CTC News

Steve Allan and Michele McKenzie lead senior trade mission at IMEX.

CTC chair and president steer course for Canadian big hitters at mega Frankfurt meetings, conventions and incentive-travel trade show.

02 June 2011
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For Canadian VIPs, read MC&IT. Steve Allan, Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) chair, and Michele McKenzie, CTC president and CEO, led 10 Canadian visitor-bureau and convention-centre presidents on a trade mission to Frankfurt, Germany, in May. The mission was timed to tie in with this year’s iteration of IMEX, the giant global meetings, conventions and incentive travel (MC&IT) trade show.

This heavyweight Canadian presence underlined CTC’s commitment to the MC&IT market in Europe. The mission started in earnest a day before IMEX, with presentations by CTC staff and partners on national partnerships and international business strategy. A focus group of international buyers then examined the perception of Canada around the world. There was a pause for breath … then the CTC hosted a lunch for international media folk, where McKenzie spoke on the positive impact of the 2010 Winter Games for Canadian tourism.

More than 3,500 exhibitors from 150 countries packed the hall at Messe Frankfurt for IMEX 2011. Attendees found Canadian inspiration easy to come by: CTC covered both entrance gates with fresh Canadian MC&IT images, steering attendees to the Canada stand, and sponsored the show’s floor map. Sixteen Canadian partners teamed up with the CTC and the mission at the stand, drawn from destinations, hotels and visitor bureaus.

CTC hosted a celebration of our international partners, clients and media as part of the mission. The 2011 Global “Vision” Awards dinner at Höchster Schloss  gave kudos to the organization that executed an exceptional program to Canada, the industry publication that best profiled Canada as a world-class destination and the industry partner that collaborated with CTC most successfully in 2010 to expand our presence on the global stage.

“Our senior sales mission encapsulated how we are continually striving for excellence in our MC&IT partnerships,” says McKenzie. “It brought into focus how we, and our partners, see Canada on the global stage and how we bring even more major meetings and events to Canada in the future.”

CTC picked up the IMEX Green Meetings award for our 2010 Canada Media Marketplace in San Francisco, CA. This designation salutes environmental awareness among meeting organizers, highlighting how business tourism events can be staged in “green-minded” venues, backed by an agenda where sustainability issues have been given full consideration.

Our initiatives in 2010 caught the judges’ eyes, including printing all materials on 20% post-consumer recycled content paper (which has saved 19 trees, 3,123 gallons of water and 97.5 kg (215 pounds) of solid waste in the past three years), recycling all paper, plastic, glass and metal and providing 60% of menu items from within 160 km (100 mi) of San Francisco.

One last sparkler: CTC had its first MC&IT event in Paris earlier in May, steered by Audrey De Baghy, our new in-market sales rep there. More than 50 Parisian corporate incentive-travel clients and buyers, including professional conference peeps, joined 11 Canadian partners at Le Royal Monceau hotel. The theme of the networking was hidden gems (Canadian, of course), with the most successful mingler taking home a three-quarter carat Canadian polar bear diamond.

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