Tourism experts gather in London

Ontario's Southwest(Woodstock) - On March 19th and 20th, the Four Points by Sheraton London, will be transformed with high energy from tourism professionals in southwestern Ontario, who will gather for the third annual Ontario’s Southwest Spring Conference. This is a forum for those in the tourism industry to stay up-to-date with trends, share ideas & best practices, and network with colleagues.

Many people don’t know that tourism is big business in Ontario. Tourists spend over $1.4 billion a year in this region alone. It is estimated that this revenue has created over 18,000 tourism jobs and unlike other sectors of the economy, it continues to grow.

Conference MC, London’s own Melissa Schenk, will kick things off introducing Warren Everson, senior vice president, Canadian Chamber of Commerce and David Goldstein, president & CEO, Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) who will speak to this key message of the economic impact of tourism from a national perspective.

Assistant Deputy Minister of Tourism, Culture & Sport (MTCS), Richard McKinnell and executive director, Southwest Ontario Tourism Corporation (SWOTC), Jim Hudson will paint the big picture of tourism province-wide and regionally.

As the sun sets, attendees will jump on a bus and cruise over to the Jet Aircraft Museum to build partnerships with colleagues amongst jets, boats, motorcycles and cars while tasting some of the regions culinary delights.

Day two starts with Ministry of Tourism Culture & Sport director Neil Coburn and manager Imran Chowdhary who will coach attendees on how to get the most out of our Ministry of Tourism, including the matching funds partnership program that the industry can tap into. Delegates will then have the opportunity to choose from sessions that focus on: an Outlook on Hotels from Scott Allison VP of Marriott Hotels, Tourism Growth Opportunities, Trends & Economic Impact of Boating & Fishing and social media. Back by popular demand will be Theresa Syer who will share the ‘blueprint to evoking a WOW visitor experience every time’. CBC’s Terry O’Reilly will conclude the conference with an inspiring session that will get attendees thinking outside the box with his message, “You don’t need to outspend the competition, you just need to outsmart them.”

Tourism is one of the fastest-growing economic sectors in the world. The conference’s goal is to ensure southwestern Ontario gets it’s fair share.