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September | October 2014
contentsSeptember | October 2014 -

Inside TMAC Travels
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bod2014-15 Board of Directors


Jo Matyas (media)

Kingston, ON 

Phone: 613-546-6266


Mark Stevens (media)

Caledon, ON 

Phone: 905-583-0059



Jerry Grymek (industry)

Account Director, LMA Communications Inc.

Toronto, ON 

Phone: 416-440-2500



Elizabeth Kerr (media)

Kerrwil Publications Limited

Toronto, ON 

Phone: 416-258-9948



Grant Fraser (media)

Tee to Green Magazine

Burlington, ON

Phone: 905-844-7666



Dan Young (industry)

Public Relations Manager - Canada, Starwood Hotels &

Resorts Worldwide Inc. 

Toronto, ON 

Phone: 416-947-4955 ext. 4458



Joanne Blain (media)

Joanne Blain Creative Services Ltd

Vancouver, BC 

Phone: 604-734-0584


Glenn Cameron (industry)

PR Consultant, Clear Communications

Toronto, ON 

Phone: 416 920-5817 


Holly Lenk (industry)

Manager, Travel Media Relations, Tourism Victoria

Victoria, BC

Phone: 250-414-6974

New Members



Ariane Colenbrander


Vancouver, BC



Voula Martin

Calgary, Alberta



Lesley Mirza

Vancouver, BC



Vanessa Pinniger

Pacific Newspaper Group

Vancouver, BC



Adam Waxman

Dine Magazine

Stratford, Ontario






Kerry Duff

Fairmont Chateau Whistler

Whistler, BC



Contributors to This Issue

Thanks to:

  • Josephine Matyas
  • Mark Stevens
  • Catherine Roscoe Barr
  • Debra Smith
  • Pamela Wamback
  • Anne Marshall
  • Sandra Phinney
  • Jan Feduck
  • Grant Fraser
  • Candice Walsh
  • Amy Rosen
Dear  :

Fall is here and the kids are back in school (okay, maybe not in B.C.). For most of our industry and media members, it's time to shake the sand out of the beach blankets and press noses to the grindstone. But look on the positive side - fall means that chapter events, press trips and other opportunities to mix and mingle with your TMAC colleagues are back in full swing. I'll raise a glass to that!


- Joanne Blain, TMAC Travels editor  
President_ReportPresident's Report

For many of us in TMAC, the recent past has been a time for reflection. It has been a time to mourn the passing of Lucy Izon, a true icon of our organization, but also a time to celebrate her accomplishments and life. Condolences go out to both her family and to her TMAC "family." 

Lucy Izon

Consideration of her life and recent suffering brings to mind that others in TMAC are dealing with their own trials. A close friend of many members is currently struggling with cancer, while one of our own, another TMAC icon, faces his own serious health issues.


This is a time of crisis for many in TMAC, but it's also an opportunity - to set goals, to revisit our values, to decide what is really important.


For much of the industry, summer is a slow time. But now, just like kids returning to school, we get the chance to gird our collective loins for the next challenges, to reinvent ourselves and to recommit ourselves.


While TMAC is a professional organization, elitist by its very nature, it is still a community. We feel that TMAC will be the worse for it if we forget this.


Right now can be a time of renewal. Right now can be when we show that we care about others, that we share their aspirations, that we share our resources and successes as well as our failures, that we prop up those that need help, that we honestly strive to be not only kind but generous.


This is a time when we can think about our own contributions. Asking what we can give back to TMAC is just as important as asking what is in it for us.


That can mean something as simple as sharing with colleagues the names of editors who are open to our work. That can mean listening supportively to someone facing either writing or life challenges. That can mean putting your name out there to volunteer your skills or energy. (Feel free to contact our new volunteer chair, Maureen Haley, at to let her know how you want to help.)


Lucy had a great generosity of spirit that not everyone saw. In so many ways, she was a role model worthy of emulation.


In speaking at her funeral, the officiating minister referred to the depth and breadth of her library, remarking specifically on the number of spiritual books on her shelves. It was a noteworthy observation, a clue to her approach to life: Lucy was a vibrant, dynamic person who happened to write.


We are not "writers" but people who write. We are not "industry members" but people who work in the industry.


It's people who comprise a community, an important thing to remember going forward: in all of our dealings with each other, in the conversations we have and comments we make, in all of our actions.


Maybe Lucy's passing will help us keep that in mind.


Bon voyage, Lucy.


- Josephine Matyas, Mark Stevens


bloggersNew Membership Criteria for Bloggers

If you attended this year's TMAC conference in Pittsburgh, you know that a hot topic was whether our media membership criteria should be changed to admit people who are full-time travel bloggers. It's something that we've been discussing at the national board level for a while - and believe me, it's been a lively debate.

But it was time to stop talking and start acting. So this summer, the national board passed a new set of criteria to allow writers who publish all or most of their content on blogs to qualify for membership.


We want only professional, highly qualified bloggers as TMAC members, so we set the bar high. Applicants must have two letters of recommendation from TMAC members who have worked with them. As well, they have to prove through reputable measuring services (such as Google Analytics) that they are drawing a significant number of readers. And last, but by no means least, they have to satisfy our membership committee that they are conducting themselves ethically and that they are producing high-quality, accurate travel content.


Why did we do this? Our industry members have told us that travel bloggers are an important part of their destination marketing strategy, and that to continue to exclude them from our membership risked making TMAC irrelevant. That definitely made us sit up and listen. We also realized that there are some really great travel bloggers out there, so to deny them membership simply because they choose to publish their work in blogs rather than in magazines or newspapers doesn't make sense. We needed to acknowledge this seismic shift in the media landscape.


We'll be sending out an email to all media and industry members very soon to tell you more about the new criteria. Meanwhile, we invite you to reach out to well-established travel bloggers to tell them that TMAC wants to welcome them to the fold. 


- Joanne Blain, national board member  

 Back to Table of Contents

member_benefits2Member Benefits: Use 'Em or Lose 'Em

We've been working hard to build on the benefits available to all TMAC members. To name just a few, we all now have access to a great health insurance plan (which includes dental and travel insurance), as well as special rates for home and auto insurance and discounts at the Choice Hotels group. And we're pursuing some other benefits we're pretty sure you're going to be excited about.


Here's the deal, though: If we don't use these benefits, we might lose them. For example, Park 'N Fly is offering all TMAC members a 20 per cent discount at all its locations across Canada. However, we've been told that not one single member has taken advantage of it - and if there are no takers, Park 'N Fly will take the discount away.


So please check out the benefits available to members on the TMAC website - under the "members only" tab, scroll down to "membership benefits." Keep checking back, because we'll add new benefits as we secure them. And by all means, take advantage of them!


- Liz Campbell and Joanne Blain, benefits committee co-chairs


Back to Table of Contents

finance_reportFinance Report

As of July 31, 2014, TMAC revenues were $214,047. This figure is comprised of membership revenue ($89,835), conference revenue ($107,168) and other revenue ($17,043).


Compared to the same period last year, revenues are down 2.8% ($220,426 July 2013). Membership revenue was up $7,721 or 9.4% from last year. The other two revenue categories were down from last year (2013 conference revenue $115,149 and 2013 other revenue $23,162). 


Total expenses were $176,792 compared to $202,035 for the same period in 2013, a 12.6% decrease. Total expenses are comprised of administrative expenses ($92,257) and conference expenses ($84,535). Management fees account for the largest amount of administrative expenses ($55,323) and venue (conference location) accounts for the largest conference expense ($64,207). Management fees remained unchanged year-over-year. Much of the decrease in the total expense figure can be attributed to a 22% reduction in 2014 conference expenses from the previous year ($84,535 versus $108,517).


Net income for the period is up year-over-year. As of July 31, 2014, net income was $37,254 versus $18,391 a year ago. 


Total assets for the period are also up for the period, $112,931 versus $79,088 a year ago. This increase is primarily due to a higher cash balance of $59,200 versus $22,209 as of July 31, 2013. 


- Grant Fraser, TMAC national treasurer 

chapter_newsChapter News

bc_chapterBRITISH COLUMBIA - Thanks to the buzz surrounding our hosts, the newly opened Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster Bar at the Sutton Place Hotel Vancouver, we had a full house for our Summer Sizzler on July 29, with more than 60 members and prospective members in attendance.

Morgan Sommerville, Lucas Aykroyd and Liz Sperandeo chilling out at the Summer Sizzler event at the Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster Bar

Coming up on Sept. 24, the Fairmont Waterfront will host us for our membership drive at their stunning rooftop garden, where we hope to inspire prospective members to join as we share details on the benefits of being a TMAC member.

One such benefit is our TMAC/SATW PD retreat in Whistler, Food For Thought, for which we anticipate a large turnout. It will be held Nov. 6 to 8 in concert with the Cornucopia food and wine festival with host venue Fairmont Whistler, a dream to work with again.

Last year's event was a huge success and we're excited about raising the bar this year. Highlights include our keynote speaker, Margo True, food editor at Sunsetmagazine, and a tantalizing food photography seminar moderated by Joanne Sasvari, featuring experts Erin Ireland, Joann Pai and and Murray Bancroft. Plus, of course, we're jazzed about hitting some of the food and drink events at this world-class festival!

- Catherine Roscoe Barr, B.C. chapter co-chair

ALBERTA & N.W.T. - After a summer hiatus, we're ready to kick off the fall Munch & Mingle season with a special event at industry member Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts' newest restaurant. We're looking forward to hearing all the latest news from our host Switzerland Tourism and catching up with our TMAC colleagues at the Lake House.

atlantic_chapterATLANTICSeems like only yesterday we were all gathered in Pittsburgh, where I donned the chapter chair hat. While our chapter is small, it is mighty, so expect great things from us in the months to come. 


Our annual combined meeting and press trip was held June 26 to 28 in Edmundston, New Brunswick, hosted by Alison Aiton and her team at New Brunswick Tourism. Tourism PEI will host the next chapter meeting in June 2015, coinciding with the Festival of Small Halls. 


We continue to share our news from both media and industry via our Facebook group page. There are lots of interesting products and events coming down the pipeline in Atlantic Canada and we are looking forward to sharing this info with potential new members over the next few months. Lots of great writers are making their home base in Atlantic Canada and we intend to harness that power!  


Happy harvesting!


- Pamela Wamback, Atlantic chapter chair

on_chapterONTARIO Our elusive summer in Ontario was highlighted by a road trip to Grey County, a wonderful day of caves, mountains, cider, wine, apples and pizza overlooking the water. Our hosts in Grey County shared the day with Bruce County, so we were treated to the best the escarpment has to offer.


Ontario chapter members showing off their cool new shades at a summer road trip in Grey County

I always enjoy meeting members, especially new members, at our monthly events. They are a great way to share stories, gather ideas, make contacts and learn about new destinations - not to mention sampling local food and wine and visiting amazing venues.  


The fall will see the Munch & Mingle circuit start up with a gathering at the downtown Toronto Eaton Chelsea Hotel (I can almost taste the house-made Caesars). October will be Professional Development Month - rumour has it a panel discussion will be offered, so stand by.


Indian Summer will be followed by the Nov. 17 Munch & Mingle featuring California - fingers crossed they don't get more earthquakes or tremors.


Our Holiday Social will be held at the soon-to-open Delta Hotel in Toronto. We hope our chapter members will come out and share some cheer. 


We also want to say goodbye to Lucy Izon, a "cool Canadian" and active member in our chapter. We hope to designate a section of the Trans-Canada Trail in her honour. We will miss her.


- Anne Marshall, Ontario chapter chair

Back to Table of Contents 

member_newsMember News

As mentioned in the presidents' report, longtime Ontario media member Lucy Izon lost her battle with cancer on Aug. 18. Best known to TMAC members for her website, Lucy was an indefatigable promoter of Canadian tourism as well as an avid world traveller. Her obituary in the Toronto Star noted that she "rode elephants, swung on a trapeze and walked up and down mountains on some of the world's famous trails. She found the cool place in every community, country or village she visited." Everyone who knew her will miss her enthusiasm, humour, consummate professionalism and generosity to others.


Congratulations to all of the TMAC members who won at the 2014 GoMedia awards recently held in Winnipeg. Amy Rosen won for print & online (Canadian media), Josephine Matyas won for blogging (Canadian media), Remy Scalza won for photography (Canadian and international media), and Angela Moore of Tourism Saskatoon won the GoMedia GoGetter award for PR excellence. 


Carmel Vivier is the new editor at See Saint John and Beyond. She writes editorial content, does some photography and writes about events from St. Stephen to Sussex of interest to visitors, tourists and locals who want to know what is happening in her neck of the woods in New Brunswick.

Destination St. John's recently won the award for best destination video at the Professional Convention Management Association for their "Colourful Characters, Colourful Experiences" video. Read about it and get a link to the video here:


Habeeb Salloum's new cookbook, Asian Cooking Made Simple: A Culinary Journey along the Silk Road and Beyond, has been published by Sweet Grass Books/Far County Press. The book, available Oct. 1 through bookstores, online retailers and, is the result of Habeeb's many travels to the Far East and western Asia.


Industry member Emma de Vadder is now on maternity leave from her position as regional director, North America, for VisitEngland. Taking her place for the next six months or so is Mark McCulloch ( of VisitEngland's London-based PR team.


Sharon Matthews-Stevens and Mark Stevens cordially invite you to visit their new travel blog,

pd_spotlightPD Spotlight
Magazine Editor Moves Back To Peterborough - You Won't Believe What Happens Next!

With thoughts of TMAC's 2015 AGM in Peterborough dancing in our heads, the PD committee reached out to Neil Morton, former editor-in-chief of Shift and 2 magazine, and co-founder of Peterborough's, for his top tips on creating highly sharable content. It's solid intel that both media and industry can use. Here he uses his brand as a sort of

Neil Morton at the Whistle Stop Cafe in downtown Peterborough

 case study to teach us all how to make our own brands more clickable.


 - Amy Rosen


By Neil Morton


I moved back to my home town of Peterborough, Ontario (the "gateway to the Kawarthas") four years ago with my wife and daughters. Shortly afterwards, I started a digital media brand,, with my co-founder on the site, Evan Holt.


It was a side project to begin with, but it has become more of a full-time venture as the site is taking off. We now average about 60,000 page views a month, have about 12,000 followers on Twitter @Ptbo_Canada, thousands of Facebook fans and many new advertisers coming on board as they embrace digital and social media. 


Many of our posts have gone viral, getting picked up by the likes of the Huffington Post, and CTV News. We create highly shareable content to showcase all the great things about Peterborough, which has all of the amenities of a big city. In no particular order, here are nine approaches we take to creating compelling content.


Please click here to read the entire article.  

unsung_heroesUnsung Heroes: Jerry Grymek
Jerry Grymek meets all kinds of celebrities in his job, including Uno, the Best in Show dog at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

By Sandra Phinney


About 14 years ago, Jerry Grymek's attention was snaffled by a TMAC member. "Once I got my first taste," says the account director for LMA Communications Inc., "I was hooked." 


Fast forward to June 2014, when Jerry accepted the position of vice-president, industry for TMAC's national board. He also serves on the board for the Ontario chapter, manages and distributes its monthly M&M invitations and helps to organize the chapter's annual summer road trip.


Asked about some of the highlights of his TMAC membership in general and of volunteering in particular, Jerry says that on a professional level, it has given him many opportunities to work with a talented pool of media members. "At times, it has helped me with everything from filling press trips to researching media outlets."


On a personal level, he loves meeting fellow media and industry members; many have become good friends. "I've grown with the members and have had an opportunity to work with many of them on press trips, events and editorial features. It's nice that we can work hard and have fun at the same time."


When Jerry was first approached to sit on the board and volunteer, he thought to himself, "Will I have enough time to help out? Will I do a good job? Can I maintain the standards set by those board members that served before me?" 


Please click here to read the entire article. 


inquisitiveInquisitive Minds Want to Know

By Jan Feduck


Come on. We know you've got one. 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 questions with witty, brilliant, interesting and insightful answers from our members. Send your responses as well as questions for future issues to our Q&A editor, media member Jan Feduck, at


Question: What is a travel book you have found inspiring, and can you share a blog that you have recently enjoyed or found informative?


Chris Robinson replied:


Here are my top two choices for inspirational travel books, taken from my Pinterest board of travel books at  

Both are timeless classics and have interestingly parallel themes.


Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck

It's the autumn of 1960 and the great writer decides to travel through the USA to experience his country at a transformational time. He does so with Charley, his French poodle, who proves to be the perfect foil for Steinbeck's observations and mood swings. Together, they travel more than 16,000 kilometres and produce a book that deserves to be on any top 10 travel list. It's witty, insightful, sad, humorous and always entertaining.


Travels with a Donkey by Robert Louis Stevenson

A little gem of a travel book written by the author of Treasure Island and Kidnapped. In the autumn of 1878, the author tramps across Cevennes, a semi-wilderness area of southern France renowned for savage wolves, seeking adventure. He is aided only by the wily but lovable donkey Modestine. His descriptions of the journey enchant the reader with their descriptive power and convey the basic joy of travel that remains the same today.

TMAC Travels - Newsletter Submission Guidelines
TMAC Travels is published bi-monthly. 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 $100, please contact T.O Corporate Services 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 Joanne Blain at
. Items may be edited for length, grammar or clarity. The newsletter will be delivered to members by email by the middle of every month. Material should be sent by the 1st of each month unless the editor gives prior approval.

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