Ottawa Tourism

Member Newsletter

November 2018

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




We are nearing the end of a successful 2018, have turned our sights to 2019, and the Ottawa Tourism team has been hard at work developing plans for the upcoming year. We hope you will join us for an overview presentation of our 2019 plans and strategies, highlighting our sales and marketing initiatives, followed by a Q&A session. This complimentary presentation takes place on Thursday, December 6 from 2:30PM – 4:30PM at The Ottawa Marriott, Victoria Ballroom.

Register to attend here: Ottawa Tourism 2019 Plans & Strategies Presentation




Immediately following the 2019 Plans & Strategies presentation, please join Ottawa Tourism staff and members at our annual Holiday Reception.  The event starts at 5:00PM on Thursday, December 6 in Summit at the Ottawa Marriott. We hope to see you there!

Purchase tickets here: Ottawa Tourism 2018 Holiday Reception 

Destination Development

Destination Development


Ottawa Tourism’s Destination Development department is actively looking to develop new and improved experiences that will respond to gaps in our destination offerings and will contribute to increase visits to Ottawa. Two new RFPS have been posted and we encourage serious proponents to submit proposals. We are looking to develop a festive winter/holiday market as well as a permanent, site-based horticulture attraction. These two Request for Proposals have a closing date of Friday, January 10, 2019. For more information, please follow the links provided below and/or connect with Traci Despatis, Manager, Cultural Tourism Development at [email protected]

  • A Festive Winter/Holiday Market is an outdoor event which celebrates the traditional sights, sounds and scents of the season in the weeks leading up to the holidays and/or other key winter dates. View RFP
  • A Permanent, Site-based Ottawa Horticultural Attraction will present a comprehensive, well-thought-out vision for an experience tied to a specific site, which will operate either seasonally or year-round, and will be rooted in a horticulture or garden offering. View RFP



Ottawa Tourism recently launched the second series of Ottawa’s Own videos via social media. The series kicked off October 26 with a video featuring Briana Kim, chef-owner of Café My House, who was nominated by many Ottawans, and goes on to introduce five other inspiring locals: a hip-hop dancer and choreographer, a yoga instructor and restaurant and yoga studio co-owner, a craft brewery co-owner, a singersongwriter, and a bartender and mixologist. Check out the new series at Videos are being released through social media in the GTA to incite visitation interest among millennials.




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! Here are some recent highlights:

  • Family travel blogger Yashy Murphy published some great Halloween and Fall-themed content on her blog Baby and Life, as well as on her YouTube channel.
  • Franck and Richard of the blog One Day One Travel document their fun afternoon in Ottawa in a YouTube video.
  • Valérie Thibault features the Canadian Museum of Nature on Famille au menu.
  • Nathalie Katinakis tells us about her favourite Ottawa spots on her blog, Une porte sur deux continents.
  • Jody Robbins showcases how to make the most out of visiting Ottawa in the shoulder season in her WestJet Magazine

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!




Thank you to everyone for your interest and support for Ottawa Tourism’s weekly “What to do in Ottawa” emailer and web posting! The emailer and post are distributed weekly to the Ottawa Tourism membership base, posted online, and shared over social media. The intention is to provide front-line staff, members, and visitors with timely information about special and seasonal events occurring usually over the weekend after which the information is made available. The information is distributed and posted on Thursday mornings each week. You can always find the most recent list on our “Things to do in Ottawa this Weekend!” page. Due to the increased interest in the tool, we wanted to share a bit more information about how events are selected and featured. If ever you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to Julia Thomson at [email protected].

The events featured are pulled mainly from the Ottawa Tourism event calendar, a tool to which all members are encouraged to submit their special events. Anyone can submit an event to the calendar, although events that take place over multiple days, are free, are available for visitors to participate in, and that have a long lead-time are prioritized. To submit simply fill out the online form with the event name, description, photo, date, and location in English and French. The Communications team will then process the submissions and post the event if it is suitable for the calendar. We encourage you to submit your event more than 6 months ahead of time to get the most out of the calendar! We reserve the right to approve all events at our discretion.

The weekly emailer and web post content is then pulled from the event calendar, as well as other event calendar sources. The list published attempts to balance featured events by region, venue, audience, cost, etc. in order to appeal to a wide audience, and aims to present approximately 10 events. We can never guarantee that an event on our event calendar will be featured on the list but do our best to be fair when including events.

We can’t feature your event if we don’t know about it, so please submit your special event to the Ottawa Tourism Event Calendar to put it on our radar and make sure to visit the calendar to see more about what there is to do in Ottawa!

Convention Sales

Convention Sales


Thanks to all who helped make hosting the Canadian Society of Association Executives (CSAE) 2018 National Conference in Ottawa such a success! The event brought 500 delegates to Ottawa October 23-25 for an action-packed week with exciting activations. The conference kicked off at Sens House Tuesday evening with Ottawa signature act, Dueling Pianos. On Wednesday, our friends at the Westin Ottawa Hotel hosted the Welcome Reception, followed by a live band at Lowertown Brewery. And Ottawa Tourism hosted the Reception and Gala Evening on Thursday. Thanks again to all members who made this important conference a memorable occasion for all.

Travel Trade

Travel Trade


Ottawa Tourism had a busy October, starting in the UK and ending in Japan, Korea and China.

  • 1-5 Destination Ontario UK Sales Mission: Nicole Graves had one-on-one meetings with 12 UK tour operators, trained over 20 Canadian Affair staff, and presented to agents in London and Dublin (approximately 60 agents at each).

Asian passenger numbers to Canada are important. Ottawa’s passenger numbers from these markets in 2017 account for the following; China 41,000, Japan 15,000 and South Korea 12,000 passengers.

In each marketplace and sales activity staff were accompanied by a large Ontario delegation from Niagara, Toronto and Blue Mountain area. Here’s a quick summary of each.

  • 9-12 Showcase Canada Asia: 225 Canadian sellers involved.  Members attending DC marketplace were Canadian Museum of History, Parks of St Lawrence and Rockport 1000 Island Boat Lines There were a total of 95 marketplace appointments.
  • 15 Destination Ontario Japan Sales Mission: 13 Ontario suppliers involved. Mini-marketplace, networking trade lunch and 40 clients trained. A total of 14 appointments.
  • 17-18Destination Canada Focus Canada Korea: 42 Canadian and 17 Ontario sellers participated. A total of 40 appointments.
  • 21-26 Destination Ontario China Sales Mission: 16 sellers including six Ontario Chinese Receptive Operators. Three cities—Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Xiamen—hosted 35 trade and 33 media. Attended eight sales calls and trained 351 agents/operators. Destination Ontario’s sales team in China, Oct. 22-26, 2018.The China market is quickly changing as the middle class is travelling more and families are travelling in some groups (1-2 families) travelling together which is considered an FIT. These families are using tour operators to help customize their itineraries. Additionally, these families are asking for more activities as they have children and need to keep them entertained. Destination Ontario sales team visiting Dista, China wholesaler; Diane Houston holding copy of Ontario package including Ottawa.Members should embrace this growing Asian market and think about providing services to tailor to these markets. Kingston Tourism and Ontario Tourism staff with East Link and Maple Vacation Presidents who were part of the DO sales missionAs the Canadian population changes, more new Canadians are bringing their relatives to visit their capital city. Whether you market overseas, attend marketplaces or sales blitzes, you have various opportunities to attract these markets through Ottawa Tourism’s Marketing campaigns towards New Canadians.
Travel Trade​

Travel Trade​


Ottawa Tourism recently hosted 16 MICE buyers from China for a visit to the capital. Ottawa’s fall colours coupled with the first snow of the season (considered good luck in Chinese Culture) and excellent partner welcome left a lasting impression on this emerging market. Thank you to participating partners, the extra effort was well received.  Since their visit, two leads have generated and a survey sent to gather buyers intentions on booking Ottawa for future events.

​Travel Trade

​Travel Trade


Ottawa Tourism recently attended two major travel trade events in Quebec and Ontario.

Bienvenue Quebec

Ottawa Tourism worked with Outaouais Tourism to host a VIP Booth at Bienvenue Quebec. On the first day of appointments, buyers were given an empty bag and they had to come to the VIP booth to fill it with Ottawa Coffee Beans–and over three-quarters of the Buyers came to fill their bag of coffee, and enjoy a cup of local brew. On the second day, buyers were given and invite to come to the both again to get a gift of chocolate, and over half came to indulge their sweet tooth.


Members and staff hosted the Ontario Motor Coach Association (OMCA) luncheon in Windsor, Ontario Nov. 13 as part of the annual OMCA convention.  This annual marketplace allows motor coach operators and tour planners to meet with tourism suppliers. The next OMCA convention is planned for Ottawa in Nov. 2019. Members interested in connecting to with the group and FIT market should consider becoming a member of OMCA in time for next year’s marketplace. Contact Kelly Dean.

Major Events

Major Events


Ringette Canada has selected the City of Ottawa Ringette Association (CORA) as the host for the 2020 Canadian Ringette Championships. The 2020 event will be the 42nd national championships for the sport and represents the second time the Ottawa region has hosted, with the 1996 event being held in Gloucester. Ottawa also hosted the 2007 World Ringette Championships. The event will be held April 5-11, 2020 and will see between 40-48 teams from across the country competing in three divisions – U16, U19 and the National Ringette League (NRL) division (19+). It is expected the event will bring in over 3000 visitors to the region. The 2017 championships in Leduc, Alberta generated $1.5M in local economic activity. The 2020 championships will be held at the Jim Durrell Recreation Centre, the Richcraft Sensplex, and the Bob MacQuarrie Recreation Complex, with the gold medal games taking place at TD Place.




Ottawa Tourism members have recently been honoured and recognized for a range of accomplishments.

The Ottawa Board of Trade have announced the 2018 Best Ottawa Business Award (The BOBs) recipients that recognize Ottawa’s top businesses, the people behind them, and celebrate the history of innovation & entrepreneurship in the National Capital Region.  Congratulations to our members that have been recognized this year: First Air and RA Centre.

Congratulations to the Glebe BIA for being recognized by the International Downtown Association as a winner of the Downtown Achievement Awards which identify outstanding improvements to urban centers by dedicated organizations around the globe.

The Good Food Tour has been recognized as Entrepreneur of the Year by the Carleton Place & District Chamber of Commerce.

Three Ottawa hotels made the 50 Best Hotels in Canada list by Hotel Addict: Andaz Ottawa ByWard Market at #7; Fairmont Château Laurier at #22; Le Germain Ottawa at #28.

Staff Update

Staff Update


Ottawa Tourism has announced a range of new appointments and organizational changes.

  • Catherine Callary is promoted to the position of Vice President Destination Development.
  • Lesley Mackay is promoted to the position of Vice President Meetings and Events.
  • Theresa Gatto is promoted to Senior Manager Business Events.
  • Megan Peckford is promoted to Senior Manager Marketing.
  • Kelly Haussler is the successful candidate for the new position of Manager Destination Development
  • Traci Despatis will remain with Ottawa Tourism on a permanent, fulltime basis as the Manager Cultural Tourism Development.
Business Intelligence

Business Intelligence


Here is a snapshot of our destination’s recent key performance indicators.