contentsJanuary | February 2013 -

Inside TMAC Travels
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bod2012-13 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



Lisa Greig

Bruce County Tourism



Tamara Stefek

Metropolitan Hotels



William (Bill) Motley-Bailey

The RMR Group Inc.


contributorsContributors to This Issue
  •  Jan Feduck
  • Jerry Grymek
  • Josephine Matyas
  • Jan Napier
  • Sandra Phinney
  • Debra Smith
  • Michele Sponagle
  • Mark Stevens
  • Jantine Van Kregten 

Thanks for your contribution!

Dear :

Whoosh! That was the sound of 2012 as it flew by. Hard to believe that the year zipped by so quickly.


Whether or not you are one to make New Year's resolutions, or whether you just fly by the seat of your pants, here's hoping that 2013 will be filled with energizing travel, interesting assignments, positive work relationships and the support of friends in this wonderful business we have the pleasure of working in.

- Josephine Matyas, TMAC Travels editor

President_ReportPresident's Report

If you're not on the TMAC listserv, you've missed some lively discussions of late. Most have focused on the question of honouring TMAC founders, lifetime memberships and the establishment of a senior category. These exchanges are healthy, even if you might not agree with what is being said. TMAC thrives when its membership are engaged participants, so a sincere thank you to all who posted and emailed their opinions on these issues. At future board meetings, they will be discussed.


Based on the 2010 survey TMAC conducted, it's clear that the membership is split. Some feel strongly that senior members should be welcomed whether they are active producers of travel content or not, in recognition of their contributions over the years. Some are vehement that TMAC is a professional association, not a social club, and only those who meet our membership criteria should be eligible.


I'm not going to sit on the fence here. I do not support the establishment of a senior category or lifetime memberships. I believe that industry members are not interested in putting resources toward non-producers. Why would they? Their priority is to network with journalists who can place stories in media outlets on the business/destination they represent.


And just to be clear, industry members are the ones that take on a bigger financial burden than media ones. For their money, they expect results. And, I've been told by some, that they would leave TMAC if we allowed non-producers into our ranks. TMAC would not survive without industry members. Let's be realistic about that.


As a media member myself, this makes sense to me. TMAC is focused on meeting the needs of travel professionals. When the day comes that I am no longer creating travel content, I won't qualify for membership. This is something I accept as a means of ensuring the organization stays strong and current. Media is always changing and I don't suspect that my experiences as an editor in 2007 will be relevant 15 years from now. Even down the road when I'm an ex-president, I don't expect for a minute that I will be entitled to automatic membership.


I have to wonder, if someone is no longer producing travel content, why he or she would want to belong to an association comprised of travel professionals. If it's just to socialize, that is not a good enough reason. Why would someone want to go to the conference or go on pre- or post-trips? The bigger question is why we as an association would have a non-producer take a spot that could be given to a producing member? Our resources - financial and human - are finite.


At some point, every one will depart TMAC, hopefully with more knowledge, new friends and a slew of great experiences for having participated. I'm not going to take it personally, feel discarded or disrespected. I'll make a graceful exit and say, "Thanks for the memories."


The decision about whether to establish a senior category or grant lifetime memberships is not up to me. It's up to all TMAC board members. If a change of bylaws is required, then it's put to a general vote at the AGM. You can voice your opinion on issues through your chapter chair (if you have one) who votes on matters at board meetings, or through any member of the board.


If you have an idea, you can ask for it to be placed on the agenda for discussion by the board. Or you can become a board member by standing for election at the AGM, or volunteer for a committee. The listserv isn't the most effective place to voice your opinion and effect change. About one-third of members, including board members, aren't on the listserv, so keep that in mind, because your thoughts about TMAC and its future do matter. It's what keeps us strong and on track to meet our goals as an association. 


- Michele Sponagle, TMAC national president


Finance_GovernanceFinance and Governance Report

Year-end reports are not yet ready. No news for this issue, but there will be an update in a future issue.


- Dale Dunlop, TMAC treasurer

ConfCRConference Committee Report

Registration for the 2013 annual conference in Saskatoon continues... Early bird rates were in effect until January 11, 2013-and media members needed to register and pay by that date in order to be eligible for the travel grant program. In addition, a special rate is offered for those attending their first-ever TMAC conference.


Visit to check out the pre- and post-tours and full conference programming in the "city on the edge." Media members have until Feb. 15 to register for a pre- and/or post-tour. Confirmations will be sent out by March 4. Please wait to book your travel until you get confirmation of your tour(s). While this may seem later than in other years, this still leaves more over three months before conference (June 12-15) - plenty of time to make your travel arrangements.


Industry members should also register early to take advantage of preferential rates. You can also take a peek at the conference sponsorship opportunities to spread your message efficiently and effectively!


- Jantine Van Kregten, conference committee co-chair


NMB2012 TMAC Awards

Enter for your chance to win $1,000 prize money in the 2012 TMAC Awards! You still have time to enter this year's TMAC Awards, but you'd better hurry. The Jan. 31 deadline is fast approaching.


Each winner receives a TMAC certificate and a cheque for $1,000, plus is eligible for travel assistance to the 2014 TMAC Conference & AGM with a value of up to $500.


This year, for the first time, a honourable mention certificate will also be awarded for all categories. As always, you may enter as many stories or photographs in as many categories as you like. Please note that, while your first three (3) entries are still complimentary, there will be a $10 fee for every subsequent entry to cover administration costs. Please see the entry form for a full list of available awards, rules and criteria.


The awards will be presented at the closing gala of the TMAC Conference & AGM in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, on Sat. June 15, 2013. It's the grandest bash of the year for our members. Be there!


Ready to get started? Head over to and submit your entry before the Jan. 31 deadline!


Knock, knock! That's opportunity knocking. There are still award categories available to industry sponsors.


Industry Members,


Excellence in travel writing and photography deserves to be recognized and celebrated. You can help get the word out that quality matters by sponsoring a TMAC Award. There are still some categories that are open to sponsors, so here's your chance to share the spotlight with a winner.


You'll be rewarded by having access to the podium as an award's presenter at the closing gala (June 15th) for the 2013 TMAC AGM/Conference in Saskatoon. Exposure beyond the podium includes having your organization's name and logo in the awards booklet, membership handbook, annual Report, and on You'll also have a chance for additional media exposure through the press release issued after the awards are handed out.


You will receive some of the best visibility at the conference and show that your support for excellence in travel content.


Open categories available for the 2012 TMAC Awards include:

  • Best Cultural/Historical Feature
  • Best Environment/Responsible Tourism Feature
  • Best Family Feature
  • Best Food/Drink Feature
  • Best Service Feature
  • Best Evocation of a Place Photo
  • Best People Photo

For more information, please contact Kyra Savolainen at or at 416-934-0599 ext. 313.


We thank the following TMAC Industry Members that have already confirmed their support as 2012 TMAC Award sponsors:



bc_chapterChapter News

BRITISH COLUMBIANo news to report.


- Jane Mundy, B.C. chapter chair

ab_chapterALBERTAAn early winter cold snap just made it all the more cosy inside at TMAC's Nov. 27 Munch & Mingle hosted by the Calgary Zoo and industry member Trish Exton-Parder.  Twenty toasty TMAC'ers enjoyed tasty appetizers and cheery red crantinis while the colourful displays of Zoolights 2012 twinkled just outside the glass walls of the conservatory. Several of our intrepid photographers braved the cold to capture some stunning photos in the clear dark night and, as an early holiday gift, Trish provided passes so that members could return with their families. Many thanks to Trish and to Hala Dehais, our impeccable M&M organizer, for a fabulous festive event.


Our Alberta board member roster continues to grow with Megan Kopp, media member, joining us as PD organizer. Our social media expert, Seema Dhawan, will be sending out a survey to our members to determine our next PD location scheduled for spring 2013, now that the world has not ended. Susan Mate has been on the trail of new members and diligently reminded the rest of us to return our renewal information before the deadline.


Thanks to Deb Cummings for contacting Suzanne Trudel of AMPA, Alberta Magazine Publishers Association. Through their efforts, Alberta TMAC members will be able to attend the AMPA conference on March 14, 2013 at the Carriage House Inn in Calgary at the AMPA members' rate. Registration opens Jan. 22. Check their website at for  more information. Thank you AMPA!


All the best to our fellow TMAC members across Canada in 2013.


- Debra Smith, Alberta chapter co-chair

on_chapterONTARIOFirst, I'd like to wish all of the members a Happy New Year!


Secondly, the Ontario board would like to thank all the members who attended our December Holiday M&M Party, hosted by the board. The support and gift donations given by our members helped to get the holiday season off to a great start. We have to thank the King Edward Hotel, Tourism London and the Myrtle Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau for sponsoring the event.


Looking ahead, we have already booked a number of exciting M&M events for the year, with only March, April and June left. If you or someone you know is interested in hosting a Munch & Mingle to promote your destination or attraction, please email as soon as possible. We also hope to also book another unique PD Session for interested members.


We look forward to seeing you all back at the King Edward on Jan. 29 from 5 to 7 p.m. when SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment and some of its furry animal ambassadors will host what is sure to be a fun M&M to start the year.


Jerry Grymek, Ontario chapter chair

atlantic_chapterATLANTIC We anticipate a great turnout of both media and industry for our chapter meeting in Halifax Feb. 28/ March 1. This is a joint partnership with Destination Halifax and the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia. The purpose of this gathering is two-fold. First, media and industry will have a chance to explore issues in the travel industry and do some serious networking as we expect members from all four provinces to attend. Second, the focus of the activities will center on the annual Savour Food & Wine Festival. We are aiming to get two to three dozen stories "out there" for our industry partners and to forge long-term partnerships.


Aside from this major chapter event, we are planning smaller, bi-monthly PD sessions in Halifax. They will be an hour's duration followed by having dinner together. We are also planning an open house for journalists (and interested writers) later this spring, to discuss travel writing and the benefits of joining TMAC.

- Sandra Phinney, Atlantic chapter chair

ProfileImportant TMAC Profile Maintenance - 2013 Membership Handbook

This is an official reminder to all TMAC members that they must update their profiles on by March 29, 2013 in order to ensure that their listing in the 2013 Handbook is accurate. After that date, changes to listings will only be considered on a case-by-case basis. Please note that any changes made to your profile on are not automatically reflected elsewhere.


Handbook profiles are pulled from the database only.


Member_NewsMember News

Martha Chapman of Tourism Marketing International in Toronto is proud to report that she has been named to the Avalon Waterways North American Advisory Board. In that role, she will be consulting with Avalon's management team and providing the company with feedback and input. Avalon Waterways ( is one of the world's leading small ship cruise companies, featuring itineraries in Europe (where it offers the youngest river fleet in the continent), Egypt, the Galapagos, the U.S., China and Southeast Asia.


Congrats to members Melody Wren, Sharon Matthews-Stevens and Mark Stevens on their recognition at the recent Ontario Tourism Summit Travel Journalism Awards in London. Sharon got the nod as one of three finalists in the photography category while Melody and Mark were both finalists for their Ontario stories.


TMAC members were also recognized at the Caribbean Tourism Organization's media awards this past fall in Toronto. Theresa Storm was awarded "Best Photo in Conjunction with a Travel Story" while Mark Stevens received the award for "Best International Feature." The same story also earned Mark the "Best of Show Award."


Media member George Burden was voted to the College of the Fellows of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. It was based on George's medical-historical research efforts over the past 20 years. The College is responsible for the governance of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society that issues Canadian Geographic along with sponsoring programs in schools across the country.


Congratulations to media member Lola Augustine Brown who won an ALTO award (Alberta Tourism Award) for a story she wrote for Good Times called "Come to Calgary."


Media member Dale Dunlop has been elected as the eastern Canadian director for the Canadian Explorer's Club and joins a select group of people who are doing work that is recognized around the world. Dale also had a book proposal accepted by Nimbus Publishing to write a book on the islands of Nova Scotia. Dale's book will concentrate on the various recreational activities associated with these islands. And there's more: Dale's first cover photo/story was published in the Jan. 2013 edition of RV Gazette.


Fredericton has recently launched New Brunswick's newest winter tourism partnership. Titled Fredericton FROSTival, it runs from Jan. 25 - Feb. 17. Fredericton FROSTival is a partnership between Fredericton Tourism and Fredericton's best outdoor festivals, events and indoor cultural experiences. For more information, contact Stacey Russell, Fredericton Tourism, .

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: Do you have a New Year's Resolution for your travel writing this year?


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

 Back to Table of Contents

AAUnsung Heroes: Hélèna Katz

by  Mark Stevens


If you're looking for a great bellhop, you might want to give Hélèna Katz a miss. Strike her name from your iPhone.


To be sure you have to wonder about a travel writer who manages to incapacitate herself for months at a time simply by lifting her suitcase (ask anyone who was at the AGM in Fredericton). Bare minimum, you'd think she'd have a great story. But no.


Then again, Hélèna is not a whiner so she should probably be forgiven if never forgotten. For she's one more TMAC hero whose contributions are of a stature she herself may never hope to reach.


Please click here to read the article.


The Benefits of Approaching Photography as Art


 by Jan Napier


Seeing your best images on an art gallery wall may be a simple dream to fulfill. Just one option is to join an artist co-operative. After an application process, last year I was accepted to join ViewPoint Gallery, a storefront photography co-operative in Halifax. I now take great pride in seeing my work on the walls, greeting cards in the racks and prints in the bins. 


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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