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June 28, 2022 — Ottawa, Ontario
The Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance, today announced the appointment of four new members and the reappointment of a current member to the Board of Directors of Destination Canada, effective June 23, 2022. These appointments were made following an open, transparent and merit-based selection process.
Brenda Holder is currently Vice-Chair of the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada and Chair of Indigenous Tourism Alberta, serving hundreds of Indigenous tourism businesses across Canada. She has been active in the tourism sector for the last 22 years and is the owner of Mahikan Trails, an innovative Indigenous-owned soft adventure company that specializes in guiding, traditional camps, team building and instructional programs.
Benjamin Ryan holds an MSc in Financial Economics from the University of Oxford. He is currently Chief Commercial Officer of Air North, Yukon’s Airline. He is a member of the Board of the Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon (TIAY); member of the Mät’àtäna Steering Committee, overseeing investment analysis for a first-of-its-kind high-end Indigenous tourism resort in Yukon in partnership with the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations; and member of the Yukon Tourism Development Strategy Governance Task Force.
Martin Soucy has been Chief Executive Officer of the Alliance de l’industrie touristique du Québec since 2016 and has held executive positions in the Quebec tourism sector since 1994. He holds an MBA from the School of Management at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM).
Natalie Thiesen is currently Vice-President of Tourism at Economic Development Winnipeg (Tourism Winnipeg) and has held executive positions in that organization since 2011. Since 2014, she has been a volunteer board member of Festival du Voyageur, for which she is currently President. She holds a Master of Arts in Tourism Management from Royal Roads University, a Bachelor of Commerce from the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University, and a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry from the University of Winnipeg.
Julie Canning, a Destination Canada board member since 2018, is the owner of Banff Trail Riders, the largest Western outfitting operation with a working herd of over 300 animals in Banff National Park. She has been recognized by Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International, making its list of the Top 25 Most Extraordinary Minds In Sales and Marketing.
Destination Canada’s mission is to create demand for Canadian tourism products by marketing Canada as a four-season premier tourism destination. In addition, its Business Events team leverages in-depth global market analysis to target international clusters aligned with Canada’s priority economic sectors. Destination Canada delivers on its mission by leading research, building alignment with the public and private sectors, and working with partners to support destination development.
The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected global tourism. Destination Canada, a federal Crown corporation, has been agile in expanding its focus from international marketing to domestic marketing to encourage the safe travel of Canadians within our borders and support Canada’s tourism sector during this challenging period. It has established a strong foundation to support the sector’s recovery and future resilience.
“People overwhelmingly benefit from tourism in their communities. From large urban centres to rural towns to the ancestral territories of the First Nations, tourism provides well-paying jobs, growth potential for local businesses and opportunities for social connection. The appointees announced today have an excellent track record in the tourism sector. Their wealth of experience and knowledge will help support the recovery and ensure the growth of Canada’s visitor economy, steering Destination Canada to attract even more international visitors. I wish to extend my most sincere thanks to two departing members of Destination Canada’s Board of Directors, Patti Balsillie and Patricia Macdonald. Their contribution to Canada’s tourism sector has truly been outstanding.”
— The Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance
“Our Board of Directors is instrumental in guiding the strategic direction of Destination Canada as we work to drive recovery and resilience for the thousands of tourism businesses and millions of employees across the country. With the addition of these new board members, we are well positioned to seize the tremendous opportunity ahead, enhancing Canada’s competitiveness as a destination for business and leisure travellers, enticing high-value guests to our shores and generating high-quality Canadian jobs. Together, we will build greater resilience for our industry over the long term. I also want to extend my deep gratitude to Patti Balsillie and Patricia Macdonald, whose board terms have expired, for their expertise and leadership, especially during the extremely challenging times caused by the pandemic.”
— The Honourable Liza Frulla, P.C., C.M., O.Q., Chair of the Board of Directors, Destination Canada
A/Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
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