Series of events for meetings, conventions and incentive-travel planners mixes education with eye-openers.
Backstage passes, a sneak peek, behind the scenes: everyone likes to go behind the curtain at great events to see how the magic is done. The Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) has tapped into that curiosity for the meetings, conventions and incentive travel (MC&IT) industry with a series of educational and entertaining events around Canada.
The latest took place in Vancouver, BC, where the program first began last year during the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. This time, Paul Griggs, Events on the Move vice-president of Business Development, took care of professional development. He presented an insider’s look at bringing goods to Canada for events, reminding the attending meetings and conventions buyers how easy it is to do so and that Canada was rare in having a government department solely dedicated to smoothing the path for their industry. The bonus? A trip to the state-of-the-art Vancouver Convention Centre and food from an award-winning chef’s table.
The 2011 series started in Niagara, ON, where an educational exchange on booking patterns and channels was capped by two winery tours and the chance for attendees to learn the art of the blend by blending their own wines and labelling them to take home.
The Hôtel de Glace took centre stage for the event in Québec City, QC. Attendees met the hotel’s founder Jacques Desbois, who gave a tour, including a visit to the chefs in the kitchens for a bite to eat, and explained how the hotel is constructed from scratch each year. A VIP tour of floats for the Carnaval de Québec was also squeezed in (lucky people!). Pete Hanley, PlanNet president and COO (who looks after the CTC-sponsored The Breakout Room), took care of pro development, examining the challenges of being a third-party planner for major events.
Education took on a broad reach for delegates in Ottawa, ON. On the agenda: innovation as a tool to compete in a global economy. John Potterton led the panel discussion before everyone headed to look behind the scenes at the new Ottawa Convention Centre, which opened this month.
“We have definitely made an impact with these events, as people now associate Canada with distinctive experiential professional development,” says Michele Saran, CTC executive director, MC&IT. “It has also given us the opportunity to showcase the hidden Canadian gems that continue to provide wonderful experiences for attendees when they meet in this country.”