|2014-15 Board of Directors|
Jo Matyas (media)
Mark Stevens (media)
Jerry Grymek (industry)
Account Director, LMA Communications Inc.
Elizabeth Kerr (media)
Kerrwil Publications Limited
Grant Fraser (media)
Tee to Green Magazine
Dan Young (industry)
Public Relations Manager - Canada, Starwood Hotels &
Resorts Worldwide Inc.
Phone: 416-947-4955 ext. 4458
Joanne Blain (media)
Joanne Blain Creative Services Ltd
Glenn Cameron (industry)
PR Consultant, Clear Communications
Phone: 416 920-5817
Holly Lenk (industry)
Manager, Travel Media Relations, Tourism Victoria
Slap Marketing and Communications
Get Ink PR and Communications
Lou Hammond and Associates
New York, New York
Contributors to This Issue
Elizabeth A. Kerr
Catherine Roscoe Barr
Thanks for your contribution!
| Dear :|
Since Jo Matyas has taken on the role of co-president of TMAC, I have taken over from her as editor of TMAC Travels. I will try to live up to the high standards Jo has set for the newsletter, and I hope to hear from all of you if you have something to contribute.
- Joanne Blain, TMAC Travels editor
TMAC is at a crossroads in terms of changes to print media itself, in terms of the desire of many writers and industry members to be more inclusive, and in terms of the organization's financial state. Accordingly, as potential co-presidents we consulted with each other extensively and felt that we could best serve the organization as a team, rather than forcing one person to carry all the responsibility that the role of president brings.
We are confident that our strengths are complementary and we commit to serving the needs of the membership while endeavouring to maintain the business-like running of TMAC and maintaining the reputation for integrity and professionalism that has made TMAC such a great organization.
As we took over this joint position, we were first faced with the challenge of coming up with membership criteria for bloggers. We have heard that travel industry professionals across the country expect the board to set the standard for what constitutes a professional travel blogger and we all take that responsibility very seriously. We recognize that many members want to open the doors and we accept that reality. As of our most recent meeting, the board has approved the criteria for membership in a new category of travel blogger (100 per cent of their submitted travel content for consideration would consist of their personal blogs) and we will closely monitor its practical workings and will review the rules on a regular basis.
Given the primacy of TMAC's place in Canada's travel industry we, as co-presidents, very much felt the burden of "getting it right" the first time, as much as possible. We thank the committee of Michele Sponagle, Cathy Stapells, Laura Byrne Paquet and Lola Augustine Brown for their commitment to this process, for their hard work and for their patience and willingness to address both the input and concerns of the national board and of the membership as a whole. It has been a challenge for all and one which, quite frankly, has generated considerable passion.
The second issue facing us is equally important: financial responsibility. You may well be seeing changes in membership and conference fees over the next year and you will be asked to step forward to offer your expertise and labour. These are the only ways to ensure that TMAC stays solvent and viable for the long term.
The collegiality that we have seen in our organization through our years of involvement gives us hope that TMAC will continue to be a strong force in advocating for media members and will continue to make membership in it a smart investment for industry members.
We look forward to working with you all toward those goals.
Have a great summer.
- Josephine Matyas, Mark Stevens
2014 Conference Survey Report
As usual, you weren't shy in telling us what you liked and didn't like about this year's conference. That's great, because we use your feedback, positive and negative, as a tool for planning future conferences. So thanks to all who came to Pittsburgh and took the time to fill out this year's post-conference survey.
About 54 per cent of those who responded are industry members and 46 per cent are media members. We were pleased to hear that almost 23 per cent of you rated the overall conference experience as excellent, 60 per cent thought it was great, almost 16 per cent called it good and just 1.4 per cent rated it as only fair. One respondent commented: "A good mix of learning and networking with chances to have fun together." Just what we were aiming for!
The media marketplace and networking in general were overwhelmingly the most popular reasons for attending the conference, with professional development, tours (pre-, post- and local) and interest in the host city lagging behind. Even so, about 80 per cent of you rated Pittsburgh, our conference location, as either great or excellent. And about 65 per cent thought the same way about the length of the conference.
More than 90 per cent of you thought the conference registration fees were good, great or excellent. One comment: "I found the price to be very affordable - I'm in another professional association and their conference fee is almost four times the price, which means I can't necessarily attend every year."
We were pleased to hear that about 70 per cent of respondents ranked the media marketplace as great or excellent, with another 25 per cent calling it good and only 5.6 per cent giving it a fair rating.
You were a bit more critical of the professional development sessions - about 31 per cent of you said they were great or excellent, and 55 per cent called them fair or good. A couple of comments: "Not many people showed up, but I still thought the panel did a great job and shared useful info." And there was this: "I didn't feel that many of these options were really geared for industry, and the few that were covered topics that we have addressed in the past." Okay, we hear you.
We also got the message that the PD roundtables should have been better organized. "I thought that the roundtable leaders were very good but the overall execution was poor," one person said. Another added: "If the session were better organized or if the format were better understood by participants, the session length would have been sufficient. As it was, time was wasted determining where to go next and what the topic was to be discussed."
Most of you liked the opening reception at the Fairmont Pittsburgh and the closing reception at the Heinz History Center. You weren't as keen on the casual welcome reception at the Wyndham Grand. One person said: "A bit lacklustre, lacking info with poor food options, though staff were friendly and helpful." And a few people mentioned that the band at the closing reception was too loud to allow people to talk and network.
And the majority of you liked the local tours - 86 per cent rated them good, great or excellent. Your dine-around experience was more varied: About 55 per cent of you said the experience was excellent or very good, 22 per cent said it was good and about 22.5 per cent said it was "disappointing" or "very disappointing." To give you an idea of the range in responses, one person said: "An incredible, delectable meal served impeccably." Another said: "It's a chain, it's a steak house, I'm a food writer. Enuff said."
Both pre-tours and post-tours for media got high marks - between 75 and 80 per cent of participants in both rated them "great" or "excellent." One remark seemed to sum up the majority of experiences: "Superb tour and great hosts!"
We asked you about what you'd do to improve the media marketplace and you had quite a few ideas. Several people wanted a break mid-way through each morning session for hydration and (ahem) dealing with the side effects of hydration. Most of you loved the two half-day sessions and the open marketplace, which we introduced at the Saskatoon conference and continued in Pittsburgh. But several industry members shared this sentiment: "Get more media to attend. We need more meetings and there aren't enough media." And we'll pass this along to our staff representatives: "Additional shoulder massages by Tina and Olga, the hardest-working ladies in show biz."
About 57 per cent of you rated your accommodations as very good or excellent, although the Wyndham Grand did lose some points for small standard rooms, patchy internet service and high phone charges.
We asked you what speaker or professional development topic you'd like to see at a future conference and you gave us these ideas for topics, among others: "Better use of social media to enhance our travel experiences." "E-books." "More on the transition from traditional print to the web and implications for writers." "More topics specifically geared to industry." "More on photography." And there were two very specific suggestions for speakers: Chris Hadfield and Rick Mercer. Hey, Chris and Rick, how do you feel about Peterborough?
Finally, we solicited your suggestions on improving the conference experience. Those included having more free time to explore the host city, a "reverse marketplace" where the media sits behind tables and industry circulates, more innovative PD sessions, new ways to spur networking, more sessions on blogging and social media, and making the travel grant more flexible.
Your ideas on where to hold future conferences were incredibly varied, from Fiji to Fort Myers and Banff to B.C. But we're thrilled that more than 71 per cent of you said "yes, absolutely!" to the question about whether you plan to attend the 2015 conference in Peterborough. See you there!
- Joanne Blain
|Voyageurs from Peterborough and the Kawarthas at the Pittsburgh conference. Left to right, Guy Theriault (Parks Canada), Lori Waldbrook (Ontario Parks), Susan Quinlan (Peterborough Tourism), Anne Marshall (TMAC Ontario Co-Chair), Kelly Jessup (Peterborough Tourism), Fiona Dawson (Peterborough Tourism).|
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|TMAC Award Winners|
The 2013 TMAC Awards were presented on May 31, 2014 at the closing gala of TMAC's conference and AGM. Each winner received a cheque for $1,000 and will also be eligible for travel assistance (up to $500) to attend the 2015 TMAC conference in Peterborough, Ont.
Best Cultural/Historical feature (sponsored by Travel Alberta)
WINNER: Lucas Aykroyd, "Russian city of Ufa intrigues outside hockey arena," Georgia Straight, February 27, 2013
HONOURABLE MENTIONS: John Lee, "A Pint and a Play in London Pubs," Los Angeles Times, March 17, 2013; Shelley Cameron-McCarron, "Halifax's haunted Citadel draws ghost fans after dark," Toronto Star, Oct. 26, 2012; Lucas Aykroyd, "Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas delves into John F. Kennedy assassination," Georgia Straight, October 31, 2012.
Best Environmental/Responsible Tourism Feature (sponsored by Destination British Columbia)
WINNER: Charlene Rooke, "The Rainforest Café," Western Living, April 2013; HONOURABLE MENTION: Kat Tancock, "Hanging out with the Howlers," Globe and Mail, March 29, 2013
Best Family Feature (sponsored by Eaton Chelsea, Toronto)
WINNER: Darcy Rhyno, "Golfing with mom - lessons above and beyond par," Next Avenue, September 16, 2012
HONOURABLE MENTION: James Ross, "Upside Down on the River Noire," Ottawa Outdoors Magazine, July 2013
Best Food/Drink Feature (sponsored by Ottawa Tourism)
WINNER: Cinda Chavich, "Eating the world's rudest clam," Maclean's magazine, August 3, 2013
HONOURABLE MENTIONS: John Lee, "Glasgow tees up fabulous Indian curry for hungry travelers on a budget," Toronto Star, January 10, 2013; John Lee, "Hitting the high notes at B.C.'s rock 'n' roll wineries," Toronto Star, September 27, 2012
Best French-Language Feature (sponsored by Le Québec Maritime)
WINNER: Yves Ouellet, "Chypre-du-Nord: Karpas... jusqu'à la fin des terres!", Le Soleil, October 13, 2012
Best Outdoors/Adventure Feature (sponsored by Saskatchewan Tourism)
WINNER: Jody Robbins, "The world's most epic road trip," MSN Travel, July 2013
HONOURABLE MENTIONS: Lucas Aykroyd, "On Frozen Pond," Westworld Saskatchewan, Winter 2012; Mike Fisher, "Mexico's Top Lure," Up!, March 1, 2013
Best Service Feature
WINNER: Carolyn Ali, "Panama City's charm lies beyond the canal," Georgia Straight, Nov. 21, 2012 online, Nov. 22, 2012 in print
HONOURABLE MENTIONS: Josephine Matyas, "The Thrifty Parent's Guide to Family Travel," Backpack, January February 2013; Sandra Phinney, "Deluxe Diners," Saltscapes Food and Travel, Spring 2013 (April 25)
Best Story about Travel in Canada (sponsored by Tourism Yukon)
WINNER: Laurie Carter, "Circle North," Okanagan Life Magazine, Spring 2013
HONOURABLE MENTIONS: Josephine Matyas, "Getaway BC Ranches," West of the City, September 12, 2012; Carolyn Heller, "Going Where No Roads Go in Ontario," Perceptive Travel, May 2013
Best People Photo (sponsored by Ontario Parks)
WINNER: Sandra Phinney, "Riding a camel in Wadi Rum led by a Bedouin," Travel and Escape, May 28, 2013
HONOURABLE MENTIONS: Gary Crallé, "Get in touch with your inner cowboy (man & puppy)," West of the City, Sept, 2012; Sharon Matthews-Stevens, "Cruiser with her dog in dinghy," All at sea, December 2012; Michael DeFreitas, "Indian Girl at Pow Wow," Outpost Magazine, July/August 2013
Best Action Photo (sponsored by Ontario Parks)
WINNER: Sharon Matthews-Stevens, "Soldiers firing in battle of Stoney Creek Re-enactment," Visit Hamilton 2013-2014
HONOURABLE MENTIONS: Yves Ouellet, "Safari en Namibie: hallucinante faune et saisissant désert - Young zebras fighting," Le Soleil, December 2, 2012; George Burden, "Vancouver: The City that Booze Built: Vancouver Runner," Life as a Human, July 19, 2013
Best Evocation of a Place Photo (sponsored by Ontario Parks)
WINNER: John Sylvester, "Black & White Photography - From Darkroom to Lightroom," Outdoor Photography Canada, Spring/Summer 2013
HONOURABLE MENTIONS: David Lasker, "Starry Sky over Pyramid Lake," Zoomer, July 2013; Jody Robbins, "Winter wonderland of Waterton," Vacay.ca, January 4, 2013; Michael DeFreitas, "Evening Prayer at Jerusalem's Western Wall," Just For Canadian Dentists magazine, September/October 2012
|Sharon Matthews-Stevens receiving an award for Best Action Photo|
Congratulations as well to our Volunteer Award winners: Carla Mont (B.C. chapter), Megan Kopp (Alberta & N.W.T. chapter), Jerry Grymek (Ontario chapter) and Sandra Phinney (Atlantic chapter).
And thanks to our judges: Dan Brown, Don Genova and David Homel (writing categories); Boris Spremo and Mishell Raedeke (photography categories).
To read a copy of the winning articles and to view the winning photos, please visit TMAC's website at www.travelmedia.ca.
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Look for a post-Pittsburgh conference update in the fall issue of
- Grant Fraser, TMAC national treasurer
BRITISH COLUMBIA - The new TMAC B.C. board is in full swing, planning 2014-15 events and fielding new requests for membership, including those from bloggers interested in TMAC's proposed new membership guidelines.
Our Summer Sizzler is coming up on July 29 at the brand-new, buzzed-about Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar in Vancouver's Sutton Place Hotel.
Stay tuned for exciting details on our upcoming PD day this November!
- Catherine Roscoe Barr, B.C. chapter co-chair
ALBERTA & N.W.T. - July is the month that we Albertans dust off our cowboy hats and get in line for pancake breakfasts, good music and fun at the Calgary Stampede. Our Munch & Mingle this month reminded us that there's more to Stampede than cocktails before noon. We were treated to a behind-the-scenes tour of the state-of-the-art, $67-million Agrium Western Event Centre, one of only seven similar complexes in North America.
Our industry partner Lindsay Jardine and Leah Jones, agriculture manager, showed us how the Calgary Stampede is putting the culture back in agriculture. Not only will the facility host international-level exhibitions and trade shows, it is introducing a globally focused educational program called Journey 2050 that will reach 10,000 Grade 7 students each year in the multipurpose rotunda. This facility, one of the largest projects in the Stampede's 100-year history, is meant to become a meeting place for urban and rural communities.
Our tour guide was Bill Fraser, a longtime volunteer and advisor to the design team. The welfare of the animals was at the forefront of the project, based on years of input from farmers, ranchers and rodeo-exhibition experts. Human visitors will delight in the attention to detail in the bright, comfortable venue with uninterrupted sight lines; the seats were designed to allow for cowboy hats.
Our board is welcoming several new members for 2014. Lauren Webb from Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts has joined us as our new Munch & Mingle coordinator, Lori Bayne from Parks Canada is our new secretary, and Paula Worthington from Brookline PR will be lending a hand on the PD committee.
We are well on the way to planning our calendar of activities for 2014-15 and we're looking forward to having more new members join the TMAC Alberta & N.W.T. chapter in the coming year.
- Debra Smith, Alberta & N.W.T. chapter board member
ONTARIO - As I step down as chair of the Ontario chapter, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the 2013-14 board for their hard work and commitment over the last year: Anne Marshall, my charming co-chair, who will be officially taking over as chair for the 2014-15 term; the talented Igor Kravtchenko; the dedicated Tracy Ford; the ever-enthusiastic Jerry Grymek; the loyal Ron Brown; and the creative Kimberly Hartley, all of whom I am delighted to say have volunteered to continue to serve under Anne's leadership. I'd also like to thank May Givens and Jose Ridoutt Pilar, both of whom retired from the board earlier this year.
As well, I'd like to welcome Steve Gillick to the board for the 2014-15 term. That leaves us with only one opening for a media member to ensure equal representation from both media and industry. We all know that the strength, continued growth and evolution of an association such as TMAC can be largely attributed to its volunteers, so I would encourage you to consider joining so you can benefit from a great learning experience and a gratifying position. Anyone interested in finding out more should contact Anne Marshall at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The new board will be meeting in late summer to determine roles and responsibilities for the upcoming year, which will be announced at the first Munch & Mingle event in September as well as in an upcoming edition of TMAC Travels.
Munch & Mingle Update
On Tuesday, June 17, Visit Florida hosted a wonderful Munch & Mingle at The Drake Hotel, where several Florida partners showcased their destinations to attendees. Thank you, Visit Florida, for an evening of "liquid sunshine," fabulous Floridian-focused hors d'oeuvres at a great venue.
We invite you all to attend our next Munch & Mingle, an all-day adventure hosted by Grey County on Tuesday, July 22! It is open to all media and industry TMAC members who would like to experience adventure, excitement and good food. Experience what makes Grey County fun during the summer, including feeling the rush at Walter's Falls, exploring the longest foot bridge in Ontario at Scenic Caves, visiting Georgian Hills Vineyards and enjoying lunch along Georgian Bay. RSVP to email@example.com before Friday, July 15. Space is limited.
Mark your calendar for our upcoming Munch & Mingles. These include: September 23, 2014: Eaton Chelsea
November 25, 2014: Visit California
December 9, 2014: TMAC Ontario Holiday Cheers Event
Please note some dates and hosts to be confirmed. Watch for details in your inbox and future editions of TMAC Travels.
Professional Development Update
The Ontario board has designated October as PD month and is busy planning the details. To help facilitate this process, a survey will be sent to all members in early July. Please have your say and help make October's PD session a resounding success.
A Reminder Re: New Member Incentive Program
Invite a member to join TMAC this year for your chance to win! All those who introduce one member will be entered into a draw to win a $50 Visa card. All those who introduce two or more members will be entered into a draw to win a $100 Visa card. The person who recruits the most members will receive a $200 Visa card.
It was my absolute pleasure to serve as Ontario's chair for this past year, but I am truly looking forward to my new role on the national board as vice-president, media.
- Elizabeth A. Kerr, national vice-president, media and past Ontario chapter co-chair
ATLANTIC - At the Atlantic chapter meeting held May 31 at TMAC's annual conference in Pittsburgh, members elected the following officers for the coming year: Chair, Pamela Wamback; Secretary, Alison Aiton; Treasurer, Jan Napier.
The chapter held a combined meeting and press trip from June 26 to 28 in Edmundston, New Brunswick. What a journey! We discovered a little-known part of Atlantic Canada with lots of story potential. Over the course of two days, we attended a hoppin' and boppin' blues and jazz festival taking place behind our hotel; had a tour of the New Brunswick Botanic Garden (highlighted by lunch in the herb house which included New Brunswick's famous fricot and buckwheat ployes rolled up with butter, brown sugar or molasses) and were mesmerized by Kronos, a contemporary stone circle in which Earth, humans and space come together. We also visited the Antique Automobile Museum and had a delightful guided tour of the Railroad Interpretation Centre.
On our last evening together, we had a special presentation of the upcoming World Acadian Congress which is taking place in the region this August. Two attendees stayed an extra day to have a guided paddle down the Green River. We now have plenty of reasons to go back!
In this coming year, the Atlantic chapter will be focusing on growing our chapter and professional development.
- Pamela Wamback, Atlantic chapter chair