contentsNovember | December 2012 - Inside TMAC Travels
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bod2012 Board of Directors


Michele Sponagle (media)

Phone: 519-442-6605



Jantine Van Kregten (industry)

Director of Communications,

Ottawa Tourism

Phone: 800-363-4465 ext. 116


Joanne Blain (media)

Joanne Blain Creative Services Ltd.

Phone: 604-734-0584


Dale Dunlop (media)

Phone: 902-826-7713



Irene Knight (industry)

Manager of Public Relations, CN Tower

Phone: 416-601-4729



Glenn Cameron (industry)

PR Consultant, Clear Communications

Phone: 416-920-5817


Liz Campbell (media)

Phone: 416-207-9150


Grant Fraser (media)

Tee to Green Magazine

Phone: 905-844-7666


Dan Young (industry)

Public Relations Manager - CANADA, Starwood Hotels &

Resorts Worldwide Inc.

Phone: 416-947-4955 ext. 4458




Deb Smith (media)

D. Smith Ink Ltd.

Phone: 403-245-1239



Sandra Phinney (media)

Freelance Journalist, Researcher, Photographer

Phone: 902-648-0462



Jane Mundy (media) 

Phone: 604-251-4443



Jerry Grymek (industry)

Phone: 416-440-2500

New_MemberNew Members



Vanessa Lee



Jim Byers

Toronto Star



Peter Johansen





Annika Klint

Klint + Associates Inc.



Magalie Boutin

Ministère du Tourisme Québec

contributorsContributors to This Issue
  •  Dale Dunlop
  • Jan Feduck
  • Anne Marie Forcier
  • Jerry Grymek
  • Hélèna Katz
  • Susan Mate
  • Josephine Matyas
  • Sandra Phinney
  • Debra Smith
  • Michele Sponagle
  • Mark Stevens
  • Jantine Van Kregten

Thanks for your contribution!

Dear :

As I write this, we've just turned the clocks back one hour. My work-addled mind is thinking: Bonus. One extra hour to get this assignment finished and filed!


It seems that as fall and winter kick in, the travel and writing schedule becomes even more hectic. This can be stressful, but in essence is a very good thing. Please take a few minutes from your busy schedule to read this issue of TMAC Travels. There's discussion and information on a wide range of topics - from the ongoing struggle with ethics in our line of work, to tips on what makes a successful pitch catch the eye of an editor.


Happy reading and the best of the holiday season to all. 

- Josephine Matyas, TMAC Travels editor

President_ReportPresident's Report

At our most recent board meeting, the topic of ethics came into our discussions. The timing was interesting because I had been asked by a student to help with a project she was doing on ethics and travel writing. Judging from her questions, I sensed that she already had a bias - travel writers were right up there with Internet scammers in terms of their honesty and integrity. Ouch!


But then I've heard some stories lately about media members that made my very straight hair curl. Have a few TMAC's writers created feature-length stories about places they have never visited, but made it sound like they had? Did two members bail out of a press trip the day before because they got a better offer to a more glamorous destination? Did I hear about members approaching industry partners and ask for a fee to place editorial stories for them - a kind of pay-to-play scheme? Sadly, the answer is yes to all these questions.


And I'm still perplexed, and frankly, ticked off, when I heard that one-third of those who said they would attend an Ontario chapter Munch 'n Mingle in October never showed up or notified the host. What's the deal? Have we really sunk so low?


I'm embarrassed by incidents like this. TMAC is supposed to be an association of professionals who are at the top of their game. We need to raise the bar. Or else we will deserve our less-than-stellar reputation that seems to be out there.


I have heard, and I can bet so have you, that we have dream jobs. Yes and no. We know that it isn't all caviar and limousines. It's a tough slog some times and a press trip is not a vacation. That idiot Thomas Kohnstamm, the one that wrote the exposé of our industry in Do Travel Writers Go to Hell?, didn't do us any favours. His booze and drug-fueled romps through a myriad of countries paint travel writers as freebie-seeking leeches. His tales are sensational and not representative of the many fine writers I know, but Kohnstamm has done serious damage to the reputation of our profession.


You are your own public relations person. Every thing you do reflects back on you and your profession. We all need to make our choices carefully and consider their impact on a broader level.


I see a great deal of professionalism on the TMAC board. I'm not trying to get re-elected or anything. I mean it. Every board member and committee chair truly cares deeply about TMAC and strives to make it the best it can be. They make time during press trips to participate in our meetings, appointments shifted and sacrifices made. We also have great volunteers that keep the TMAC machine humming and moving forward.


It would be great if you would volunteer, too, or stand for election for a board position. But you can help out TMAC by doing something just as important: Demonstrate impeccable professionalism. It's the perfect remedy for the sometimes tarnished image that diminishes all of us.


- Michele Sponagle, TMAC national president


NMBNew Membership Benefits

One of our key initiatives is to give TMAC members with more value for their money. In the next couple of weeks, we'll be announcing some fantastic news about new benefits, including a health insurance program, discounts for Park 'n Fly, Priority Pass, and tickets to sporting events from Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, like Toronto Raptors NBA games. There will be more good things coming in the future, thanks to the efforts of Liz Campbell and her membership benefits team.


Finance_GovernanceFinance and Governance Report

The third quarter financials are in and things continue to remain steady if not spectacular. TMAC continues to weather the now almost five year economic downturn. The financials will be posted on the website by the time the newsletter is out. As usual, any queries can be directed to the treasurer.


Under governance, a transition team has been put in place to ensure that TMAC complies with the new Not-for-Profit Act, which effectively revokes the charter of all non-profits and makes them start from scratch. The bad news is that it will be time consuming and somewhat expensive. The good news is that our governance structure already complies with almost all the requirements of the act and will result in very little noticeable change to TMAC.


- Dale Dunlop, TMAC treasurer

CCRCommunications Committee Report

TMAC's website ( will undergo a long-awaited redesign in 2013. Identified as one of the TMAC board's strategic imperatives, a request for expressions of interest was posted in September. Eleven companies responded by the deadline. A shortlist is currently being created, with a view to selecting the successful proponent before the end of the year. Watch for new functionality, the incorporation of social media elements and a fresh new look in 2013!


- Jantine Van Kregten, communications committee co-chair


ConfCRConference Committee Report

Registration for the 2013 annual conference in Saskatoon opened on November 9. If you missed it, head on over to and register now! You'll see details on pre- and post-tours, conference programming and what the good folks in Saskatoon have planned for us in "a city on the edge."


If you're a media member, please note that you must register and pay by the early bird deadline (January 11, 2013) to be eligible for the travel grant program. And if you know a media friend who has never attended a conference before, we've introduced a first-timer's rate as an added inducement.


If you're an industry member, check out the enticing sponsorship opportunities! Or take the plunge and submit an RFP to host the 2015 conference - the RFP just went out (and is also available on TMAC's website). The deadline to submit is Friday, December 7, 2012.


- Jantine Van Kregten, conference committee co-chair 


bc_chapterChapter News

BRITISH COLUMBIANo news to report.


- Jane Mundy, B.C. chapter chair

ab_chapterALBERTAWe had a great turnout at Bookers BBQ Grill & Crab Shack on Oct. 16th, thanks to the wicked organizing skills of Hala Dehais of Tourism Calgary and our hosts at Bookers, operations manager Chad Salyn and Kara Claypool, the new COO and CFO of Vintage Restaurant Group.


About 20 people - members, invited guests and possible future TMAC members - caught up with chapter news over yummy pulled pork sliders and Jim Beam lemonades. Our next M&M and pre-Christmas event is slated for Nov. 27 at the Calgary Zoo. Thanks to industry member Trish Exton-Parder for offering to host us for the annual Zoolites festival.


We're seeing some changes in our chapter - TMAC members such as Lisa Monforton has left the Calgary Herald's travel section to freelance. Chapter board member Seema Dhawan has landed a job with the Huffington Post as assistant editor, but will continue to be on our board.


We're also continuing to look for a chapter co-chair as industry member Jessica Harcombe-Fleming has stepped down due to her demanding work at Travel Alberta. (Susan Mate has offered to stay on as interim provincial chair until a replacement can be found.) Susan has also agreed to mentor our first SFU intern for three weeks. Fatimah Yasin is compiling a comprehensive list of publications and editors that accept paid freelance travel content as well as circulation figures - this will make life much easier for media members as they requalify. And a hearty thanks to Banff & Lake Louise Tourism's Mary Morrison for volunteering to fill a needed industry role on TMAC's national volunteer committee.


On a final note, kudos to winners of the Oct. 22 Travel Alberta ALTO awards - including TMAC members from Tourism Edmonton (Ice on Whyte Festival, Alberta Pride); the Calgary Stampede (Marketing Excellence over $25,000); Tourism Calgary (Marketing Partnerships) and Banff/Lake Louise Tourism/Town of Banff (Tourism Community of the Year). Several other TMAC Alberta members were honoured as finalists, for the complete list see


- Debra Smith, Alberta chapter co-chair

on_chapterONTARIOFirst, the Ontario chapter would like to thank the Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority for hosting a very successful Munch & Mingle on Oct. 23rd. Everyone in attendance enjoyed the location, food and take-aways!


Looking ahead, we have an opening hosting the upcoming November 2012 Munch & Mingle event. If you or someone you know are interested in hosting a Munch & Mingle to promote your destination or attraction, please email as soon as possible.


We are planning our popular Holiday Member Party, tentatively scheduled for Dec. 11th. The exact date and location will be confirmed and emailed to Ontario members within the coming weeks. If you or anyone you know is able to donate a gift, whether it's a book that you recently published or something you are itching to re-gift, let us know. You can email requests to


We hope to have an update on the November and December Munch & Mingles shortly and look forward to seeing you then.


Finally, as Canada's premier travel media association, we strive to follow a code of conduct. For any member looking to review this in detail, see


Jerry Grymek, Ontario chapter chair

atlantic_chapterATLANTICThe Atlantic chapter is rolling out the welcome mat for new member Cathy Donaldson, a features and travel writer from Moncton, N.B. We look forward to meeting Cathy at our next chapter meeting in February. Plans are underway to combine our meeting with a mini two-day press trip featuring Savour Nova Scotia in partnership with the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia. Industry members Nova Scotia Tourism and Destination Halifax are working behind the scenes to make this happen.


- Sandra Phinney, Atlantic chapter chair

Member_NewsMember News

Regional Tourism Organization 7 in Ontario (known as RTO7) has implemented a new industry driven, web-based feature called RTO7 Connection showcasing information and updates of interest to the BruceGreySimcoe tourism industry and media. To read more, visit RTO7 Connection. The group is also launching new BruceGreySimcoe tourism industry Facebook and Twitter pages, plus an RSS feed. It's a great way for TMAC members to subscribe, stay in touch and receive updates to RTO7 Connection. Don't forget that the RTO7 Stakeholder Site remains at the disposal of all BruceGreySimcoe tourism stakeholders and media as a resource for free imagery and a wealth of research. Registration is free and easy - just visit the site and click the "Register Now" link.


Lola Augustine Brown has accepted a full-time position as managing editor of a new Chicago based travel website launching in Feb. 2013. Named Travel Mindset, the site will showcase professional travel narratives from the world over, and have a strong user participation component. Lola invites TMAC members to check it out on Facebook,


Bruce Bishop Communications Ltd. in Yarmouth, N.S. was looking for a unique way to draw traffic to its website ( So, TMAC media member Bruce revived a tribute song to his hometown that was written in 1961. The music video followed, and thanks to YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn, Bishop had about 2,000 unique visitors to his website within two days of posting the video. (Bruce Bishop Communications Ltd. plans to join TMAC as an industry member once his media membership expires at the end of this year.)


NBMSchedule of 2013 National Board Meetings

Want to know when the national board gets together? Here's what's planned for the first half of 2013:

  • January 29 - Post-holiday catch-up meeting
  • February 26
  • March 26
  • April 30
  • May 28 - pre-conference meeting
  • June 12-15 - TMAC Conference & AGM in Saskatoon
  • June 16 - post-AGM in-person meeting / Strategic Planning Meeting
MindsInquisitive Minds Want To Know

by Jan Feduck


Send us a burning question to do with the business of travel journalism and we'll source out perspectives from a few experts who've "been there." Each issue of TMAC Travels will feature three or four questions with witty, brilliant, interesting and insightful answers from our members.


Send your questions to our new Q&A editor, media member Jan Feduck, 


Q: Please share one element that has made your pitches most successful with editors.


Want to see the answers? Please click here to read the article.

 Back to Table of Contents 

AAUnsung Heroes: Sandra Phinney

by  Mark Stevens


First impressions are everything.


Six or seven years ago I was sharing a table with Sandra Phinney at a luncheon at my first AGM. Somehow we got into a discussion about grammar that expanded into a fascinating round table about the craft of writing.


We both promised to follow up by email. Sandra did.


Please click here to read the article.


Voyager Vert! (Green Travel)


Par Anne Marie Forcier


Un nombre croissant de consommateurs cherche à se procurer des produits écologiques lorsqu'ils font leurs achats. Toutefois, trouver des options écologiques nécessite un peu de recherche. Pour plusieurs entreprises établies le long du canal Rideau, les pratiques durables sont devenues une seconde nature, au point même où elles oublient d'en faire la promotion.


Please click here to read the article.

TMAC Travels - Newsletter Submission Guidelines
TMAC Travels is published bimonthly. 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. Items must be sent, with "TMAC TRAVELS" in the subject line, to Josephine Matyas at Items may be edited for length, grammar or clarity. The newsletter will be delivered to members by email by the middle of the month. Material should be sent by the 1st of each month unless the editor gives prior approval.

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