Ottawa Tourism

September 2019

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



#GoMedia2019 Went Great!

Ottawa Tourism is proud to have hosted a successful GoMedia 2019 conference last month! We sincerely thank all the members involved in this project. GoMedia Canada 2019, Destination Canada’s signature media event, was hosted in Ottawa for the first time ever August 11-15, and this opportunity allowed us to highlight the destination, tell Ottawa’s stories, and show more than 300 media and tourism representatives from across Canada and around the world how Ottawa is truly Canada in one city. Here are some of the highlights!

  • 11 countries represented, including Canada and Destination Canada’s key foreign markets: Australia, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States;
  • 131 media professionals from the markets listed above;
  • 178 Canadian tourism industry professionals;
  • 14 different themed day tours on Monday, August 12, each with distinct themes across the Ottawa-Gatineau area, showing off the destination’s diverse offerings and providing storytelling opportunities for local businesses;
  • 3 locally hosted evening receptions, including a welcome reception at the Fairmont Château Laurier, opening reception at the Aberdeen Pavilion, and closing event at the Canadian Museum of History hosted by Outaouais Tourism;
  • 3,828 one-on-one marketplace appointments booked over two days, all with a panoramic view of downtown Ottawa at the Shaw Centre.

Coverage of our destination as a result of GoMedia has begun to appear (we expect much more coverage over the weeks and months to come), including:

  • Moira McCarthy’s great article about her love for Ottawa in the Boston Herald
  • Geoff Moore writes about Ottawa’s highlights on The Travel Trunk
  • Patricia Miranda’s article published during the conference about the Northern Lights: Sound and Light Show for the Mexican outlet Reforma


Mission to Netherlands

Mission to Netherlands


Mayor Watson leads a delegation of 20 business and tourism leaders for a five-day mission in the Netherlands from Sunday, September 15 until Friday, September 20. There will be representation from our Ottawa Tourism team, Invest Ottawa, Canadian Tulip Festival, Assent Compliance, Martello Technologies, and Accenture.

The mission is to recognize the upcoming 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands, and strengthening business and tourism relations between Ottawa and the Netherlands.

While in the Netherlands, the delegation will meet with partners in The Hague, Rotterdam and Amsterdam, with some delegates also travelling to Eindhoven.

The mission’s goals include:

  • Promoting Ottawa as the preferred Canadian destination for Dutch leisure and business travelers;
  • Facilitating business development in the Netherlands for Ottawa-based companies operating in key sectors, including autonomous vehicles, Smart Cities, software and defence; and
  • Exchanging information and best practices in areas such as flood prevention, active transportation, affordable housing and the nightlife economy.



Marketing has launched two new fall campaigns and content to simultaneously promote seasonal Ottawa attractions to nearby markets. The first is a digital campaign titled ‘Where could you be…’ that uses beautiful fall imagery and video to show Montreal and Toronto residents what they could experience in a quick trip to Ottawa this weekend. These ads are running on Google Display, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Spotify!

The second fall campaign continues our three-day itinerary approach to encourage people to stay longer and includes an inspirational hero YouTube video, and several themed activity articles to spark travel interest this season (such as Best fall treats in Ottawa, Fall Rhapsody and Top places to photograph in Ottawa this fall).

Other popular articles have been updated to reflect the new season, which also make for great social media content. Share away!

Also new in social media is Ottawa Tourism’s IGTV channel! Hosted by local social stars Mel and Laszlo, each portrait style video focuses on a different Ottawa experience. Three have been published so far, with three more to come in this series. Follow the Ottawa Tourism Instagram if you’re not already, and remember to use #MyOttawa on your posts.

Destination Development

Destination Development


As we shift gears into fall, many Ottawa attractions will be welcoming new frontline team members with students coming back. As you on-board your new hires, don’t forget that Ottawa Tourism offers Ottawa Host, a complimentary online customer service training suite, which we encourage you to build into your on-boarding practices. This is a win-win-win in that the modules provide training on both customer service and destination awareness, while not costing your business a cent to use, and your trainee receives the benefit of a certificate of completion which is theirs to keep as additional certification.

The I Know #MyOttawa and I Host #MyOttawa modules together offer frontline staff a well-rounded basic approach to customer service and destination knowledge. We encourage our members to set a target for their staff to get the certification on customer service from Ottawa Tourism by completing the 2 half-hour modules. These 2 customer service modules, taken together, will work to elevate your frontline personnel’s skills to the next level.

Meetings & Conventions

Meetings & Conventions

Ottawa Tourism’s Meetings & Conventions team had a busy summer selling season.
The summer months were full for Ottawa Tourism’s Meetings and Conventions team. Our sellers have been pounding the pavement and avidly spreading the Ottawa word at various conferences and tradeshows. The team attended FICP in Birmingham, PCMA Educon in LA, ACCESSE in Baltimore, AMC’s Engaged! in Columbus, ASAE Executive Leaders Forum in Quebec City, and three events in Toronto: FICP Canadian Seminar, MPI WEC, and Canadian Meetings & Events Expo (CMEE). A few highlights include:

  • Canadian Meetings and Events Expo, August, Toronto

Formerly Incentive Works, the 2019 CMEExpo had a strong Ottawa presence, with 16 industry partners connecting and interacting with meeting planners. Delegates were wow-ed with quality Ottawa-sourced gifts and the chance to meet Debbie Travis at our jam-packed book signing in the Team Ottawa booth.  

  • ASAE Annual Meeting and Exposition, August, Columbus, Ohio

With over 2700 association executives team Canada continues to make strides within the US. The conference includes a two day tradeshow which boasted 710 booths on the floor with a ratio of 58% buyers to sellers. With 80 leads, 15 of which Ottawa will be considered, the Meetings and Conventions team looks forward to keeping Ottawa top of mind with this audience.

  • The 2019 AMO Annual Conference in the Capital

Ottawa Tourism, in partnership with the City of Ottawa, hosted the 2019 AMO Annual Conference from August 18th – 21st, 2019. This was the third consecutive AMO conference hosted in Ottawa and we look forward to welcoming them back again in 2020, 2022, and 2024. As part of this conference, we hosted the City of Ottawa Welcome Reception at the Heart & Crown ByWard Market.

  • IMEX America, September, Las Vegas

With a full diary of hosted buyers, the three-day trade show, coupled with education and networking opportunities, allowed team Ottawa to meet with a host of planners at one of the biggest meeting market in the world.

Mee​tings & Conv​entions

Mee​tings & Conv​entions


Mark your calendars for the inaugural Think Ottawa Gala at Shaw Centre, Thursday, November 28 from 6-10 PM.

This event will celebrate the local champions that have helped bring international meetings to our city. For more about the program, visit Think Ottawa.

Staff News

Staff News


Ottawa Tourism was pleased to welcome two new members to our team over the summer. The Meetings and Conventions team welcomed two new employees – Annika Rautiola joined the team in as the Meetings Researcher in Sales and Rob Kawamoto joined the team in as the Senior Strategic Advisor, Major Events. Meet our new team members:

Annika Rautiola joined our Meetings & Conventions team in June as Meetings Researcher. She comes from adventure travel sales and marketing background but is eager to dive into the world of international conferences. At Ottawa Tourism her role involves lead generation and prospecting international conferences, and working closely with the sales team. Annika will also be leading the Think Ottawa partnership with Shaw Centre and Invest Ottawa. Annika has just moved back to Ottawa after having been away in British Columbia – and she claims to miss the Ottawa winters!  

Rob Kawamoto’s hospitality and tourism industry career spans over 30 years, holding hotel and DMO leadership roles in sales and marketing, catering, rooms, food and beverage with Delta Hotels & Resorts, Marriott Hotels of Canada and Marriott International Global Sales Organization, Tourism Toronto and Tourism Kingston. He has successfully worked with major business event organizers and major event accounts like the NBA, NHL, Hockey Canada, Pan Am Games, Ontario Summer Games, Little Native Hockey League, the CSTA, Deloitte, BDO Dunwoody and Boehringer Ingelheim.

Me​etin​gs & Conve​ntions

Me​etin​gs & Conve​ntions


Ottawa Tourism is a sponsor of SAAS North 2019, Canada’s largest Software as a Service conference, returning to Shaw Centre November 26-27. This year’s lineup of speakers, programming and networking opportunities connects founders, investors and executives like never before. Interested in joining 1500 entrepreneurs from 500 companies around the world? Use Ottawa Tourism’s special promo code OttTourism25 for 25% off conference registration.




The 18th Annual Stars of the City Recognition Evening is coming up on November 13. Recognizing customer service excellence, the Stars Of The City program empowers Ottawa and Canada’s Capital Region in becoming known as a top shelf destination that prides itself on superior customer service across all sectors. It creates awareness within the tourism industry, and for visitors and residents alike, about the importance and benefits of nurturing and rewarding frontline staff through attention-grabbing visuals of an acrobat actually bending over backward, with the tagline “has someone bent over backwards for you?” and a call-to-action to nominate those frontline individuals for community recognition.

Our Recognition Evening takes place on November 13 at Algonquin College, where the hospitality stars of today are served by the hospitality stars of tomorrow. Tickets will go on sale later this month, and a member notification will go out to alert you at this time. We encourage businesses to take part in this important Recognition Evening whether or not your frontline staff are finalists – take advantage of the networking opportunity, the industry engagement, and see how your business can become involved with the Stars of the City program (hint: it’s a program for everyone). Find out more about the program on the Stars of the City website.



Here are some highlights of recent articles about our destination from travel writers and influencers around the world.

Help spread the word by sharing them on social media.

  • Carri Wilbanks has produced this great feature on Le Boat and the Rideau Canal, including a portion about Ottawa;
  • A Brazilian-Canadian blogger known as Gaby no Canada who blogs in Portuguese but lives in Toronto came to Ottawa in conjunction with Attractions Ontario to try out the new Oh Canada Eh? show and to visit Ottawa. She’s produced a video and a blog post as a result;
  • Diana Ballon wrote about weekend getaways that include both urban and rural experiences for Travel Life;
  • Ottawa is listed as an inexpensive Labour Day weekend getaway here on
You’re Invited

You’re Invited


Tourism HR Canada is inviting members of Ottawa Tourism to take part in a 2-day focus group session to help shape a set of competencies being developed for skills training in tourism. The session will focus on defining the future skills needed in tourism and Tourism HR Canada is looking for Hotel General Managers and F&B Managers to attend.

The session runs on September 24-25, 2019 in Ottawa and travel, accommodation and meal expenses are covered. More information on making a travel claim will be provided to the participants. By sharing their knowledge, experience and opinions, participants will help shape the future direction of skills in tourism. They will also have the chance to connect with other tourism professionals. For additional information about the project, session and the participants’ role, as well as to confirm attendance, please contact Diana Noll at [email protected]. Places are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.