CTC CEO and chair lead the way for Canadian tourism bigwigs in St. Louis, MO, at top American event for association community.
Summer season for many people means hit the beach. For the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC), it means hit the road. Michele McKenzie, CTC president and CEO, and Steve Allan, CTC chair, led the way for 10 Canadian convention-centre and provincial tourism marketing organization chiefs to the ASAE Annual Meeting & Exposition in St. Louis, MO, Aug. 6-9.
It was the second meetings, conventions & incentive travel (MC&IT) trade mission this year after the highly productive trip to Europe this past spring for IMEX in Frankfurt, Germany. ASAE is the largest convention tradeshow in the US for the association community, pulling in both American and global association execs alongside meeting planners and industry suppliers. CTC is the longest-standing and largest strategic partner of ASAE.
This year’s iteration did not disappoint. More than 5,300 attendees, including 1,715 exhibitors (with a ratio of 61% buyers to 39% sellers) were testament to the MC&IT industry on the rebound. Modest cough: CTC also picked up the “Best in Show” award for its island booth, with kudos for its aesthetics as well as the work of the CTC’s 75 partners and staff (Danielle Foisy, Melanie Kuranda and Heather Phelps) on the floor. Champagne and cupcakes to toast Canada each day also gave it a welcoming feel.
The trade mission gave the 10 senior Canadian industry leaders a solid overview of the US MC&IT marketplace, CTC’s long-term strategies and other global market opportunities. Greg Klassen, CTC senior vice-president Marketing, Strategy and Communications, and Michele Saran, CTC executive director, MC&IT, also joined McKenzie and Allan in St. Louis. The four led the presentations and focus groups during the three days.
As part of the mission, CTC set the tone with a private VIP pre-opening reception at the Hyatt Regency for 50 association executives along with sales-mission colleagues. CTC also hosted 100 healthcare association VIPs at a private reception at the Renaissance St. Louis Grand Hotel to reinforce Canada’s desire to play a significant role in this lucrative market. And there was also a special “Canada Vision Dinner” for select US association execs. John Graham, ASAE president and CEO, was a special guest as well as acclaimed Edmonton, AB, singer Ann Vriend, who performed a song she wrote just for CTC.