Another industry icon moves on! This has been a big year ! I thought I'd share three of my favourites!!
First it was Newfoundland's Stan Cook Sea Kayaking Adventures (http://www.stancook.ca/) who closed their family business after nearly 30 years. An industry icon, Stan not only operated an award-winning company, he served the tourism industry in so many ways including the Chair of TIAC - no small feat for a small business! And while the loss of their company for visitors to the St. John's area will be missed incredibly, Stan found a new challenge as the Manager for the Torngats Basecamp in Labradorand remains the chair of the Gros Morne Institute for Sustainable Tourism and a board member with Destination Canada. He remains with our industry! I've known Stan for almost 20 years and love his sense of humour, his realism, and respect his tourism talents immensely
2018 saw Destination Canada's longest standing employee Frank Verschuren retire. Frank was well known to anyone on the product and experience development side of our industry. Remember the product development club? That was Frank! He, along with Lesley Anderson of the Tourism Cafe, was one of the creators of, and managed the Canadian Signature Experiences. A 36-year veteran of the organization, Frank's deep connections and caring for tourism operator will be hard to replicate in today's employment world. So, while it's hard to imagine a future with this freshly minted retiree - you never know when the right gig will call him back to share his expertise on a project or two within the tourism industry. Frank was one of the first people I met when I joined the tourism industry in the late 90s. He's been a friend, mentor and someone I would always turn to at the national level to provide sage advice into our training for small and rural businesses wanting to excel on the national stage.
And this week, Mary Tulle, CEO of Destination Cape Breton has announced she is leaving her position after nine years of incredible leadership and a career in tourism. I can't even remember when I met Mary, for sure well over a decade ago for sure! She oozes creatively, understands the industry, has a passion for everyone in her destination and Nova Scotia. Always a friendly voice to reach out to, she has shared her sage advice on many occasions to enrich our training to help others succeed. It's hard to imagine CBDA without her ... but I'm betting this is not the end, just a shift to a new chapter - stay tuned.
As these announcements begin, and I think of the many icons in their 50s and 60s, it is a reminder that we have to learn as much as we can from those in leadership positions, people who inspire our industry. We are fortunate, how each in their own way, have contributed to Canada's tourism success and helped set the stage for people from around the world to discover and enjoy Canada.
As these icons begin to pen new chapters in their career - I personally want to say thank you, to each of you, for everything you have done 'to date'. Thank you for the positive influence you've had on me and our activities at the Tourism Cafe.
Keep on smiling, keep on enjoying life - it's what I love most about all three of you.