Ottawa Tourism

February 2019

Find out what’s new with Ottawa Tourism programs, members and people in this latest edition of the Ottawa Tourism Member Newsletter.




Ottawa Tourism’s March Break marketing campaign kicks in just as Winterlude ends. The integrated campaign uses digital video and display banners, social media, paid content, print and retargeting to promote ‘Kid-Friendly Ways to Spend a Few Days’ in the capital. Strong March Break programming at national museums plus other family-friendly Ottawa attractions are featured in a 3-day itinerary approach. The campaign targets families in Ontario and Quebec and links to a dedicated March Break landing page on the Ottawa Tourism website. Click below to view some elements of the campaign.

View March Break Campaign Digital Video Ad

View March Break Campaign Landing Page

View Toronto Star content: Six Reasons Why Ottawa Should be On Your March Break Radar

Read Today’s Parent content: Five Things to Do In Ottawa On March Break

Want to be featured in our next marketing campaign? Contact Courtney Merchand.




Content marketing in support of Winterlude 2019 focused on new cool factors added this year. While the broader advertising campaign focused on big attractors like the Skateway, Snowflake Kingdom and attractions, the content portion focused on some of the festivals new and unique experiences. From highlighting the inaugural WinterPride amongst millennials (and capturing imagery and footage of it for use next year) to festival must-do’s for French and bilingual readers, and even planting our very own Ottawa Tourism ice bench in the centre of Sparks Street. Click below to view some examples of content created to promote Winterlude 2019.

Narcity: Ottawa’s Winterlude Is Hosting The First-Ever Winter-Pride Festival This February

Chatelaine: Ode à l’hiver dans notre capitale nationale




This professional development session presented by Ottawa Tourism in late January attracted 60 members and imparted a lot of wisdom. Moderated by Ottawa Tourism’s Jantine Van Kregten, the panel included: Christina Ruddy, Operations Manager, Omamiwinini Pimadjwowin; Christian Garceau, Festival Director, Capital Pride; Mischa Kaplan, Manager of People & Corporate Culture, Ottawa Tourism; and Brad Campeau, Owner, BrewDonkey.

Download a full audio recording of the 70-minute session here

Highlights of messages shared:

  • Education is the most important thing to help people put things into the right context. Embrace opportunities to learn. Ask questions.
  • “Indigenous” is an umbrella term and should be used sparingly. Whenever possible, use First Nations, Métis, or Inuit depending on the context, or be even more specific (“the Algonquin people,” for example, if the story takes place on this land). It is important for these groups to be seen for who they are rather than the generic “Indigenous” tag.
  • #NothingAboutUsWithout us: engage in meaningful consultations with Indigenous people to ensure you are sharing the correct story/using the most appropriate wording.
  • Acknowledge truth comes before reconciliation: revisit wording when describing history (for example, Champlain and other Europeans did NOT “discover” lands where Indigenous people have lived and traded for millennia; Champlain was escorted on his journey)
  • LGBTQ2+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, two-spirited, plus) describes a very diverse group who have different perspectives.
  • There is nothing wrong with using term LGBT but Capital Pride uses the full LGBTQ2+ acronym, as does the Government of Canada.
  • Do not exclude LGBTQ2+ people from traditional societal norms (such as marriage, relationships, adoptions) by preceding them with “gay.”
  • Do not make assumptions about people’s sexuality or their gender. If necessary, ask what pronouns they use. Or, if corrected, accept the change.
  • Don’t be shy in approaching LGBTQ2+ groups you’d like to collaborate with – they’d love to work with you!
  • 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada.
  • We don’t have to approach these conversations as “sensitive topics:” societal norms and expectations are changing so we need to change our mindset and approach.
  • It is important to consider how the next generation perceives things.
  • Think of the user experience: who is your audience and what would they like to hear?
  • Establish a social media voice and stick to it.
  • Understand who you are speaking to .
  • How you represent yourself on the internet stays there forever (including both your responses and your silence to visitor feedback).
  • Make it easy for customers to engage with your social media platforms and use them.
  • Stop talking about what we used to be and start talking about what we are.
  • Spell out acronyms and try to avoid using local slang (i.e. visitors will understand and appreciate “the ByWard Market neighbourhood” more than “the market”).



Check out our Ottawa in the News section to read the articles listed below, and for even more content on Ottawa from media, bloggers, and influencers from all around the world! The page is updated with new content each month, so we invite you to bookmark the section and keep a close eye on what journalists are saying about our great region!

We are kicking off 2019 with some great highlights:

  • Mark Ellwood features Ottawa as one of the best places to visit in February in CN Traveler.
  • Anna Durnall introduces Express & Star readers to Ottawa with her piece Travel review: Ottawa, Canada
  • Foodie blogger Emmanuelle Hubert lists her favourite Ottawa culinary spots and what to see while in Ottawa in two posts on her blog Au Goût d’Emma.
  • Corinne Soulay and Emanuela Ascoli give tips and ideas on what to do on a visit to Ottawa in their article in National Geographic France.
  • Doreen Pendgracs explores more of Ottawa’s chocolate scene in her piece on Chocolatour.
Destination Development

Destination Development


Ottawa Tourism continues to partner with members to extend the reach of its Wi-Fi-based visitor outreach survey. The survey is used to gather valuable data on the visitor experience to help develop Ottawa as a travel destination and gain insights into visitors’ travel habits. Among the visitor experience data collected is Ottawa’s Net Promoter Score (NPS), which shows how Ottawa fares as a travel destination in the word-of-mouth department.  Working with local technology firm MicroMetrics, whose experience in tourism runs deep in the hospitality sector, Ottawa Tourism deployed the survey in 2018 at its inaugural partner location, CF Rideau Centre. It has since been expanded to include the Ottawa International Airport and Canadian Science and Technology Museum. As it continues to work with these partners, Ottawa Tourism is looking to add additional locations for the Wi-Fi deployment of the survey to gather more data in various areas of the city. If you would like to have your location added to the list of partners for data collection, please contact Ottawa Tourism’s Vice President of Destination Development, Catherine Callary.




Ottawa Tourism will host GoMedia Canada 2019, August 11-15, 2019 at the Westin Ottawa and the Shaw Centre, with a special welcome evening at the Fairmont Château Laurier, an opening reception at Lansdowne Park, and a reception at the Canadian Museum of History hosted by Tourisme Outaouais, as well as numerous other locations throughout Canada’s Capital Region.

GoMedia Canada attracts 130 top-tier travel journalists from around the world, and 200 tourism industry representatives from throughout Canada. This is the first time this prestigious conference has been held in Ottawa and Ottawa Tourism intends to make the most of this opportunity to share our stories with the world.

Ottawa Tourism is looking for passionate industry folks interested in helping deliver the best experience to delegates by volunteering! Opportunities include guiding full- and half-day tours for travel media and industry partners on Monday, August 12; assisting with the coordination of red Converse shoes, Ottawa Tourism’s gift to delegates; and assisting during evening receptions.

If interested, please e-mail [email protected] and we will follow up with more details as we finalize the plans. Click here to access the complete details of the Communications team’s presentation to Ottawa Tourism members on December 6 that outlined how YOU can get involved in GoMedia Canada 2019

Travel Trade

Travel Trade


Here’s a quick update of where Ottawa Tourism’s Travel Trade team has been, where it’s going and how you can get involved.

  • Kelly Dean just returned from the American Bus Association Marketplace in Louisville Kentucky where she met with 21 operators.  
  • Nicole Graves was just in Australia with Destination Canada for ‘Canada Corroboree’, where she met with travel agents & tour operators in 4 different cities, did media presentations in 2 cities, and had one-on-one appointments with 32 tour operators.
  • April 9-11, 2019, Ottawa Tourism will be hosting a Canadiana VIP (Very Important Planners) FAM. Please contact Shawna Page if you would like to host a portion of this FAM.
  • April 15-18, 2019, Ottawa Tourism will be heading to Toronto for our annual Sales Blitz. If you are interested in joining this Sales initiative, please contact Danielle Jolicoeur.  
  • Take a look at the Travel Trade team’s sales and activity calendar to see what we are up to this year. If you have any questions about these activities, or you would like more information please contact Shawna Page.
Destination Development​

Destination Development​


Ottawa Tourism has released its 2018 study on the impact of tourism on Ottawa’s economy.

In 2018, Ottawa Tourism worked with InterVISTAS to gather data for an Economic Impact Study showcasing the importance of tourism in the local economy. You may remember answering a survey on tourism employment within your business last summer; and to the many members who contributed to the study by completing the survey, we thank you and are pleased to share with you the results contained in the employment impact section of the study.  This study, released last month, confirms that tourism is a major economic driver for Ottawa and generates $3 Billion in economic output back to our province.

Read the News Release

View Highlights of the Study

Convention Sales

Convention Sales


The last week of January, now famously referred to in the meetings and conventions industry as “Meet Week”, resulted in a successful flurry of activities, in which the meetings and conventions team, alongside partners, had great presence.  From the Meetings Encore Client Luncheons in Montreal and Ottawa, to REVEAL Social and the very well attended Ottawa Gatineau CSAE trade-show Tête-à-Tête 2019, we can say with certainty that the red shoe crew did it all.                                                                       

Tête-à-Tête draws over 550 of the most qualified industry leaders in Ottawa. This is one of the best-attended shows for Ottawa partners and associations.  Ottawa Tourism and the Shaw Centre sponsored Jann Arden, the closing keynote speaker. The renowned musician and bestselling author shared her personal journey, explaining the importance of adaptability, being built for change, and finding good — and even funny — things, even in the most difficult of situations. Her talk resonated with every single person in the room.  The VIP post-keynote meet-and-greet was well received by the lucky 40 planners who won the opportunity to have their photo taken with Jann Arden.

With 16 partners in attendance and a goal of remaining top of mind with our local planners, we look forward to continuing the conversations beyond the trade show floor. 

Convention Sales​

Convention Sales​


Ottawa Tourism’s meetings and conventions team went on a mission out west and is heading to the UK.

The team recently attended Go West 2019 in Edmonton, Alberta. GO WEST™ is an annual event that focuses on education, innovation and networking. This year, the show brought together over 500 global industry thought-leaders who presented the latest trends and ideas to enhance the attendees’ knowledge and network.

At the beginning of March, Ottawa Tourism and Shaw Centre staff will be in the UK for a sales mission.   Sales calls are being set up in London, Manchester and Edinburgh with leads that have been generated over the past year at IMEX Frankfurt, IBTM and other recent sales efforts overseas.  Other events include a client breakfast organized by our UK representative, Watterston Associates and an education breakfast session with clients organized by C&IT (Conference and Incentive Travel Magazine).




Ottawa Tourism encourages you to save three dates for important events on our calendar.

Member Training – Trip Advisor Seminar

Wednesday March 6  – Ottawa Conference & Event Centre

Register here by Thursday, February 28  Register Now

2019 Ottawa Tourism Awards

 Thursday, April 25 – Aberdeen Pavilion

Ottawa Tourism/OGHA Golf Tournament

*Note change of date

Monday May 27 – Canadian Golf & Country Club




Ottawa Tourism recently travelled to Toronto update Destination Ontario on local happenings.

As part of Ottawa Tourism’s outreach, Jantine Van Kregten, Director of Communications did a 2019-2020  Ottawa product update to 30 Destination Ontario staff from both the Toronto and regional tourism offices.  Both she and Diane Houston, Director of Travel Trade also attended meetings with their Destination Ontario colleagues in media and travel trade to discuss business plans for 2019-2020.




On Wednesday, February 6 over 50 Ottawa Tourism members gathered for a professional development session on how to speak effectively to the media.  Led by Jeff Ansell, an internationally renowned communications trainer and bestselling media communications author, members were given real life examples and interactive brainstorming time to practice speaking to the media and key stakeholders.

Jeff left us with some key things to remember:

  1. Know what you want to say prior to media interviews
  2. Support your messages with facts
  3. Quote third party experts to support your case
  4. Use short, clear sentences
  5. Follow your comments on the problem with your solutions on how you will be rectifying the issue
  6. Don’t wait for the right question to be asked (it may never come!), instead, use the time you have to reinforce your key messages
  7. Sound conversational
  8. Use inflection and emphasize words to strengthen your message
  9. Have meaningful eye contact with the interviewer
  10. Use your eyes to match your tone
  11. Pause to be thoughtful
  12. Don’t speculate or answer a hypothetical question
  13. Never say “no comment”
  14. There’s no such thing as ‘off the record’
  15. Presume you’re always being recorded
  16. Don’t answer a question you don’t fully understand — ask for clarification or rephrasing the question
  17. Don’t repeat negative words
  18. Acknowledge the concerns of the other side
  19. Be a good listener
  20. Breathe to stay calm, focused, and in the present moment
  21. Use your hands to help you talk
  22. Look like you mean it and sound like you mean it!
  23. Remember – you are only as good as your weakest quote
  24. Speak slowly.  Slightly stretch the vowel sounds in each word.
  25. Words are like toothpaste.  Once they come out they can’t go back in.

Jeff’s book, When the Headline Is YOU: An Insider’s Guide to Handling the Media, is an Amazon PR bestseller and is on the curriculum of many universities and colleges throughout North America. It can be found at this link.  His LinkedIn Learning video series, Communicating with Confidence, is a top 5 online course for 2018, with 1.3 million views.