Ottawa Tourism

June 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 members and partners convened at the Westin Hotel’s Twenty Two June 4 for the Annual General Meeting.  The meeting began with an elightening presentation by David Coletto, CEO and founding partner of the local research firm Abacus Data. He shared research relating to this company’s Canadian Millennial Research Practice, which helps businesses better understand one of Canada’s largest and most influential consumer groups. Coletto spoke about Canadian millennial consumer trends and the importance of research-based marketing decisions. A panel discussion on the topic of marketing to millennials followed, featuring Rachel Kerr of the Andaz Ottawa ByWard Market, Laurence de Montigny St-Onge of the Canadian Museum of Nature, Sofie Sharom, Ottawa Tourism’s Social Media Specialist, and Courtney Merchand, Ottawa Tourism’s Marketing Specialist. Following the panel discussion, President and CEO Michael Crockatt reviewed 2018 highlights for the destination and for Ottawa Tourism. The Ottawa Gatineau Hotel Association’s Annual General Meeting immediately followed.

Download the 2018 Annual Report

Learn more about the 2019/2020 Ottawa Tourism Board of Directors.




With summertime underway, so too are our summer campaigns! We are in market with five strategic campaigns targeting various audiences by demographics and interests, including couplesfamiliesmillennialsoutdoor adventure, and national museums. Media mix includes social media, digital advertising, sponsored content, and print, which includes 500,000 free standing inserts distributed in Toronto through the Globe and Mail and direct mail in Montreal.

To drive interest and encourage longer stays this summer, we’ve also launched a 3rd Night Free promotion, offering potential visitors an extra night on us at 20+ participating hotels.

Earlier in June, we launched our Summer Family Fun weekly video series on YouTube in partnership with young local influencer, Rowan Elsmore. Keep an eye out for our next video – each edition has its own theme.

Meetings & Conventions

Meetings & Conventions

Ottawa Tourism and the Shaw Centre partnered with Business Events Canada at IMEX Frankfurt in May. Twenty appointments were booked, with a combination of new, confirmed and tentative leads, and eight new leads were generated.  Appointments were held with International associations, third party agencies, and corporate; with a good mix of hotel and city wide opportunities.

Relationships were also strengthened with tentative outstanding leads such as the International Continence Society (active bid out for 2023). In partnership with Julie Watterston, Ottawa Tourism also hosted a dinner with 15 potential clients.  Four new opportunities were identified at this dinner, two city wides and two hotel-size pieces of business.




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!

This month’s media coverage highlights include:

  • Travel writer Sandra MacGregor highlights family-friendly summer activities in Ottawa on
  • Salut Bonjour editor Myrielle Simard enjoyed a tulip-filled weekend in Ottawa and has written about her spring must-sees on Salut Bonjour Online.
  • Food Network Canada features Zero-waste restaurants and food stores across Canada, including NU Grocery (#6)!
Meet​ings & Conventions

Meet​ings & Conventions

Ottawa was among a number of Canadian cities recently represented at Innovate Canada 2019.  With a focus on Canada’s life sciences, medtech and pharma ecosystem, Innovate Canada 2019 introduced global C-suite executives to the possibilities for trade, investment, expansion, and hosting international business events in Canada.

The four-day event was hosted in Toronto in mid-May. An opportunity to showcase the innovation taking place in Canada’s health tech ecosystem, Innovate Canada spotlighted the work being done across the country as life sciences and destination marketing experts from Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Montreal, Quebec City and Halifax. Ottawa was represented by Kim Ryel, Senior Business Development Strategist for Health Technologies from Invest Ottawa, and Jennifer Diggens, Manager of Business Events with Ottawa Tourism.

Read more about this event on the Business Events Canada webpage at this link.




Has your business launched a successful strategic partnership, undertaken some clever marketing, or made a significant impact on culinary tourism, Indigenous tourism, or community leadership? Are you a unique adventure attraction or an outstanding small business that deserves recognition? Does your leadership deserve recognition as a Business Leader of the Year? All of these are categories open for nomination for the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) and the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) for their Awards of Excellence to be celebrated in the fall of 2019. We know that our members are outstanding, and we want to encourage you to have a look at these categories and consider nominating yourself or your business to receive this provincial and/or national recognition.

Please note, the TIAO nominations close on June 26, so act quickly! The TIAC nominations are open until June 24.




Ottawa Tourism will host GoMedia Canada 2019 August 11-15 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 across 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 assistance from members in the form of promotional and giveaway items. This is a great chance to get your brand and logo in front of top international travel media! If you have 50 or more of the following items that you can spare, please email [email protected] to let us know:

  • Refillable water bottles
  • Sunglasses
  • Hats
  • Umbrellas
  • Small sunscreen bottles
  • Other (we’re open to ideas!)
Destination Development

Destination Development


Ottawa Tourism is pleased to be working with Ottawa entrepreneurs and tourism businesses through our Destination Development Fund to develop new and enhanced experiences for visitors to enjoy in our destination. With one year under our belt, Ottawa Tourism is pleased to share the following successful project applications, which we have categorized according to the Fund’s 5 Project Streams: Attractions and Infrastructure, Expansion of Niche Products, Festivals and Events, Tourism Studies, and Tourism Innovation Fund

Attractions, Facilities, and Tourism Infrastructure Projects 

Expansion of Regional and/or Niche Tourism Products

Festivals and Events 

Tourism Project Feasibility Studies  

Tourism Innovation Fund

  • Project applications underway

We thank everyone who has taken an interest in the Destination Development Fund this year. For anyone interested in finding out more, please check out our Application Guide and Application Form to learn more about the fund, eligibility, and the application process.  For inquiries, please contact Traci Despatis, Manager, Cultural Tourism Development at [email protected].

Travel Trade

Travel Trade


Over twenty-five members joined Ottawa Tourism’s Travel Trade team to represent our destination at the Rendez-vous Canada (RVC) marketplace in Toronto at the end of May. RVC is Canada’s largest annual international tour operator event. This year was the biggest marketplace ever, with 580 tour operators in attendance from Destination Canada’s 10 key target markets.

During the free evening, Ottawa Tourism and 14 members hosted twenty-eight clients for a fun networking activation using Beavertails as the theme, followed by dinner.  A new initiative for the region was the joint partnership of the national museums to position the capital region as a cultural hub. The Canadian Museum of History, Canadian War Museum, National Gallery of Canada, Canadian Museum of Nature, and Ingenium (attending for their first RVC!) united under one banner to show the strength of the region’s cultural product. Kudos to our cultural partners. Ottawa Tourism and members hosted two Rendez-vous Canada FAMs (pre and post). In total the region hosted 37 clients from key trade markets including US, Canada, UK, China, Japan, Korea, India, and Mexico.

Major Events

Major Events

Sport Accord 2019 took place in Gold Coast Australia. The Canadian delegation led by Canadian Sport Tourism once again hosted a successful client event with over 150 International Sport Federations in attendance. Team Ottawa met with over 20 new prospective clients with potential to host events in Ottawa. The international sport market remains a high priority for Ottawa Tourism.

Travel Tr​ade

Travel Tr​ade


Are you interested in learning about the Chinese Market? China has the largest and highest-spending outbound tourism market in the world. Come and learn how you can attract more visitors to Canada’s Capital Region. Join Ottawa Tourism and Dragon Trail Interactive for an afternoon focused on the Chinese travel market. For more information contact Shawna Page.

Meetings & Con​ventions

Meetings & Con​ventions


The PCMA Foundation 2019 Visionary Awards held May 7 honours the exceptional stars in the business events industry. More than 1,000 revelers attended this premier industry black-tie recognition event from the red carpet reception to the awards show and after party.  Ottawa Tourism, alongside Shaw Centre representatives, hosted six clients to continue to hold our presence in Washington DC.  The two-day trip also included two sales calls and a second industry event in Arlington.

Staff News

Staff News


It is with bittersweet emotion that we bid farewell to our fearless Director of Travel Trade, Diane Houston. Diane has decided that, after 34 years with Ottawa Tourism, it is time for her to say goodbye to an organization she has played such an instrumental role in helping to build. Her last day before retirement will be July 2. The news is bitter because of the dedication, professionalism, experience, and knowledge that Diane has brought to our destination. Over decades of experience in her field, she has developed a knowledge of travel trade that is unique not just here in Ottawa, but in Canada as a whole. Among her many career highlights, one of Diane’s greatest accomplishments was leading the development of the China market for our destination, starting over a decade ago in 2006. As an organization and as a city, we are losing her unique and irreplaceable insight, experience, and skill set. At the same time, this news is also sweet, as we’re able to celebrate an incredible career as we wish Diane and her family all the best in the next chapter of her life.  On behalf of everyone at Ottawa Tourism and all the clients she’s spent decades building relationships with, and on behalf of the destination she’s spent so many years helping to sell, please join us in thanking Diane for so many years of service to our destination and to our industry.

We have two members of our team who have left us temporarily on maternity leave: Roslyn Smith, our long-term Executive Assistant to the President and CEO; and Nives Scott, our Corporate Communications Specialist. Nives’ position will be covered during her leave by Julia Thomson, who has been with us for the last three years in a Project Coordinator role. Laura Hutchinson has joined Ottawa Tourism in the position of Executive Assistant to the President and CEO, covering for Roslyn Smith’s maternity leave. Laura comes to us from Destination Canada, where she held the position of Executive Assistant to the CEO. Laura has a wealth of experience in the tourism industry, and previously worked for the Tourism Industry Association of Canada.

Emerson Velasco joins us from Tourisme Outaouais, in the role of Manager, Travel Trade, a position that sees him joining the Travel Trade sales team. Emerson brings to us a wealth of experience in tourism sales and development, as well as fluency in English, Spanish, and French. He has worked in tourism-related roles in a variety of locations, including Gatineau, Montreal, and El Salvador.

Bérengère Bonnet joins us as Marketing Specialist, where she is tasked with helping to build our Meetings & Conventions marketing plan, amongst other things. Bérengère brings to her new role a wide range of marketing experiences in Europe, where she worked both within the startup space as well as within meetings and conventions.

Maïté Aubert-Simard has joined us in the role of Project Coordinator, where she will be working primarily in the Communications department. Maïté comes to us with a wide range of experiences in project management and planning, as well as a business degree from the University of Sherbrooke and a master’s degree in sports management from the University of Ottawa. Maïté’s previous role was as a coordinator with Réseau du sport étudiant du Québec en Outaouais (RSEQ Outaouais), and she is fluent in both official languages.

Outside of maternity leaves and new hires, we are also very happy to announce that Mikayla Palladino, who previously served with the Meetings & Conventions team as Meetings Researcher, has been promoted to the position of Manager, Sport Sales, where she will be working diligently to expand our sporting events market.

T​ravel Tr​ade

T​ravel Tr​ade


Ottawa Tourism organized and hosted a membership-wide Shop Talk on June 13th.  Shop Talk is a networking event where members of Ottawa Tourism can update each other on new activities, events, exhibits, tours, etc. and visit a member that is new or has something new to offer. Ottawa Tourism offers these professional development and industry-strengthening events regularly, and we encourage all members who actively connect with and recruit clients outside of Ottawa, to attend our Shop Talks and see first hand new product and experiences that Ottawa offers.

This Shop Talk featured two exciting Gatineau-based members – Vintage Wings and Artist in Residence Distillerie (AiR). We also thank our member Brew Donkey for providing transportation on their bus. In total, 24 members participated in the event, networking and forming new industry relationships. Stay tuned for future Shop Talk events, which we distribute to all our members.