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March | April 2015
contentsMarch | April 2015 -
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



Sophia Cheng     

Hartley PR            

Vancouver, BC



Wanda Hoehn     

Ste. Anne's Spa  

Grafton, Ontario



Patti Kendall        

Blue Mountain Village Association

Blue Mountains, Ontario



Claire Kunzman 

Cheryl Andrews Marketing Communications               

Coral Gables, FL



Geoff Moore        

Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association

Williams Lake, BC



Kaylyn Storey      

Fairmont Pacific Rim         

Vancouver, BC



Marianne Trotier 

Nordik Spa Nature             

Chelsea, QC






D. Grant Black

Wakaw, Saskatchewan



Gerry Feehan                      

Red Deer, AB



Claudia Laroye                   

Vancouver, BC



Kirsten Rodenhizer            

Westworld Alberta              

Vancouver, BC


Contributors to This Issue

Thanks to:

  • Josephine Matyas
  • Mark Stevens
  • Grant Fraser
  • Catherine Roscoe Barr
  • Anne Marshall
  • Debra Smith
  • Laura Berg
  • John Masters
  • Jan Feduck
  • Candice Walsh


Dear  :

Spring is almost here (well, in some parts of the country). It's the time of year that I start to get a bit antsy about my travel calendar for the next 10 months or so. I want to plan ahead so that I've got lots of destinations to write about, but I also want to leave windows of opportunity open so that I can take advantage of trips that pop up on relatively short notice.


I don't know about you, but some of my best-ever press trips have come about that way - to Jordan a couple of years ago, to Anguilla just last fall. So, 2015, go ahead and throw me a few curve balls. I'll be packed and ready to go!


- Joanne Blain, TMAC Travels editor  
President_ReportPresidents' Report

On the occasion of his inauguration as president (of the United States, not TMAC), John F. Kennedy issued a now-famous challenge to his audience. "Ask not what your country can do for you," he exhorted. "Ask what you can do for your country."


Replace "country" with "TMAC" and you'll kind of get where we're coming from this time around.


Even so, our message is not exactly the same as Kennedy's: we can - and should - ask what TMAC has done for us.  And then we can go on to both ask what we can do for TMAC - and maybe what we should do for TMAC.


Josephine:  In TMAC, I've found the value of stepping forward to volunteer has brought benefits on several fronts. To begin with, it's a great way to give back, to help the organization grow and develop. Volunteers are necessary to make this happen.


It's also been an amazing way to network, meet people and make friends. The friendships I've made through my involvement in TMAC are important to me. 

On a more business-minded note, wading in and being involved has also been a smart business move. It's a way to create name recognition, to have work noticed and to forge connections that make phone calls, M&M meetings and conferences a pleasurable experience.


Mark: Collegiality has been the greatest benefit for me - the chance to share secrets of the craft, to share successes and, more important, failures with other writers. Insights into the nature of the industry and those industry contacts who made so many trips and opportunities possible have been really important.


The support of industry members in sponsoring awards is a crucial benefit of TMAC membership and the PD opportunities have proven invaluable. But in the final analysis it's still the shared values, the collegiality I get from TMAC, that keeps me involved.


Co-presidents Mark Stevens and Jo Matyas escaping Ontario's brutal winter ... in the Yukon.  

So how about the flip side? What can we do or - in our case - what have we done for TMAC?  Measuring our personal effectiveness, like that of President Kennedy, will be the task of historians.


But enough about us. What can you do for TMAC?


This is the time of year when we start looking at personnel. Who's still on the national board? Who's leaving? Who would bring special gifts and skills to TMAC in order to keep us vibrant and relevant?


Very shortly, nomination forms will go out to the membership. Please consider running for a board position; please consider colleagues that you think could make difference and encourage them to run.  Introduce yourself to the volunteer committee and offer whatever help you can.


A number of people have served out their terms on the board, so this will be a year of change. TMAC as an organization continues to deal with a changing landscape - from social and digital media to issues of ethics and integrity.


This is a time of challenge but also of opportunity. It's your chance to make a difference, to ensure that TMAC meets your needs and expectations.


So ask not what TMAC has done for you, but what you can do for TMAC. Call us anytime - we'd be happy to talk.


- Josephine Matyas, Mark Stevens


finance_reportFinance Report

We are currently in the process of finalizing our year-end 2014 financial results. Our new auditor, Les Lucyk, is working with our management company, T.O Corporate Services, to finalize our 2014 audited financial statements. I expect to have our results before our next newsletter and will provide my financial commentary at that time.


As far as 2015 goes, it appears as though we are off to a good start as membership renewals and conference registrations are strong. If anyone has any questions or would like additional information, please contact me.


- Grant Fraser, TMAC national treasurer 

chapter_newsChapter News

ontarioONTARIO - Warm up with the Ontario chapter at the March 24 Munch & Mingle, hosted by Kentucky Tourism and the Buffalo Trace distillery. You won't want to miss the bourbon tasting with Drew Maryville. It's been a long winter in Ontario, so come out of hibernation and join us. I can't wait to hear the story of Buffalo Trace and see what's happening in Kentucky. See you at the Turf Lounge on Bay Street in Toronto from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on March 24. And don't forget, Cash for Clips rewards those who publish a story as a result of a Munch & Mingle.


There is one last drive to collect unwanted USB sticks for a school in the Yukon. Please bring your USB sticks to the March 24 event and give them to board member Steve Gillick.


Jerry Grymek, organizer extraordinaire, has confirmed our July road trip to Waterloo. Stand by for details. The annual road trips have proven to be a great way to experience Ontario's various tourism regions and products. And it's another way to earn Cash for Clips dollars.


Doug O'Neill of Canadian Living has been active on our TMAC Ontario Facebook page - everything from sex surveys to collecting backpacks for prisoners to 40th anniversary features. Good work! You'll want to catch up with Doug at the Peterborough conference in June for results and hot tips.


Anne Marshall, Ontario chapter co-chair

bcBRITISH COLUMBIA - Our most recent professional development day was held March 7 at Vancouver's Sutton Place Hotel with a wonderful turnout of more than 70 attendees - more than a dozen of whom were prospective and/or non-members. Our theme, Show Me The Money!, focused on financial health and our incredible lineup of speakers no doubt inspired idea for business growth for both our industry and media members.


New members attending the B.C. chapter's PD day. From left, Sheri Radford, Claudia Laroye, Amy Watkins, John Thomson, Lesley Mirza and Catherine Tse.

Captivating keynotes from Gary Stephen Ross on "The Ross Rules" for effective communication and Dennis Pang on "The Rise of the Social Media Influencer" got the day started.

Next, our first roundtable session offered a selection of money-making tips, with media training by Dawn Chubai, "thinking outside the travel section" with Lucas Aykroyd, an update on foreign markets with Monica Leeck, "monetizing your content" with Cara McLeay, creating branded content with Charlene Rooke, and more.

A delicious, Spanish-themed lunch buffet provided fuel for the second roundtable session and a "social media for business" panel with Dai and Christie Manuel, and Trish Friesen.

To wrap things up, attendees mingled at a closing reception hosted by the hotel's swanky new restaurant, Boulevard Kitchen + Oyster Bar, with cocktails and canapés compliments of the restaurant and wine provided by Haywire Winery. 

Stay tuned for details on our Summer Sizzler - it's going to be another hot event!


- Catherine Roscoe Barr, B.C. chapter chair


This year's gathering aims to inspire creativity while helping media and industry navigate the ever-evolving landscape of travel, tourism and social media and to discover what's trending now. TMAC members can look forward to a slate of influential speakers, a top-tier dine-around and a very special entertainment event with details to be announced shortly.

Our board is very pleased to announce that Sarah Deveau will be our new treasurer. Many thanks to Carol Patterson for her superb work in that role and we're looking forward to catching up with her at our Munch & Mingle events. 

Speaking of which, in February we held our largest-ever M&M event at the Nash in Inglewood. About 40 journalists, industry reps and local celebs circulated around the Off Cut Bar in the historic National Hotel building in Inglewood (Canada's greatest neighborhood in the Great Places competition). Chef Michael Noble entertained us with the lowdown on the shady past of this cosy speakeasy-style bar, complete with mug shots of former patrons. Many tasty appetizers and a few cocktails later, we were making great connections with old friends and new acquaintances.

Our M&M coordinator, Noelle Aune, has organized another fabulous event for March at Parc, a new venue that brings the pleasures of a traditional French brasserie to Calgary. We can hardly wait to try Parc's simple but sophisticated take on signature dishes like ratatouille and roast chicken. It's all about the basics: attentive service, great food, good bread and fine wine. It sounds like summer on the patio at Parc will be the place to be this year. TMAC AB & N.W.T. members will be among the first guests to sample this new dining experience. 

As always, we welcome all TMAC members and guests to our events. Contact us for more details on Twitter: @TMAC_AB.  Bon appetit!

- Debra Smith, Alberta & N.W.T. chapter chair

atlantic_chapterATLANTICNo report for this issue.


- Pamela Wamback, Atlantic chapter chair

member_newsMember News

Ontario media member Ron Brown has been given the Freedom to Read award by the Writers' Union of Canada. Ron is a travel writer, photographer and the author of 25 books. The award, which Ron created 16 years ago as a past chair of the Writers' Union, is presented annually in recognition of advocacy for free expression in Canada. Ron has served on the Book and Periodical Council's Freedom of Expression committee since the early 1990s, and has been closely involved in Canada's annual Freedom to Read Week. He has protested against the banning of books from Canadian schools and libraries and the blocked importation of books at Canadian borders. Well done, Ron!


B.C. media member Lucas Aykroyd received the 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Victoria's faculty of humanities in February for his travel and sports-writing achievements. Congrats, Lucas!


Nest + Nosh Public Relations is pleased to announce Trump International Hotel & Tower Toronto as a new client. Media inquiries can be sent to Judy Ahola at


A number of TMAC members were winners or finalists in the 2014 awards recently handed out by the North American Travel Journalists Association. Congratulations to Peter Johansen, Lucas Aykroyd, Aurélie Resch, Carolyn Ali, Janice Mucalov, Maureen Littlejohn, Kate Pocock, Remy Scalza and Chris McBeath. (If you were a winner or finalist and I've inadvertently left you off this list, please send me an email and I'll include you in the next newsletter).


Sandra Phinney is a new correspondent for Travel There Next and will be featuring Atlantic Canada in some of her posts. (


Jan Napier recently launched a travel blog, Hungry Road, on which she will be posting about delicious destinations and travel tips.


WestJet has announced Glasgow as its newest European destination, with daily nonstop flights from Halifax beginning May 29.  

journalistsJournalists and Publicists: The Changing Relationship

By John Masters


There's a discussion we need to have in TMAC about the nature of the relationship between journalists and publicists. In a number of cases - certainly not all - this relationship has begun to change in recent years. The tangible evidence is the emergence of forms that some tourism bodies want journalists to complete and sign as a condition of being provided access to destinations and products.


These forms (and the policies behind them) suggest that the role of the journalist is coming to be seen as that of a subcontractor in thrall to the publicist. That is a fundamental misrepresentation of the relationship.


Below, I lay out the specific problems these forms cause, suggest one immediate, short-term solution and finally return to the overarching issue needing to be discussed. 


In descending order of concern, the four specific problems are:



Signing a form that includes an indemnification clause can leave the journalist open to financial ruin. It's easy to see why many of us go ahead and sign: the legalese is too much trouble to wade through (I have added a few notes in brackets and emphasis in italics for clarification). 


Please click here to read the entire article. 

pd_spotlightPD Spotlight: Why You Need YouTube

By Laura Berg


As a travel writer, you have two passions - travel and writing. You care about how words look and sound, and about the feelings they express when put together properly. Those things still matter, but now there's something else to consider.


In the age of the Internet, more and more people are turning to video as a source of information and entertainment. This is where you can enhance your craft by adding video to your repertoire.


Don't get me wrong: Video does not replace well-written articles and amazing pictures, but it can complement and enhance the experience you've had and want to share with your audience. With the typical attention span being what it is and us living in a "need it now, need it fast" society, most people prefer to watch a video over reading text.


Each week, 78 per cent of people watch at least one video, and an astounding 55 per cent of people watch every day. YouTube is the No. 2 search engine in the world with more than one billion unique visitors each month.


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 a question with witty, brilliant, interesting and insightful answers from our members.


Send your questions to Q and A editor, media member Jan Feduck, at


QUESTION: As a committed volunteer for TMAC, could you share one short story about a rewarding volunteer experience that made it all worthwhile?


Sandra Phinney, freelance writer and TMAC volunteer, says:


While serving on the board a few years ago, I was involved in co-chairing the volunteer committee with Hélèna Katz, who started the ball rolling by coming out with a position paper related to recruiting, training and recognizing volunteers. At some point, we expanded by inviting members across the country to serve on the committee.


It was magical. Everyone pitched in; we had lively discussions via email; we were able to tease out the objectives, and then got on with the nitty gritty of implementing ways to recognize our volunteers. This now includes having a regular column celebrating "Unsung Heroes" in our newsletter (this issue is the first time in three years we don't have a column, but it will resume in May!), regional volunteer of the year awards presented at our AGMs, and it's also possible to claim points towards membership accreditation for volunteer service. It was hugely rewarding to work with that committee and to see concrete results.


Elizabeth Kerr, president of The Wit Corporation and vice-president (media) of TMAC's national board, says:


As a member of what is truly a wonderful and cohesive board, I have the opportunity to test many of the skills I have learned over the past 25 years, which don't get used very often today.


Although I have been in the magazine publishing business for 25-plus years, I have only been an official member of the travel-writing community for the past three or four years. Being a volunteer for TMAC has helped me forge new relationships with both my peers and industry members that I may never have had the pleasure of making, and to work with many of them on TMAC's exciting initiatives. 


If you are at all intrigued by volunteering, I would highly recommend joining a committee that may interest you. It will give you some great insight into TMAC's membership and the organization itself.


Mark Stevens, freelance writer and co-president of TMAC's national board, said:


When I think about volunteering in TMAC, what comes to mind isn't so much one of those special moments when someone tells me how wonderful I am or how successful one of my initiatives has been. What comes to mind is the fact that I feel honour-bound to give back to TMAC. 


I've gotten a lot out of it - from the chance to network with others to some really quirky experiences. One that comes to mind was a dinner at the Hamilton AGM when I was sitting around with a group of writers having a really intense discussion about a writing issue. Times like that - the chance to share views with so many others in what is really an isolated calling - make me grateful I'm in TMAC. How could I not volunteer?


But I'm begging the question a bit. One special moment? Lots of special moments - maybe most important and most rewarding is working with the current national board, being a part of that team of people. I can't get over how bright so many of these people are, how committed they are to the health and future of TMAC, how creative they are in coming up with solutions and initiatives and how generous they are with their time.


Jerry Grymek, account director of LMN Communications Inc. and vice-president (industry) for TMAC's national board, said:


Everybody counts in TMAC! Seeing how the members and board are supportive of each other makes volunteering more fun than work!   


 Back to Table of Contents

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.