipeg to coordinate the launch of the new Alt Hotel."
Previously, she worked her public relations magic in the cosmetics industry for seven years. 
Of Group Germain Hôtels, Julie says, "It's the Canadian family company behind Le Germain and Alt Hotels across Canada. The Group is renowned for the warmth, service and style that characterize its hotels.
"We currently have 13 properties in five provinces, and our aim is to offer our guests a network of 20 properties from coast to coast by 2020. At the moment, five additional hotels are under construction in St. John's, Brossard, Ottawa, Saskatoon and Calgary."
By joining the association, Julie says, "I hope TMAC will enable me to connect with travel writers to exchange story ideas and have them experience our brand of hospitality."
A traveller herself, Julie recently visited Kauai Island in Hawaii.
She says, "I fell in love with its untamed nature and the aloha spirit that is carried through the local lifestyle."
TMAC welcomes Julie Tremblay and wishes her all the best in making connections and taking advantage of TMAC's own hospitality.  

- Darcy Rhyno,



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. (For information on distributing electronic press releases to all media members for a fee of $75, please contact TO Corp at
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.