Tourism Connects® A new national online learning program
October 27, 2020
Comox, B.C. - The Tourism Café Canada® announces the launch of Tourism Connects®, a new suite of e-learning opportunities for the tourism industry. Designed to harness the power of peer to peer learning and online engagement, program elements aim to accelerate the growth and resiliency of the tourism industry by focusing on engaging learning and knowledge sharing that is tactical and actionable.
COVID-19 has devastated the tourism industry. “Like many businesses, the pandemic wiped out our entire in-person training business for 2020 and 2021” says Nancy Arsenault, Managing Partner. “What didn’t evaporate were the long-standing relationships with our destination partners, thousands of participants, alumni and our network of amazing small businesses that contribute to the excellence of our training program.”
Adapting to the pandemic requires innovation, co-creation, strategic investment, industry collaboration and terrific partners. “Remote learning will only accelerate in the years ahead” says Lesley Anderson, the Training and Development Manager. “We launched a national research project with the Gros Morne Institute for Sustainable Tourism (GMIST) to identify where the learning gaps were and identified a range of new activities to add value and enhance peer-to-peer engagement to serve a different need than mass market webinars, 1:1 coaching and formal education programs.”
Currently, the Tourism Café has defined new e-learning projects with the BC Regional Tourism Secretariat, Tourism Saskatchewan, Ontario’s Regional Tourism Organization 8, Travel Alberta, and GMIST, with three more in discussion. Each project has a different foundation, target audience and unique content focus. Partner and lead researcher Jane Osler, of PJ Osler and Associates, confirms “the goal is to launch and learn together, share the outcomes and advance sustainable, affordable and flexible online learning that meets the needs of the tourism industry at a time of great uncertainty and challenge”.
Arsenault is no stranger to developing new educational systems. Early in her career she was instrumental in developing and launching the overseas education program in Germany for the Department of National Defence and the University of Manitoba. Mid-career, she became the first female dean of the Faculty of Tourism and Hotel Management at Royal Roads University, now a school within the Faculty of Business. In 2010 she launched the Tourism Café and returned to her first love in education – industry training in support of small, medium and rural businesses.
When asked ‘why are you doing this?’, Dr. Arsenault states, “Our team loves the tourism industry and the passionate partners and people we work with all across Canada and abroad. It breaks our hearts to see what has happened as a result of COVID-19 and want to add innovative learning solutions as our contribution to resetting a sustainable future. Tourism Connects® will focus on micro-learning programs to ensure the knowledge can be accessed in ‘bite-sized bits’ and easily updated as the knowledge needs evolve. Additionally, with our new collaborating partner, Gaetane Palardy, of Island Gourmet Trails, we plan to serve the Francophone market as well.”
About the Tourism Café Canada®
Celebrating their 10th anniversary in 2020, the Tourism Café is an award-winning tourism training and industry development company.