BCRTS Tourism Summit 2021


November 3 & 4, 2021

Virtual Event Centre

Virtual Event Centre

 Virtual Booths

3 GSTC Workshops, 5 BCRTS Panels, 1 Interactive session and 20 Virtual Booths

Free to attend

Free to Attend

Reimagining the Future of Tourism: Rebuild, Reframe, and Rethink

We invite you to come together as a tourism community to learn from everything we've been through and think differently about how we can co-create a vibrant and resilient tourism industry in BC. The BCRTS Tourism Summit 2021 is a joint virtual event, in collaboration with the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). Attend thought provoking workshops and panels, learn from tourism leaders from around the globe, and network with industry colleagues. The BCRTS Tourism Summit 2021 is open to all tourism stakeholders and GSTC members at no cost.

  • Experience a truly immersive virtual event centre
  • Gain insights into the latest trends and developments in destination management, climate action, access and inclusion, Indigenous tourism, and more
  • Network with industry leaders, colleagues, and partners
  • Engage with industry and community representatives at virtual exhibitor booths
  • Bid on unique experiences and products through a virtual silent auction

About the BCRTS

British Columbia Regional Tourism Secretariat is a collaboration between the following five regional destination management organizations: Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association, Kootenay Rockies Tourism Association, Northern BC Tourism Association, Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association and Tourism Vancouver Island.

About the GSTC

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) is managing the GSTC Criteria, global standards for sustainable travel and tourism;
as well as providing international accreditation for sustainable tourism Certification Bodies.

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) establishes and manages global standards for sustainable travel and tourism, known as the GSTC Criteria. There are two sets: Destination Criteria for public policy-makers and destination managers, and Industry Criteria for hotels and tour operators. They are the result of a worldwide effort to develop a common language about sustainability in tourism. They are arranged in four pillars: (A) Sustainable management; (B) Socioeconomic impacts; (C) Cultural impacts; and (D) Environmental impacts. Since tourism destinations each have their own culture, environment, customs, and laws, the Criteria are designed to be adapted to local conditions and supplemented by additional criteria for the specific location and activity.

The GSTC Criteria form the foundation Accreditation for Certification Bodies that certify hotels/accommodations, tour operators/transport providers, and destinations as having sustainable policies and practices in place. GSTC does not directly certify any products or services; but provides an accreditation program through its partner ASI/Assurance Services International to accredit Certification Bodies.

GSTC Workshops

GSTC Destination Management Workshop 1: Measuring Carbon Emissions

Day 1: November 3, 2021 (10:00 AM - 12:30 PM PST)

Innovation Norway's “CO2rism” is a tool for calculating the CO2 emissions caused by transport of tourists to and within Norway. The user groups of this calculator are businesses and destinations marketers, interested in insights on the emissions generated by the guests they want to attract. This allows Innovation Norway to judge both the potential tourist consumption and the CO2 emissions by combining their tourist consumption calculator with this new calculator on CO2 emissions.

Participants in this session will learn how tourism-related emissions can be measured effectively and be taken into consideration when planning tourist activities at destinations.

GSTC Destination Management Workshop 2: Engagement with the Private Sector

Criterion A4 of the GSTC Destination Criteria clearly points out the importance of engagement with the private sector. DMOs should regularly inform tourism-related enterprises about sustainability issues and encourage and support them in making their operations more sustainable. As part of these efforts, a DMO should promote the adoption of sustainability standards and incentivize businesses to achieve certification to verify their claims, such as publicizing a list of sustainability certified enterprises.

Through case studies from destinations around the world, participants will learn how a DMO can better engage the private sector and drive certification in order to make the destination as a whole more sustainable.

GSTC Destination Management Workshop 3: Natural Areas and Visitor Management

Day 2: November 4, 2021 (10:00 AM - 1:00 PM PST)

Tourism in natural areas is a major part of the global tourism industry however, without proper planning and management of tourism activities, there may be negative environmental impacts such as habitat degradation, over-consumption of water, pollution, waste generation, the introduction of alien invasive species, among others. Visitor management plays an essential role in protecting the ecological sustainability of natural areas, providing funding and business opportunities, and creating an enjoyable visitor experience.

Through case studies from North America, Europe, and South America, participants will learn about strategies for visitor management in natural areas.



8:00 AM

Exhibition Hall Open

9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Indigenous Welcome & BCRTS Tourism Summit Opening Ceremony

Brenda Baptiste
Chair, Indigenous Tourism BC (ITBC)
Dr. Kelly S. Bricker
Vice Chair, Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC)
Ellen Walker-Matthews
CEO, Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association
Anthony Everett
President and CEO, Tourism Vancouver Island
Hon. Melanie Mark
BC Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport
10:00 AM - 10:50 AM

GSTC Destination Management Workshop 1: Measuring Carbon Emissions

Ingunn Sørnes
Special Advisor, Innovation Norway
10:50 AM - 11:00 AM

Workshop Break

11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

GSTC Destination Management Workshop 2 - DMO Engagement with the Private Sector

Ingunn Sørnes
Special Advisor, Innovation Norway
Jana Apih
Director, GoodPlace Institute
Milena S. Nikolova
Chief Behaviour Officer, BehaviorSMART
Co-Founder, BeSMART Nordics
Ásta Kristín Sigurjónsdóttir
Managing Director, Iceland Tourism Cluster
12:30 PM - 1:15 PM

Lunch Break & Exhibition Hall : Visit Exhibitors & Place Your Bids on The Virtual Silent Auction

1:15 PM - 2:30 PM

Panel: Shaping the Future of Tourism 

While the COVID-19 pandemic has presented tremendous challenges for Canada's tourism industry, it has also created opportunities to develop innovative partnerships, adopt new ways of doing business, and redefine success. In this panel, the leaders of Destination Canada, Destination BC and the Tourism Industry Association of BC will share how their organizations have responded and how they are charting a path forward to support recovery and shape a re-imagined future for tourism.

Marsha Walden
President and CEO, Destination Canada
Walt Judas
CEO, Tourism Industry Association of BC (TIABC)
Richard Porges
President and CEO, Destination BC
2:30 PM - 3:30 PM

Panel: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in Tourism

For destination sustainability to be possible, diversity, equity and inclusion must be cultivated and celebrated within all levels of the tourism industry. Creating diverse and inclusive workplaces are integral to our industry’s ability to remain competitive, drive innovation and maintain relevance. Join us as we speak with industry leaders who are creating change and opening dialogue to foster a visitor economy that represents a wide variety of individuals at all levels.

Chastity Davis
Founder, Deyen
Darrell Schuurman
Co-Founder & CEO, CGLCC – Canada’s LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce
Joanna Jagger
President & Founder, WORTH Association for Women of Recreation, Tourism & Hospitality
Instructor, School of Tourism, Capilano University
Nesreen Ali
Manager of Inclusion Projects, INclusion INcorporated
Andrea Carey
Founder & Chief INclusion Officer, INclusion INcorporated
3:30 PM - 3:40 PM

Break & Exhibition Hall: Visit Exhibitors & Place Your Bids on Virtual Silent Auction Items

3:40 PM - 4:40 PM

Panel: Tourism Operators Creating a Positive Net Impact

Now more than ever, the drive for tourism to become a regenerative and restorative industry is at the forefront of most of our efforts. Join tourism operators and industry leaders as they discuss their dedication to sustainable practices and the importance of fostering destination stewardship amongst visitors. Learn about the innovative programs and approaches that BC operators have adopted to create a better tomorrow for residents and visitors alike.

Amorita Adair
Chair, Surfrider Pacific Rim
Stephen Gabrysh
Owner Operator, Campbell River Whale Watching
President, North Island Marine Mammal Stewardship Association
Kevin Smith
Captain, Co-owner and CEO, Maple Leaf Adventures
Dave Butler
Director of Sustainability, CMH Heli-Skiing and Summer Adventures
Michael Shapcott
Executive Director, Sorrento Centre
4:40 PM - 5:00 PM

Day 1 Closing Remarks


8:00 AM

Exhibition Hall Open

9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Day 2 Opening Remarks

10:00 AM - 1:00 PM

GSTC Destination Management Workshop 3: Natural Areas and Visitor Management

Dr. Kelly S. Bricker
Vice Chair, Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC)
Jorge Moller
Program Director – Latin America, GSTC
Candace Strauss
Sedona CVB
Dr. Ivana Damnjanović
Professor at Singidunum University
Dr. Qwynne Lackey
Assistant Professor, SUNY Cortland
Jake Powell
Gateway and Natural Amenity Region (GNAR) Initiative
Julia Branstrator
Dr. Christina T. Cavaliere's Tourism and Conservation Lab, Human Dimensions of Natural Resources, Colorado State University
Rogier Gruys
Visitor Experience Manager, Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site
1:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Lunch Break & Exhibition Hall: Visit Exhibitors & Place Your Bids on Virtual Silent Auction Items

1:30 PM - 2:45 PM

Panel: Truth, then Reconciliation

This panel will explore how storytelling and truth telling in tourism can support Canadians and visitors alike to gain a better understanding of Indigenous history and move towards authentic reconciliation. 

Mike Retasket
Director, Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association
Patrick Lucas
Founder, Indigenous Youth Mountain Bike Program
Sophie Pierre
Board Chair, St. Eugene Golf Resort & Casino
Melanie Doolan
Economic Development Manager, Nisga'a Village of Gingolx
Tom Eustache
Maintenance Manager, Simpcw First Nation
2:45 PM - 3:45 PM

Panel: Access for All

Discuss and share stories about universal design, access and inclusion, physical literacy, and encouraging full participation in outdoor tourism spaces and communities across BC.

This panel draws on experiences from frontline initiatives and leaders within those initiatives who are advancing research, community development, sport and recreation infrastructure, and consumer information access to identify and create accessible experiences across the tourism sector.

Participate in a conversation about the key priorities to addressing barriers in the natural and built environment to increase access and inclusion in the services, products, and experiences that you have to offer.

Sonja Gaudet
Regional Access & Inclusion Liaison, Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association
Nancy Harris
Regional Development Liaison, Spinal Cord Injury BC
Dr. Mark Groulx
Associate Professor, University of Northern British Columbia, School of Planning and Sustainability
Janis Neufeld
Founder and CEO, Inclusive by Design
3:45 PM - 4:00 PM

Coffee Break & Exhibition Hall: Visit Exhibitors & Place Your Bids on Virtual Silent Auction Items

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

How to Imagine a Regenerative Future for Tourism - Cultivating the mindset, creativity and process to enact change

Dianne Dredge
Founder and Director, The Tourism CoLab
5:00 PM - 5:15 PM

BCRTS Tourism Summit Closing Remarks

Proceeds from the BCRTS Tourism Summit 2021 Silent Auction will be donated to support wildfire relief in BC. We have partnered with Food Banks BC to identify hard-hit communities across BC and we will ensure that all of the proceeds from the silent auction are dispersed evenly among these food banks.

Food Banks BC is the provincial association of food banks and their membership comprises 102 hunger relief agencies throughout British Columbia. They support their members through the provision of resources that assist their efforts to tackle hunger in communities they represent. This is achieved through the distribution of food and financial donations, providing access to training and capacity building programs, networking opportunities, and as a representative voice to speak to the needs of food banks as well as the hundreds of thousands of British Columbians who face ongoing food insecurity.

We intend to raise as much as we can to support residents of communities affected by wildfire and in order to give attendees more time for bidding, the Silent Auction will open 2 weeks prior to the Summit.

Once you register for the BCRTS Tourism Summit 2021, you will automatically receive the links to place your bids once the silent auction opens.

Successful bidders will be notified by email on November 5, 2021.

Corporate Sponsors

Platinum Sponsors

Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors

Summit Exhibitors

Speaker Sponsors

Hashtag - #BCRTSTourismSummit

Social Media:

Hashtag - #GSTC

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Hashtag - #TOTABC

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Hashtag - #KootRocks

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Hashtag - #TravelNorthernBC

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Hashtag - #CCCLives

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Hashtag - #ExploreVancouverIsland

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, you will need to register to enjoy all of the Virtual Summit features. Attendance is free of charge.
  • Everyone with an interest in learning more about travel & tourism’s recovery, resiliency, and role in regeneration is welcome to attend - including, but not limited to:
  • Tourism & Hospitality business owners, managers & employees
  • GSTC Members
  • Tour Operators)
  • Destination Management Organizations (DMOs)
  • Non Profit Organizations
  • Industry Associations
  • Tourism & Hospitality Students
No. You do not need to download or install any software to participate. You only need to have access to the internet
Your login details will be emailed to you ahead of the event. You can use these details to access the online event.
This is an online event. You do not have to travel to any specific location. You can participate anywhere that you have Internet access. The event is accessible from desktop, mobile and tablet devices.
Recorded content will be available for 30 days following the event for registered participants.
Yes. Like any physical event, we will have a swag bag for you! You can add all of the documents available to the online swag bag in your account and then email them to yourself or share items with your colleagues by simply entering their email.

#BCTourismSummit #TOTABC #CCCLives
Share your virtual experience on social media by tagging
your post with the official hashtags.

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Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association


Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism Association