In a previous blog post I wrote about the positive impact the meetings industry has on Toronto. Now, with the massive and prestigious Microsoft Worldwide Partner Convention (WPC) having just wrapped up in Toronto, I want to expand on that topic. A convention like WPC is much sought after by many cities around the world, and the fact that it’s been held here repeatedly (this was the third time in 12 years) is a testament to Toronto’s ability to handle – and excel at – hosting big, complex meetings.
I have had the good fortune of having diverse experiences and wonderful mentors that helped me get to where I am now in my career and life. In the last decade I felt the strong need to give back in a greater way and began focusing on helping women reach the next level in their careers. These and other topics were the subject of a recent article in the Huffington Post “Women in Business Q&A: Johanne R. Bélanger, President & CEO, Tourism Toronto.”
I hope you enjoy reading it and gain some insight and ideas about your own journey.
How often have you stayed at a hotel and in the course of your stay had interactions with just a few people – someone at the front desk when you check-in and the room attendant who comes to clean your room? But how much do we realize that a hotel is a large and complex organization and those few people you see when you stay are like the tip of the iceberg, with the huge, unseen underwater part all the people who make the place function and make your stay a seamless one. There are all the folks in the laundry, the accounting department, the banquet operations, engineering and on and on.
When many people think about conventions they probably get a vague picture of a bunch of people with badges around their necks wandering around looking slightly lost. But those of us in the meetings industry know that it’s much more than that.
The meetings and convention industry in Toronto is big business – not only for the convention centres and meeting venues, but for taxis, restaurants, hotels, musicians and all the associated services.
This weekend the Blue Jays open their home schedule as the reigning American League East champs. The team – and the entire city – have their eyes on a much bigger prize this year. And next weekend the Raptors, who have already clinched their third consecutive Atlantic Division title, start their playoff run that will hopefully extend well into the hot weather.
There’s no question that Toronto is on a roll. Today we released our official 2015 tourism performance results showing growth for the sixth consecutive year as a record 14 million overnight visitors chose to come to Toronto.
Americans are sitting up and taking notice of Toronto and being on the list of 52 Places to Go in 2016 in a respected publication like the New York Times is just one indicator.
And it’s for good reason – there is great momentum behind the city. The development boom tells us people want to live and work here and when the 2016 NBA All-Star Game chooses Toronto to hold its event for the first time outside the U.S., it means people want to visit here too.