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Alberta’s Experiential Travel Training with an Incentive

by Nancy Arsenault on September 8, 2014

As part of their continued, strategic growth that began with the brand, then engaging travellers with identifying their ‘Goose Bump Moments’, and ensuring industry had access to the leading edge Explorer Quotient research from the Canadian Tourism Commission, Travel Alberta is now working in partnership to stimulate product development.

In an announcement today, the VP for Industry Development, Shelley Grollmuss, announced that Travel Alberta will partner with the community of Jasper and Alberta Tourism Parks and Recreation (ABTPR) to stimulate product development and enhance the visitor experience. Representatives from Tourism Jasper, Jasper National Park and Travel Alberta will form a ‘ground team’ to work with the trainers to plan the customized program and select businesses to be coached as experience providers for the training, but also to have new product to market for 2015 and participate in a case study so others can learn.  ABTPR is adding an incentive to participants who apply their learning and put new product to market – they will have their workshop training fee refunded, thus adding the final push to convert, which will be supported by post-course coaching.

The Tourism Cafe Canada, in partnership with Earth Rhythms, our longest and dearest experiential travel training partner, is thrilled to be awarded the opportunity to work in yet another province on a long-term developmen tbasis, and build on the excellence in experiential travel training led by the Gros Morne Institute for Sustainability – now it’s its 9th year for training Atlantic Canadian tourism operators and those that support the industry such as destination marketing organizations, chambers of commerce, economic development and government employees with a tourism portfolio.

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Must People Be So Cynical?

by Nancy Arsenault on August 22, 2014

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge!  It’s the hottest topic in the media these days and the best fundraising sensation since Terry Fox  run across Canada to raise funds for cancer (now at $650M).

I watch with amazement as people from all walks of life engage with this campaign – either by taking the challenge, donating, or both.  All are good in my books. Attention is being raised, people are taking action and folks are talking about a lesser known, serious issue in our world.

Yet there are the cynics out there. Yesterday, Shirley Steinberg, a youth studies professor at the U of C says the challenge is primarily about self-indulgence and narcissism.”  Prove it I say. Opinions without substantiation are just that, opinions. Adding negativity to this story achieves what?  And coming from a professor, whose career should be grounded in solid facts and constructs, it is disappointing to say the least.

In a world where death, dying, terrorism, rape, forest fires and a dearth of negative things prevail our media headlines, I for one am refreshed to see a good news story lead the conversation for a change. In assessing this fund-raising phenomena lets look at what is KNOWN.

According to Wickipedia, as of today, the campaign:

*  The New York Times people shared more than 1.2 million videos on Facebook between June 1 and August 13 and mentioned the phenomenon more than 2.2 million times on Twitter since July 29.[21] Mashable called the phenomenon “the Harlem Shake of the summer”.[9]

* ALS Association had received $41.8 million in donations from July 29 until August 21. More than 739,000 new donors have given money to the association, which is more than double the $19.4 million in total contributions the association received during the year that ended January 31, 2013.[23] Similarly, the ALS Therapy Development Institute reported a ten-fold increase in donations relative to the same period in 2014[24], with over 2,000 donations made in a single day on August 20th, 2014, while Project ALS reported a 50-fold increase[25]

To the cynics out there I suggest you think about this.

1.  Their goal was to raise money – DONE in spades.

2.  Their goal is to raise awareness – everyone is talking about it around the world, albeit more education is ALWAYS needed.  Just the Edmonton poll alone of a mere 1000 people reported 350 people have learned alot. I’d love it there’d of been benchmark data, I’m hypothesizing this would be an increase. I wonder what a larger poll would reveal.

Ice Bucket Challenge D

A mini poll that

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* If the challenge has overshadowed the cause does it matter?  They still raised $41 M and that will do amazing good, and the popularity annually will have a lifecycle that is destined to bring in more and more funds – as the Terry Fox Run does, even after his unfortunate death.

* A social media phenomena is supporting a lesser known charity by getting the news out in ways that are fun, engaging and entertaining! Can’t see a problem there either! So what if people are showcasing a bit. Would the cynics prefer they didn’t launch the campaign? That the  this drive to raise awareness and money hadn’t occured?  Celebrities are doing dumb things all the time and getting attention for themselves. Now they are using their status to challenge colleagues – who have tonnes of money to donate – to do so, If they get a little PR out of it, I’d rather see Bill Gates creatively toss ice on his head, than Justin Beiber’s next drug bust.

*The  simplicity of the challenge is brilliant, easy, not-expensive, and virtually everyone can engage in some form – take the challenge, join the momentum and donate, learn about ALS.

Innovative ideas that reap this type of instant results that are a benefit to society are rare. Rather than criticise, why not celebrate. There is enough negative in this world and on the news everyday.  If you could do this to your stock portfolio – you’d jump at it.


Creating Investment in the Canadian Hotel Industry – A new report

August 19, 2014

Did you know the Gateway to Growth: Creating Investment Opportunity in the Canadian Hotel Industry (2014) from TIAC has been released? It profiles an interesting tale about how the drop in international visitation from 33% of all Canadian travel in 2000, to 19% in 2013 has had negative impacts on the hotel industry. Given Canada’s performance, the […]

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Passion and Calling

August 15, 2014
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Mistakes Made Over and Over.

August 11, 2014

“Marketers make two mistakes over and over. They create average, commodity products and expect that people will pay extra for them. Or, in the other direction, they lose their nerve and don’t charge a fair price for the extraordinary work they’re doing, afraid that people will find a substitute.” I agree with Seth Godin. In […]

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Why not smile for the camera?

August 8, 2014

If you go to a networking function – TO MEET PEOPLE AND PERHAPS SOLICIT BUSINESS – you dress for the event, put on your best smile, and find the conversations that will be mutually beneficial (you hope).  Simple. Why is it then, when people join B2B websites like Linkedin for the very same purpose (albeit […]

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Nova Scotia Welcomes Cycle Tourists

August 5, 2014

A year ago I embarked on a cycle tour research project, only to be involved in a significant cycling accident myself that put me on hold for quite a while, and the research on hold for a year. BUT I’m back and so is my renewed passion in looking at the cycling experience as a […]

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Underground or Alternative Accommodations in a Changing World

July 24, 2014

Once again travellers are speaking with their actions and the market is responding. But wait, it isn’t traditional business that is the benefactor, it’s average home owners renting out rooms for a fee.  The number of ‘alternative, unlicensed accommodations’ emerging and providing a service are raising havoc with a tourism industry that is used to control, […]

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Think Before You Click!

June 30, 2014

As Canada’s new anti-spam legislation comes into effect on 1 July 2014, if you are like me, you are getting inundated with requests to confirm if you wish to remain on a mailing list for the purpose of a company pushing sales opportunities into your mailbox. You have 3 options as a consumer: (1) Delete – […]

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What a Cool Way to Repurpose Heritage and Visitor Info together!

June 27, 2014

I love this idea posted by Gareth McPherson of the Observer!  Phone booths, like full-blown  high cost visitor servicing centres, will not exist in the same way we knew them in the 80s. Times have changed – but we still need info.  This clever idea of repurposing old iconic phone booths into mini visitor servicing […]

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