This is the first advocacy report I’ve written since returning from my first family holiday since 2020. This holiday was extra special for my family, as we welcomed my parents from the UK to meet their grandchild for the first time due to the pandemic. With my wife's parents also visiting, I managed to spend several weeks touring Ontario, getting to meet TIAO members face to face in the Niagara region, Blue Mountain, Georgian Bay and many places in between. Apart from a wonderful family holiday, it was also the first time I was able to meet TIAO members enjoying a successful summer period and hear from them about what was still holding them back from being able to maximize their recovery, listen to their concerns for the future and see the challenges of debt and the labour crisis firsthand. It is these conversations that invigorate our team in our advocacy efforts.
Although we have never forgotten how incredible the tourism offer in Ontario is, I couldn’t help feeling incredibly proud of our industry and those that work within it. Despite the enormous personal and professional challenges of the worst parts of the pandemic, you’ve ensured that Ontarians and our international visitors have incredible memories to take home with them. But of course, whilst there is much to be encouraged by from our summer period, it’s critically important that we don’t let up on our efforts to remove those final obstacles to our recovery that could, if left unchecked, seriously undermine it.
Removing vaccine mandates, tackling debt and the economic legacies of the pandemic and answering our labour crisis remain critical challenges for the future of the tourism industry. At the recent AMO conference, we sat down with 17 provincial government ministries to detail these challenges and how the government can work with the sector to solve them. You can read our briefs for that conference and the issues we were speaking about by clicking here and see our Federal Growth Strategy submission by clicking here .
On September 20th, TIAO is hosting a Forward Motion session entitled ‘Recruiting and Retaining Talent’ with Lisa Kelly, Program Manager on the Discover Ability Network, Ontario Chamber of Commerce. You can sign up for this complimentary session by clicking here.
Finally, it would be remiss of me not to mention that tickets are selling fast for the Ontario Tourism Summit in Deerhurst next month and we’re thrilled at the enthusiasm for the event. As one of the lucky few to have seen the list of confirmed speakers and the content, it won’t surprise you to know that our Vice-President, Carol Greenwood, and events specialist, Landon Logie, have curated another outstanding couple of days. So, if you’ve not got around to buying your tickets, please visit our website to get yours!
As ever, if you have any questions or would like to raise an issue with the TIAO team, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
Stay safe and I look forward to seeing you all again soon.