Ottawa Tourism

Member Newsletter

May 2019

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




Over 240 Ottawa Tourism members and guests gathered in the Aberdeen Pavilion April 25 to honour and celebrate outstanding industry performers over the past year. Congratulations to all the finalists and winners!

New Company of the Year

Le Boat

Tourism Partnership

C’est Bon Cooking and Escape Bicycle Tours & Rentals – Bike & Bites Tour

Event of the Year

Tie: Escapade Music Festival and Ottawa Chamberfest

New Visitor Experience

Ottawa Art Gallery

Six other award winners were recognized at the event:

Tourism Champion

Jonathon Harris, Tourism Industry Advisor, Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport

Ottawa Tourism Awards 2019

Don Blakslee Hotelier of the Year

Colin Morrison, General Manager of the Ottawa Embassy Hotel & Suites

Ottawa Tourism Scholarship

Anna Verozub, Algonquin College School of Hospitality and Tourism

Ottawa Tourism Travel Writing Award

Hans Tammemagi, a travel writer from British Columbia

Ottawa Tourism Social Media Influencer Award

Hannah Manning

2018 Star of the City

Colette Latour, Sheraton Ottawa Hotel


View Awards ceremony photos here

View finalist videos here

Read OBJ Coverage and Ottawa Magazine coverage




The Ottawa Tourism Annual General Meeting is coming up June 4 at The Westin Ottawa. Our speaker, David Coletto, is CEO and a founding partner of Abacus Data – a full-service market research and strategy firm based in Ottawa. With over a decade of experience in the industry, David and his partners founded Abacus over 8 years ago, and since then it has grown into one of Canada’s most respected market research firms.

Registration – 7:15 AM

Breakfast  – 7:30 to 8:00 AM

Speaker and Panel – 8:00 to 9:15 AM

Ottawa Tourism AGM – 9:30 to 10:15 AM

Registration here




Approximately 150 front line tourism staff gathered at the Ottawa Art Gallery on May 14 to kick off tourism season with a presentation on “All About Ottawa” and the upcoming construction on Parliament Hill. Ken Evraire delivered an enthusiastic presentation on how to unlock your Service Super Power!!

All attendees received a digital Experience Passport with offers from local attractions and restaurants for front line staff to experience and recommend these members to visitors.




What you’ve heard in the news about the Provincial funding cut to Ottawa Tourism’s budget is true. The Government of Ontario cut 100% of its funding to Ottawa Tourism, resulting in a loss of roughly 15% of Ottawa Tourism’s overall budget. We are working through how this translates onto our 2019 and 2020 business plan. Please rest assured that we remain committed to the important marketing, sales, and destination development work that we do on behalf of Ottawa and you, our members.




Ottawa Tourism is gearing up to launch four targeted consumer marketing campaigns. The first is targeted to outdoor enthusiasts, promoting adventure and recreational experiences in the capital, including rafting, bungee, zip lining, hiking, cycling, and paddling and launches this month.

The second targets millennials with a focus on both urban and outdoor experiences.

The third will target culture and art lovers with creative promoting our National Museums and their awesome lineups of special exhibitions.

The broadly targeted summer campaign will launch in early June, with twin streams targeting both families and couples. All campaigns will use a wide range of digital and social advertising platforms to reach audiences with video, display, mobile and streaming audio ads supported by extensive content appearing on media partner platforms and social channels as well as influencer visits.  The summer campaign will include a 12-page householder distributed to targeted address in Montreal and via newspaper in Toronto. These campaigns are also supplemented by an ‘always-on campaign’ promoting the destination throughout the year. Some campaign samples can be viewed below.




In the lead up to summer, our marketing team has added new content to our website to inspire visits.

During warmer weather months, the number, variety and appeal of Ottawa experiences, attractions and activities multiply–and attracts more visitors. Take a look at and share some of the new content about Ottawa’s patios, cycling, fun events and free activities with your followers to inspire their next spring or summer trip.

Looking for adventure? Check out this article or consider sharing one of our curated itineraries. Find more popular content here.




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:

  • UK-based family blogger Nell Heshram tells all about child-friendly Ottawa museums on her blog Pigeon Pair and Me. Earlier, she produced great pieces on Parc Oméga and how Ottawans celebrate winter.
  • Travel writer Fiona Tapp gives ideas on how to have a romantic holiday in Ottawa in her Forbes article.
  • UK-based travel writer Anna Maria Espsater gives us a taste of four-season fun in Ottawa in Selling Canada’s spring and summer edition.



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 forward to welcoming delegates before and after the conference and is developing an enticing list of reasons for delegates to come early and stay late. If you know of unique opportunities around the city for those dates—or are able to offer discounts or complimentary access to your business or attraction to the GoMedia delegates the weekend before or after the conference—please contact the Communications team at [email protected].

Travel Trade

Travel Trade


Ottawa Tourism, Tourisme Outaouais and members from national museums and Parc Oméga joined forces for a sales and media mission to the UK and France in early April. In the UK, the team visited eight tour operators (staff training included) and met one-on-one with 15 travel media contacts. An evening client event in London welcomed more than 20 travel trade clients and 20 travel media.

Attendees answered Trivial Pursuit-style questions about activities during the four seasons in Canada’s Capital Region. In France, tour operators and travel media attended four different presentations. The team also met with three tour operators. Following this, Ottawa Tourism also travelled to the Netherlands to meet with nine different tour companies across the country to train staff on our destination.

Travel Tr​ade

Travel Tr​ade


Ottawa Tourism and Tourisme Outaouais recently teamed up for a Toronto sales blitz.

In April, Travel Trade members and staff from both organizations travelled to the 6ix to participate in a series of mini-marketplace events for tour and receptive operators. Sixty-one clients from 37 different companies attended at least one of the five events to spend a half day one-on-one meeting with our 15 Travel Trade members, staff and a representative from OMCA.

Clients and members not only enjoyed the individual mini-marketplace meetings, they had more time to get to know each other during networking coffee breaks and lunches. A few of the participating members have already booked business with the clients they met with on this blitz. Following the blitz, Ottawa Tourism headed to NYC for the Receptive Tour Operator Summit East, meeting with 12 receptive tour operators.

Travel Trad​e

Travel Trad​e


It’s not too late to get in on the Sponsored Travel Trade Member Program but you need to act fast!

Ottawa Tourism has developed the program to encourage an even stronger Team Ottawa participation at external Travel Trade activities. This is your last opportunity to apply for this program for the 2019 calendar year. Successful applicants, who meet the criteria, will be sponsored to attend sales activities.

Please click here to open the full program details or contact Kelly Dean with questions.

Please click here for the application form.

Meetings & Conventions

Meetings & Conventions


On May 1, Ottawa Tourism presented a member workshop on all things Meetings & Conventions at the Lord Elgin Hotel. Theresa Gatto and Christina Amos presented topics covering the DMO sales cycle, leads, bid documents, and funding. The appetite for such content was evident as more than 55 members attended. The workshop facilitated meaningful conversations, questions, and takeaways. It proved to be a valuable experience for both the M&C team and our members.

This initial workshop was only Part 1 of the M&C member training Ottawa Tourism has planned. We look forward to continuing peer to peer learning in the fall. Stay tuned for our next workshop announcement that will be Part 2 to this learning opportunity.

M​eetings and Conventions

M​eetings and Conventions


Ottawa Tourism, Shaw Centre and Invest Ottawa are encouraging everyone to ThinkOttawa. Launched April 9 at the Shaw Centre, this new initiative aims to build a network of local leaders who share a common goal to showcase their areas of expertise, business efforts, and industry specific opportunities across the city and across the globe.

ThinkOttawa will support Ottawans in their journey to entice and attract even more international conferences to Canada’s capital. Visit the program website here.

Meetings & Co​nventions

Meetings & Co​nventions


On April 9, Ottawa Tourism and partners hosted six representatives from Global Cynergies, a boutique site selection company headquartered in Arizona. The visit included a flurry of activities to showcase our city’s best sites, coupled with an informative presentation by Lesley Mackay, VP Meetings and Events, which left no stone unturned to keep Ottawa top of mind for these key planners.

Destination Development

Destination Development


As we enter the high season, Ottawa Tourism reminds members of its free online tool to assist in training new and existing employees. The Ottawa Host program offers two concise, approachable training modules that will help set customer service standards in the tourism industry: I Know #MyOttawa focuses on destination knowledge and expertise on what Ottawa can offer to your customers and I Host #MyOttawa provides tips and tools for excellence in customer service.

Certificates are provided upon the completion of each training. We encourage you to integrate this complimentary program into your on-boarding of new hires and frontline staff training in advance of the busy summer season. Click here to view.

Destination Develo​pment

Destination Develo​pment


Ottawa Tourism’s Rural Tourism Strategy is nearly completed and will be unveiled in late May. The Strategy recognizes the importance of leveraging our unique rural assets to create compelling, memorable visitor experiences and provides direction on activities and initiatives that will help to lift the profile and appeal of Ottawa’s countryside.

The Rural Tourism Strategy has been developed in consultation with the Rural Tourism Committee and the City of Ottawa to ensure alignment with new and existing economic development projects and priorities.