Friday, December 31

Top 10 Canadian Adventures by Lonely Planet

Lonely Planet has come up with a great list of Top 10 Canada activities: "No matter your ability, no matter your taste, Canada has an adventure tailored to you, in accessible locations. From rank beginner to seasoned veteran you can find your thrills on the edge of, and sometimeswithin, city limits."

You will find here a few ideas that Great Excursions can help you with!

Wednesday, December 29

Dog sledding in Regina

Here is something you don't see too often in Regina. Dog sledding in Wascana Park. Regina has enjoyed record snow snowfall this year. While the Regina Plain receives on average about 18 inches of rain a year, from a snow accumulation perspective, this winter has turned Saskatchewan's capital into what is evidently a dog musher's paradise. Kudos to our friend Zlatan for thinking outside the box.

Tuesday, December 28

Basalt and waves mystery at Tow Hill, Naikoon Provincial Park - Haida Gwaii

Like mysterious creatures from a distant era, beached at the end of a long journey across the sea, the preserved basalt rocks on display in the Tow Hill area of Naikoon Provincial Park are as beautiful as they are intriguing.

Wave after wave, the surf yields the sounds, lights and the feelings that emerge from finding oneself in a remote part of British Columbia where humans can still experience what it is like to be mere guests in nature's domain.

How sweet it is to take in the sense of place emanating from this magical spot on northern Graham Island; how sweet indeed it is to know that is only one of many others on Haida Gwaii.

Saturday, December 18

Traditional Yukon Dog Musher Sauna and Snow Dip

For those visitors to the Yukon on a dog sledding adventure holiday who seek the total experience, nothing beats the traditional sauna and snow dip. Unlike your typical spa treatment, there is an element of shock associated with this one, and participants rarely lounge around in the snow for more than a few all too long seconds, before heading back into the warmth and comfort of the sauna.

Canada Yukon Husky Dogs Hit the Playground

It’s time for a little fun and games for this team of Yukon huskies just happy to fool around at their favourite playground between training sessions. If the pack instinct makes the team on the trail during Canada’s winter mushing season, it is also at the heart of the chemistry between dog team members. Watching them play is an endless source of entertainment for us mere humans.

Friday, December 17

Yukon Dog Mushers Heading Out Onto the Trail with their Huskies

How will it feel to head out onto the trail with your own team of huskies? You will feel a certain amount of exhilaration, a sense of boundless optimism at the prospect of leading a team of winter sport athletes on what is essentially a quintessential Canadian experience. Above all, you will be learning leadership skills in a little understood place, Yukon, a place where this living history tradition is very much part of the territorial culture, where mushers are valued knowledge-keepers and placemakers, going against the more superficial tourism currents. Authenticity of experience is at the core of mushing protocols and tourism rituals in Yukon and Alaska. Your participation in a trip like this is an investment jn responsible tourism practices that are beneficial to the community, the local economy and move us closer toward sounder environmental stewardship practices. Come make a difference with us!

Thursday, December 16

Southwest Florida idea

If you are planning a meeting in Orlando this winter to meet in Orlando planning to meet in Orlando this winter

Yukon Huskies heading to the spa

All of nature's creatures deserve a break once in a while - Yukon dog sledding huskies as well...especially during the off season. Watch as these fine distance athletes enjoy a well-deserved dip at their favourite local spa. Their choice offers no special treatments or massages - just the simple pleasure of soaking it up at the local creek.

Canadians shun winter staycation for fun in the sun | Canada | Travel | Toronto Sun

Canadians shun winter staycation for fun in the sun | Canada | Travel | Toronto Sun

Is it because Canadians feel more confident about the current economic outlook? Because the early arrival of winter -- at least in the Prairies -- is taking its toll among Canadians longing for an easier ride through winter. Something is obviously in the works.

Many organizations look to sun destinations to hold their business meetings an events. Some great deals are to be had as many products - for instance in the cruise sector are already going on sale. Holland America offers great deals on their Mexican Riviera destinations. Stay tuned for some very interesting last minute deals and solutions.

Wednesday, December 15

Canadian Husky Dogs Fishing in Yukon Stream

Huskies are born to play. Few games fascinate them more than fishing in a stream. This Yukon wilderness moment will charm any husky lover - a prelude to countless endearing moments awaiting mushers when winter sets in from November onwards.

Tuesday, December 14

Yukon Huskies heading to the spa

All of nature’s creatures deserve a break once in a while - Yukon dog sledding huskies as well...especially during the off season. Watch as these fine distance athletes enjoy a well-deserved dip at their favourite local spa. Their choice offers no special treatments or massages - just the simple pleasure of soaking it up at the local creek. 

Sunday, November 28

Royal Wedding Sparks Interest in British Monarchy-themed Tourism

No matter how much one plans, sometimes, things just happen, and one has to explore their potential or risk loosing out on real opportunities.

Great Excursions, the company that I created, is a national tour operator based in Regina, Saskatchewan, a city that prides itself on highlighting the role the British Monarchy plays in how it defines itself, perhaps more than any other city in Canada. Royal weddings don't occur very often, and certainly, when a Royal Visit takes place in Regina, there is no shortage of participants who attend. I thought... What if we developed a trip for British Monarchy enthusiasts who are interested in going to England on, before or after the occasion, to commemorate the wedding?

That's what we have been working on since last week. I will keep you posted on the evolution of the project.

Monday, November 22

Same Day Return Air Transportation from Regina to the 2010 Grey Cup Available

If you have been thinking about going to the Grey Cup for the day, Great Excursions has space available on a special jet charter from Regina to Edmonton for Roughrider fans on game day.

The charter flight for Rider fans will be sold on a round trip basis from Regina to Edmonton with airfares starting from $529 return, plus GST with the following timetable:

* Regina to Edmonton: Depart 1:00 P.M., Sunday, Nov. 28 and arrive 1:15 P.M.

* Edmonton to Regina: Depart 10:30 P.M. Sunday, Nov. 28 and arrive 12:40 A.M. +1

On Grey Cup day the charter and shuttle to/from Commonwealth Stadium will allow Rider fans to take in the pre-game festival, the Grey Cup game and return home that evening.

Jet charter tickets can be booked by visiting our website or calling us toll free at 1-866-975-8687.

Sunday, November 21

Yukon Husky Adventure Wilderness Camp

There is an air of serenity about getting ready to hit the trail after an overnight stay at a wall-tent camp in the Yukon wildernesss. Dog sledding is not only about the trip itself, but also about the wisdom gained while journeying with huskies -- and our companions who may have come all the way from Australia, New Zealand, the United KIngdom, Germany, Austria, Switzerland or from elsewhere in Canada.

Travellers experience a sense of getting back to the basics here, in an environment with conditions that may differ from what participants might experience where they usually live. Nature and its rythms rule here. In the winter, daylight is certainly more scarce around mid-December than in other more southerly parts of the world. The dogs... they just want to play with us, with the knowledge that they are well looked after even in the wilderness. They are well-fed, their paws are groomed, the huskies are kept healthy because they need to be kept happy if the trip is to be enjoyed by all.

So... on we the next destination for the day!

Saturday, November 20

Tourism Industry Watches Nervously As Prince William and Kate Middleton Wedding Plans Unfold

UK and Canada tourism industry stakeholders are paying close attention since Prince William and Kate Middleton announced their upcoming wedding for sometime next year. This could be a brilliant opportunity for British tourism, no doubt. The British economy, which is challenged these days, to say the least, would welcome increased interest in the United Kingdom as a tourism destination. On the other hand, UK travellers who had been considering coming to Canada in 2011 might further delay their plans, according to La Presse's André Désiront who raises the possibility of yet another obstacle to luring UK travellers who might consider staying home next summer to watch the Royal Wedding and the pageantry that usually is associated with it.

While it is true that major sports events like the World Cup of Soccer - that people travel to attend or massively watch on the Tube - can affect consumers' travel plans in some instances, I am not convinced that a Royal Wedding alone would be enough motivation to prevent altogether British visitors from coming to Canada next summer - regardless of whether we are talking about a summer or a spring wedding. If anything, this might simply further delay the consumer decision-making process, just a little bit longer. This is something the Canadian tourism industry has had to contend with on an increasingly-regular basis in recent times, thereby making it more difficult than ever for tourism partners to develop and plan adequate inventories. It is a fact of life for us all now.

So, let's brace ourselves once more, and let's hope we get a wedding date soon. Will it be spring or summer?

Friday, November 19

Planning an RCMP Troup Anniversary Reunion in Regina?

If you, a friend or a family member are planning an RCMP troup anniversary reunion in Regina in the near future, you might find it worth your while to work with a local IATA-member receptive tour operator. A specialist company like Geat Excursions, for instance, knows all the attractions and has all the expert staff. We enjoy privileged relationships with local industry partners who can make a lot of things happen for your group, especially when challenges arise. Trip participants and organizers may gain more benefits as the result and definitely will save money in the process.

Experience tells us over and over again  that a meeting organizer's first reflex is to book a block of rooms in a hotel, and then ask all members to book their own flights. That is easy enough to do for anyone. Then they will look at event venues and other aspects. The challenge reunion organizers will run into as plans evolve is that when it comes to details like shuttle transportation between the hotel and reunion venues, or even getting a quote for a city tour on a per person basis, they will find it difficult to finalize their plans because they have broken up the leverage they initially enjoyed with their project into too many small parts that lose clout independently.

An IATA-member receptive operator offers meeting planning services than range from air tickets sales, staffing services and comprehensive travel insurance services, to registration, transportation, tours, tickets and logistical services What would happen if a participant became ill before coming on the trip or had to cancel for another reason? Would the meeting organizer be able handle emergencies, how much would an individual supplier be willing to extend goodwill if push came to shove. Obviously, all suppliers want to help up to a certain point. But in the end working, with an independent, bonded receptive company goes a long way to ensuring peace of mind for all project partners and the client.

Tuesday, November 16

Winter Dog Mushing in Canada is a Team Sport

After 5 days on the trail, a dog mushing expedition participant spends some extra time speaking to the team players "chilling" before launching into another day of exhilarating fun on the trail. This is the mushing equivalent of a the "pre-game interview" with the players and the coach.... self-administered and Yukon style!

Dog sledding is regularly described as an extreme sport, but above all, it gives a chance to those who decide this is something they want to try to learn about themselves, to understand at a different level how people relate to their environment and the creatures that inhabit it. Mushing is a holiday experience that is truly transformational, in the best possible sense. It involves travelling over great distances without mechanical means, rather, by depending on the goodwill of a team eager huskies helping you reach your destination. This means that your satisfaction about your choice of vacation depends on what you will invest in nurturing your relationship with your dog team. There is no more honest proposition than this.

Monday, November 15

Boot Camp for Calgary Stampeder Fans?

Given that we now know that the Saskatchewan Roughriders are headed to Calgary with a significant following, I was wondering if there might not have been a secret agenda to some of the activities featured recently at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller? Hoping to scare the Riders into submission this Sunday? All in good fun, no doubt!

If you are putting a group together and need assistance with your flights, coach charters and hotels, let us know.

Kayaking with Seals in Vancouver - British Columbia, Canada Commercial

While most of our Canada kayak trips may involve encounters with wildlife, our guest don't usually get to experience it this closely.

This leads me to share this review submitted this weekend by a client from the UK about one of our Clayoquot Sound kayak trips... I thought I'd share it with you for the record....

“Clayoquot sound trip was wonderful”

By Rebecca McBride, UK


I had an absolutely amazing time in Canada and the Clayoquot sound trip was wonderful. I can honestly say it is the best organised trip I have ever been on! The guides were fantastic, the food was unbelievable and yes we had a brilliant group - I had a blast!! I'm still in touch with a few of the people I met and we hope to meet up and kayak again soon!

I must thank you for all of your help in organising my trip and the other pieces of advice and knowledge you gave me.

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

It is incredibly difficult to come up with a 'most memorable' part of my holiday! The whole 6 days were amazing, from start to finish! Firstly the guides who took us on our adventure were amazing, their knowledge of the area was incredible and it was brilliant that they could create our route on a daily basis according to the weather and how we felt! They looked after us so well. Really, they never stopped and were such good company! We had a blast! The kayaking and scenery were fantastic. The equipment we had could not be faulted. Our food was AMAZING! The daily campfires were idyllic and the beaches we camped on were out of this world! I could write for days about my experience but basically, it was all wonderful - I will never forget it!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Be sure to take clothes which are quick drying as it is difficult to dry clothes which get a bit wet! Take warm clothes for the night time and suncream for the day! Little treats are good too!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

We left nothing behind us. The campfires were burnt right down. We didn't use anything that wasn't biodegradable and we took all our rubbish away. We didn't see another soul for days and took everything we needed in our kayaks - no petrol involved! Being self sufficient was part of the overall experience. The lack of home comforts, internet, phones etc was liberating!!

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

INCREDIBLE - when can I go back?

Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

***** I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on.

Sunday, November 14

Whooping Cranes - Quivira NWR, Kansas

We don't get to see whopping cranes like these very often, but we do see them at Last Mountain Lake National Wildlife area, a 2-hour drive from Regina. And when we do see them, usually through a long lens or a spotting scope in the distance among hundreds of sandhill cranes, one gets the feeling of being witness to a very special moment in time.

Husky Dog Sledding by Moonlight in Yukon Canada

The great mystery of nighttime under the Yukon full moon takes an entirely different colour when humans venture to explore it in the company of huskies.

Dog sledding at night is earily satisfying. the musher feels perhaps even more in synchronicity with his or her team of dogs. With only a headlamp to light the way in the forest, and moonlight washing the snow with soft brightness where there are no moonshadows over the open terrain, journeying by dogsled at night is unlike any other experience. It bring a level of intimacy with the animals that is very wholesome for all participants.

Wednesday, November 10

Wagon Ride Ranch Adventure in Saskatchewan, Canada - Great Excursions

One might think that going on a horse-drawn wagon ride is a pretty tame activity for adventure seekers. But those who love draft horses also like to have a little fun too when they get a chance to show their fine team of Percheron at work over rugged Great Plains terrain. This was indeed the case for a group of guest on a ranch weekend break in the beautiful Arm River valley in Saskatchewan. The two hour sunset ride was definitely a treat!

Yukon Dog Sledding Adventure Holiday - 5 to 15 days

Nothing quite describes what it is like as well as this short video filmed on the fly in the Yukon wilderness by a musher as his small group of adventurers gets a chance to open up and let the dogs take it away on Ptarmingan Flats. This is one of many opportunities dog sledding participants get to test their skills when they come on one of our 5, 8, 11 or 15 day trips in this mountainous region of the Territory. They travel along forested trails, up mountain sides, and they also get to stop and enjoy the beautiful surroundings in which they find themselves along the way. You will notice that every trip participant gets to drive their own team -- they get to develop a rapport with the 3 to 6 dogs that become theirs for the duration of the journey.

Before you sign up we tell you how to prepare. Once you are here, we make sure you are well outfitted and ready for what is -- for many who come from as far away as Australia -- the trip of a lifetime!

Tuesday, November 9

Where to stay in Paris -- Suggestions for a travel trade partner from Saskatchewan

Photo: David Monniaux

One of our Saskatchewan travel trade partners asked yesterday if she knew an hotel near the Louvres where she could stay at an affordable price. I thought this might be useful info for everyone.

It has been a few years since I was in Paris now, but I do find the city always amazing to discover and re-discover…

You will find a few videos of interest about Paris and ideas discussed below in the France Stories playlist on our new web TV channel Great Excursions TV.

Depending on how much time you have and your own longing for the authentic Paris, I would suggest that you consider staying at a hotel away from the Louvres, which is a very busy area and likely overpriced… and you are more likely to experience the most aggressive driving on earth… after possibly Cairo, if you dare to cross a street in the neighbourhood. On the other hand, the Metro makes it very easy to travel around the City if you are well prepared, and it gives you more price and destination flexibility if you carry a suitcase on wheels.

Money vanishes very easily in Paris… It is a mystery…. a curse perhaps. When it comes to restaurants… go for the “Table d’hôte menu” – a multi-course meal at a fixed price. They are surprisingly affordable.

To get around when you land, I would take the RER (train) from Charles de Gaulles Airport to the Jardins du Luxembourg, right downtown… a Paris quintessential destination park with chairs that people can move around, great ice cream/sherberts “glaces” and lots of cafés to watch people. It is an eminently walkable district.

Tripadvisor reviews will confirm this…

You will be able to walk into a charcuterie to get some wonderful patés, fresh baguette and anything you want at the price Parisians pay – not tourists- that you can eat in the park or in your room. You could stay at the affordable Jardins du Luxembourg Hotel (3 stars) at around CA $206 a night right now… a bargain in Paris.

To get to the Louvres, all you have to do is take the Metro with one transfer on an average 50-minute ride

Here is a map of the Metro. You can save it as a PDF. It is laid out a bit like a map of the London Underground and easy to read. Here is a printable wallet- size version for you as well.

Here is a primer in English on the Paris Metro

…and a Primer on the RER train from the CDG airport

… at the Jardin du Luxembourg, you will be able to access both public transit systems… another plus.

Please don’t hesitate to call if you have any questions.

Happy trails and… Bon voyage!

Haida Gwaii, Colombie-Britannique - Réflection de Claude-Jean Harel

Voici une réflexion du fondateur de Great Excursions, Claude-Jean Harel, sur l'évolution de Haida Gwaii comme destination touristique, avec les battures de Queen Charlotte City à marée basse en arrière-plan. Ce témoignage se veut le prélude à une série de reportages qui seront diffusées prochainement sur la chaîne Youtube de Great Excursions afin jeter un regard en profondeur sur l'authenticité en tourisme telle qu'elle est mise en valeurs dans ce magnifique archipel de Colombie-Britannique.

Monday, November 1

A reflexion on 20-minutes of Haida Gwaii "island time" spent on the Sandspit to Skidegate Ferry

Haida Gwaii. It takes 20 minutes to cross by ferry from Sandspit to Skidegate Landing. The interconnectedness between the people who live here, the role nature plays in lending the islands their sense of place, and the Pacific Northwest all inspire meaning to any journey to Canada's "Misty Isles". The people here speak of "island time". What is it really? Perhaps, Island time is just time spent living the rhythms that regulate life in the Queen Charlotte Islands. This simply is how it has to be. Surely, it's time well spent!

Thursday, October 21

Harnessing the potential of surfing and stormwatching tourism

Tofino tourism stakeholders certainly knew what they were doing when they consciously acted to capitalize on the potential luring surfers and storm watching tourists represented in off-season revenue generation. Surfers use a renewable resource, they engage in activities that don't even require them to drive anywhere once they are in Tofino. The resource is on the beach.

Stormwatchers do the same. They come to enjoy just being in Tofino, experience the feeling of being out there in the elements, seeing the waves, hearing them crashing and just taking in the whole sensation of finding oneself in that particular environment at that particular time. When operators and marketing experts think of product development and destination management, those are key indicators of success.

The Great Sandhills of Saskatchewan - Germany-market Style!

Sanddünen - Saskatchewan, Kanada... This is a nice piece I found on The Canadian Tourism Commission's German-language youtube channel featuring Saskatchewan's Great Sandhills. I am sure this was produced in partnership with our friends at Tourism Saskatchewan. Notice the emphasis on nature, the wide open spaces and unusual places. That is what most European travellers look for when they look at Canada... and something Saskatchewan is able to provide. This is why even when developing meetings and conventions product in Regina, attention should be paid to ensure those visitor needs are met if we wish to engage audiences outside of our traditional domestic markets.

Wednesday, October 20

Sweet Spots Trailer - A Cool idea from MEC

Here is a cool adventure travel idea from Mountain Equipment Co-op and a great marketing idea. The company has been an outdoor equipment retail leader for years now. Visiting their stores in larger Canadian cities is almost a spiritual experience of sorts -- it certainly is a great way to learn how our woolies have evolved into hi-tech garments event better suited for Canada's adventure trip circuits through the ages.

Tuesday, October 19

Saskatchewan.... What visitors appreciate about being here

Saskatchewan rancher and guest ranch operator Lyle Benz shares guests' reflections about the Land of Living Sky, the landscape and the experience of spending quality time in Saskatchewan's grasslands with people who are passionate about Great Plains wilderness, the ranch lifestyle, natural horsemanship and cowboy culture.

Sunday, October 17

Reflections on a Saskatchewan Ranch Weekend Getaway

Those who lead busy lives are always looking for short breaks to get away with friends and family. Few experiences in Saskatchewan rival with the ranch stay. Always a chance to discover new facets of life in the Great Plains, this is the kind of experience that often brings out the wellness we all long for.

Thursday, October 7

Interesting presentation on SEO optimization relevant to tourism context

Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile to Improve SEO for Your Company

This is quite well put together. I thought it would be worth sharing with tourism marketing practitioners and experts looking to optimize the impact of resources at their disposal.

Wednesday, October 6

Manitou Springs Resort Hotel & Mineral Spa to reopen

I was pleased to learn today that Watrous' Manitou Springs Resort Hotel & Mineral Spa is set to reopen this Friday. Manitou Beach is legendary for the natural buoyancy mineral-rich properties and curative powers of Little Manitou Lake. The water is so buoyant, it's impossible to sink! Swimmers simply float effortlessly all day long if they want.

This used to be a hot resort in the 1920's bringing thousands in the summer from every region of Canada. The Spa went through hard times recently because of maintenance issues. Under new management and with the current economic boom in Saskatchewan, there is a good chance better times will come for what has the potential to become a quintessential rural Saskatchewan experience. There is, after all, more demand than ever for Spa and health tourism product.

Tuesday, October 5

Great New Documentary Filmed at the 2010 Regina Ice & Fire Carnival

What a joy it was to experience this edgy new documentary about one of the many layers unfolding at the 2010 Regina Ice and Fire Carnival. Many participants and artists will recognize themselves in the piece. Thank you to all the volunteers, Carnival partners and artists who help us make a difference.

Friday, September 24

The Canadian Society of Association Executives (CSAE) has Regina on its radar

...Thanks in part to Saskatoon... This is a real coup for all of Saskatchewan. When Saskatoon hosts the Canadian Society of Association Executives Conference and Showcase from September 15 to 17, 2011, Regina, Saskatoon and other Saskatchewan cities will have a chance do display not only their meetings and conventions capacity to a very receptive audience, they will also be able to convey the destinations' sense of place. It will an opportunity, a stone's throw away from Regina to feature our meetings, conventions and exhibitions capacity.

Have a look at Tourism Saskatoon's media release and let me know me know if you are interested in supporting a collaborative strategic initiative that would work hand in glove with the constructive work our Saskatoon neighbours and partners have undertaken.

Saskatoon is creating a buzz at CSAE in Québec City!

Saskatoon is certainly creating a buzz in Quebec City this week as Saskatchewan's meetings and events professionals prepare to welcome them them next year for their AGM. This is the press release Tourism Saskatoon just issued about the initiative.

See you in Saskatoon in 2011!


Delegation Heads to meet the Canadian Society of Association
Executives (CSAE) in Quebec City.

A 13 member team from Saskatoon has arrived in Quebec City for the CSAE 2010 (September 15-17). Their mission is to launch a promotional campaign for Tourism Saskatoon and its partners entitled - "Top Secret". This is a one year program that is meant to build excitement for Saskatoon as the 2011 host city for CSAE.

Saskatoon is being seen by many associations as a choice destination for conventions and events; an exciting development for the city. Each delegate of CSAE represents an association that hosts their own annual convention and meetings. Many opportunities exist to promote Saskatoon's unique strengths as a conventions and events destination. Intrigue, excitement and engagement are the operative words in creating a successful host campaign.

"Considered by many as Canada's "association of associations", CSAE is the professional organization of more than 1,625 executive members who manage many of this country's most progressive associations, as well as those who supply the sector with essential products and services."comments Todd Brandt, President and CEO of Tourism Saskatoon.

The delegation consists of Tourism Saskatoon's "Conventions Saskatoon!" members, CSAE Executive, business members and industry leaders. Members are led by Co-Chairs - Harry Janzen (Executive Officer, Saskatoon Region Association of Realtors) and Silvia Martini (V.P. Marketing for Tourism Saskatoon.

"Many opportunities to pursue these business to business relationships are expected to lead to future business. Leveraging these promotional and public relations opportunities can positively impact business and economic growth potential." Silvia Martini, V.P. Tourism Saskatoon and Co-Chair for Saskatoon Host Committee


This campaign will feature costumed team members portraying secret agents, clues and secret stash prizes.) Clues and prizes revealed at the conference and throughout the year will entice, intrigue and increase registration for the 2011 event which will be hosted in Saskatoon.

Saskatoon's Secret Agents will distribute clue cards throughout the conference, and engage delegates at the Tourism Saskatoon exhibit. A "Shaken with a Twist" James Bond theme will energize the closing CSAE Honours & Awards Luncheon. Secrets will be revealed and invitations extended for 2011. The lunch culminates with one lucky delegate winning the "Secret is in the Bling" package!

Committee Members Include:

Harry Janzen, (Co-Chair), Executive Officer, Saskatoon Regional Association of Realtors
Silvia Martini , (Co-Chair), V.P. Marketing, Tourism Saskatoon
Nowshad Ali,(President and CEO), On Purpose Leadership
Steven Johnson, (Director), Convention & Event Sales, Tourism Saskatoon
Shawna Nelson, (Director), Marketing and Sales, Sheraton Cavalier
Carl Schlosser, (Director), SaskatoonPrairielandPark
Irene Seiferling, (Principal), Board Dynamics
Kathy Specht, (Sales Manager), TCU Place, Saskatoon Arts & Convention Centre

Coordinators: Tourism Saskatoon Staff (Amber Johnson, Shauna Morrison)

For further information please call:

Todd Brandt, President and CEO, Tourism Saskatoon
at (306)931-7574

Tuesday, September 21

Prairie Berries to make a pitch on the Dragon's Den

Just heard through the grapevine... Saskatchewan's Prairie Berries is apparently to make a pitch on the popular Dragon's Den CBC television show. I look forward to finding out what pitch they have in mind. The company describes Saskatoons as a kind of ‘Superfruit’:

"The word ‘Superfruit’ refers to fruit which contains high sources of antioxidants. From a nutraceutical perspective, antioxidant rich fruits have anti-cancer, anti-aging, and anti-heart problem effects on human body. The benefits of antioxidant have contributed against cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases, and act as a protective guard to our immune systems."

The health merits of Saskatoons have been known for hundreds of years. Their pulp has been exported to countries like England as fruit filling. Will the Dragons buy into the success these Saskatchewan entrepreneurs have been enjoying in recent times?

We will see. I wish them well because local bounty initiatives like this make a difference not only in diversifying local agricultural products, it also helps profile Saskatchean as a tourism destination worthy of discovery.

Thursday, September 16

The Puerto Vallarta portion of our Journey for Life trip will include a little ziplining!

Motor coach travel product market keeps growing

There no more valuable knowledge than that of consumer preferences. You may or may not know that WestWorld Tours is already the most successful tour operator in the province in terms of volume, with annual passenger figures in the 4-digit range, originating from across North America. It its efforts to lead the way in motorcoach travel experiences, my WestWorld colleagues and I are asking clients for new destination and trip ideas. If you know regular coach travellers or if you are one yourself, let us know what future journeys are on your radar.... whether you are thinking or Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, the U.S., Australia or South America. Bear in mind that we are looking for trip ideas with demonstrated revenue-generating potential, of course.

Your thoughts may well be developed into new trips!

Looking for new motorcoach tour ideas?

There no more valuable knowledge than that of consumer preferences. You may or may not know that WestWorld Tours is already the most successful tour operator in the province in terms of volume, with annual passenger figures in the 4-digit range, originating from across North America. It its efforts to lead the way in motorcoach travel experiences, my WestWorld colleagues and I are asking clients for new destination and trip ideas. If you know regular coach travellers or if you are one yourself, let us know what future journeys are on your radar.... whether you are thinking or Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, the U.S., Australia or South America. Bear in mind that we are looking for trip ideas with demonstrated revenue-generating potential, of course.

Your thoughts may well be developed into new trips!

Tuesday, September 14

Be an extra on CBC's new comedy ''InSecurity'' by the producers of ''Corner Gas''

I am just returning from the set of InSecurity, CBC's new action comedy about espionage misfits that take on missions vital to Canada's national security. The series is shot in Regina this summer and the producers need a few more extras Wednesday and Thursday (Sept. 15 and 16) from 4:00 pm to 8:00 am the next morning to film a fancy diplomatic office party scene in a posh setting.

We are looking for young men and women between the ages of 20 and 30 years who would shine wearing evening dresses and suits....for both nights.

Please let C-J of Great Excursions know ASAP by email and include a recent photograph if at all possible if you if you feel you match this profile before Wednesday Noon (tomorrow).

The series is scheduled to follow the Rick Mercer Report on prime time after Christmas.

Extras will be remunerated for their contribution.

Claude-Jean Harel MA MAHI
The Great Excursions Company
200 Albert Street N.
Regina, Saskatchewan CANADA
S4R 5E2
Phone: 1.866.975.8687 (North America)
0.808.101.7327 (UK)
1.800.424.705 (Australia)
fax: +1 306.791.4414

Monday, September 13

Guest Ranch Adventure Vacation in Canada

A guest shares her appreciation for the experience her and her family enjoyed on a guest ranch getaway weekend in Canada this summer. A beautiful valley, great meals and company, a pristine setting in a native prairie environment, and great horses all contributed to a rich, authentic and relaxing time... ideal for family reunions, weddings or corporate retreats.

Friday, September 10

Journey for Life to be featured on Access 7's Talk of the Town

Journey for Life's Wendy McDermitt and Claude-Jean Harel will talk about the Canadian Cancer Society & Great Excursions partnership which led to the special Mexico vacation they've developed for people living with cancer and their family on Monday's edition of Talk of the Town on Access 7.

Watch Wendy and Kelly's latest video invitation right here:

Wednesday, September 8

"Off-the-couch therapy: healing hits the road"

Fresh off the press: Great Excursions and Canadian Cancer Society's special trip to Mexico for people living with cancer and their family is featured in the latest edition of WestWorld (Saskatchewan) and Going Places (Manitoba) magazines.

Visit for details!

Thursday, September 2

Sailboat adventure on Northern Vancouver Island guest review

Here are comments just received from a family of 4 which travelled on our 68-foot sailboat last summer to Northern Vancouver Island. The parents let the teens pick the trip. The whole family was the right fit for the trip. We booked the BC wildlife cruise and the wilderness lodge experience for them.

Take a moment to read the review that I pasted below submitted independently to one of our UK & US online travel agency partners.

Those are all Great Excursions’ trips on those two pages. We are adding more every day.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on

Orcas, totems and bears, sailing holiday, Canada reviewed by Hilary Mackintosh. UK

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

It was my 14-year-old son who wanted to go on a holiday where we could see bears - out sea kayaking one morning we were able to get really close to a black bear on a beach. He was slightly ahead of the rest of the group and didn't see the leader gesturing to us to not go any closer, and no-one wanted to shout, so he drifted gradually nearer to the bear, while the rest of us held back - watching him totally spellbound by the bear was a memory I'll treasure forever.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

I was concerned about sea-sickness, as I am not a good sailor, but we were never far from land and the sea was very calm. Only on one afternoon did I find it rough. Find tablets that don't knock you out, as you won't want to miss a moment!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

We spent the first week on the boat, travelling round the Broughton Archipelago. We hardly saw anyone else - I've never been anywhere so remote, even though it doesn't particularly look it on the map - so I can't say we benefited local people at that point, but we certainly had little impact on the environment. We spent the second week on Alert Bay island, and certainly supported the local tourist industry there, taking advantage of various First Nation workshops and activities.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

The week on the boat was incredible. The scenery was breathtaking, we saw plenty of whales, dolphin, and grizzly and black bears. I found the sea kayaking a very spiritual experience, really feeling at one with nature. And the camaraderie that developed within the group of like-minded people, guests and crew, despite a huge age range, was a delight. I think my family were all completely refreshed, mind, body and spirit, by the experience.

Please don’t hesitate to call if your clients are looking for special trips. Leanne, myself and our entire team are always happy to share information and to guide you through our website to the right trip.

We make it easy for you to work with us and our success hinges on ensuring your success.

Have a great September!


Tuesday, August 31

Farm Progress Show's sucess is result of collective effort

Today's Leader-Post article comes as excellent news! Our Regina-based destination management company worked with a Swiss tour operator to develop a 2-week agricultural tour in Alberta and Saskatchewan (starting in Saskatoon) for a small group of Swiss producers. We ended the trip at the Farm Progress Show.

We hosted a farewell BBQ for them before they flew back to Switzerland. The tour was organized in collaboration with the Swiss equivalent of the Western Producer. Participants were in awe of the sized of farms and equipment in this part of the world.

Sunday, August 29

Revamped Virtual Museum of Canada exhibit on the 1912 Regina Tornado

The Virtual Museum of Canada recently revamped the old 1912 Regina Tornado exhibit that I co-curated with the Regina Plains Museum's Jaymie Koroluk a few years ago. Because of lack of resources at the time -- and possibly also because of the low awareness among tourism stakeholders of the relevance of that story as a differentiating factor in the city's journey -- we were never able to capitalize fully on how our recovery from the tragedy continues to influence who we are and how we evolved as a city.

This is a national story of hope, various facets of which were chronicled in the material record, the fabric of the City, as well as among organizations and individuals everywhere which responded with generosity to what was an unparalleled crisis at the time.

2012 will be a year to celebrate the power of the human spirit, to show that when there is a will to make a difference, no challenge is to great, no obstacle too high.

2012 could be the year that we show again that when there is a will among all those who can make a difference to positively influence a desired outcome, and to move forward to make an even greater leap that benefits all people, all industries and communities, that momentum becomes unstoppable.

Tuesday, August 24

Upcoming 100th Anniversary of the Regina Tornado in 2012

I have had a few discussions lately with local heritage tourism stakeholders about developing a meetings & conventions strategy around the theme of the 1912 Regina Tornado that would aim at attracting national and international organizations that could be tempted to host one of their meetings in Regina in 2012. There are market-ready product and customizable solutions available today for meeting planners if they decided to bring their meeting to Regina.

Great Excursions owns a number of these products, and ownership is shared in other product with business improvement districts, cultural organizations & museums at local and national levels. As Regina’s longest established destination management company with internationally-recognized expertise on that particular aspect of Regina’s heritage, we would certainly be ideally suited to work collaboratively with our tourism partners and local hospitality businesses which are asking us to consider working with them regularly. We have already started to approach potential partner associations and organizations about this. I believe there is an opportunity here to harness a virtually untapped potential. Time is of the essence.

In a different but slightly related vein, Joanne Browne of Regina shared her thoughts about Regina's heritage and what it represents to her and her family recently. She gave me permission to reproduce an excerpt below:

"Claude-Jean, you won't remember me, but I certainly remember you, and I love getting your updates on adventures.

My name is Joanne Brown and I'm a member of the Regina Archaeology Society. I was at the presentation you gave on Regina (as a CPR) "town," and how the layout of the city helped with the clean-up after the 1912 tornado. I was also very impressed with your maps of existing buildings at the time, and the details, including the make up of facades on various buildings in Regina.

In the very early 1930's, my grandfather bought the property at 1766 Osler Street, a livery stable at the time, built circa 1904. All rural folk coming into Regina for "supplies" parked their horses, buggies, wagons, and what-ever across the street. Although it was one of the oldest buildings in the city, it was never deemed a historic property; it was just a barn. My grandfather turned the building into an auction room. My father bought his father out in 1951. A few years ago, the building was demolished to make way for the new STC depot. Fitting in a way. It started out as a transportation hub, and it has returned to one. At the time the building was razed, I was working for RPS. It was all fenced in, but I went there and begged a worker for a number of bricks. I told him my story, and he complied.

When my father was a young boy, he met another young boy across the back alley of their father's businesses. The Broadway Theatre was on Broad Street, Brown's Auction Rooms on Osler. Murray Bercovich was two years younger than my father (and it just so happened he was in the same kindergarten class with my mother (at Strathcona School). I have their class photo. In that photograph Murray was dressed to the nines, showing off his fine toy sailboat. My mother is depicted in a drab dress (probably her best), holding on to a rag doll.

Many years later he hosted a party to expose this photograph to their many mutual friends. My mother was both horrified and delighted. He had it enlarged and placed on an easel inside the entry to his home.

My father and Murray Bercovich became the best of friends.

Murray's father was a legend in this city. He was nick-named Scotty, and the writing on his tombstone states: Scotty was a Showman. It's one of the "stops" on one of the tours of the "Old Regina Cemetery."

One more tidbit about Regina history before I give you the gist of this correspondence. In the mid 1940's my paternal grandparents bought the house, still standing, on 1800 block Halifax Street (I think the # is 1876). It's the house immediately south of the martial arts studio.

This house has a huge history. It was built in 1929, by the owners of Army and Navy Department Store, to accommodate Jewish men from central Europe recruited to work for them. The house was built as a boarding house. My grandmother turned it into a "rooming house." Upstairs and basement residents did their own cooking (on hot plates). There was only one electrical outlet in each upstairs room, and only one of those rooms had an actual closet.

It had two kitchens, one of them kosher. I was conceived in this house and it was my home until my parents were able to build a home of their own in 1954. My parents and three of us "little Brown girls" lived in one room, the best room, being the front parlor. Many other relatives lived there as well, and there were boarders, some who stayed for years, others who were fleeting. My grandmother lived in the house until the late 1960's, and me and my older sister visited often.

I still dream about that house.

By chance I got to re-visit that house about eight years ago. Very little had changed. I was able to answer questions of the current owner. She had some vague knowledge of the history of the house, and was delighted to meet me and learn more. Yes, some tacky reno's had been done since the 1960's, but all of the original light fixtures were still in place, as were the French doors into the parlour, and crystal door knobs were still in place.

I know this house has been renovated again, and I hope the new owner has respected the integrity of it.

There was a grand bannister leading upstairs, that me and my older sister used to shimmy down on. It was still there when I last visited, polished to a gleam (from our little bums).

Sometime between two to five years after my grandmother sold the house, someone (a woman) was murdered there.

Now for the gist.........
A recent acquaintance asked me if I knew if anything was being planned for the anniversary of the 1912 tornado? I didn't know, but it made me immediately think of you and all the work you had done. That is why I am writing. Is anything being planned? The graves of the young Blenkinsop couple who died so tragically that day, are on list of monuments to stop on one tour at the Old Regina Cemetery.

Thank you for this Joanne"

Monday, August 23

Be part of the Yukon Quest race in Whitehorse!

This season, the Yukon Quest starts in Whitehorse on February 5, 2011. Here is your chance to be part of it at the mushers' banquet, on the starting line and on the trail as well. Learn to drive you own dog team. Experience the exhiliration, the wild joy of being a musher yourself.

Every other year the Yukon Quest starts in Whitehorse. Guests will have the opportunity to take part in the start banquet on Feb 3, the Meet the Mushers evening on Feb 2, 2011 as well as to participate as a volunteer at the start line of the race.

The itinerary for this tour will be similar to the 8-day Husky adventure...
– with the Quest extras thrown in. This special tour is for those who want a taste of the Yukon Quest excitement – Yukon Style!

More details on our Facebook event page.

Thursday, August 19

Calling Charity Challenge enthusiasts abroad!

It's late August, there is a chill in the air at night and inevitably, there is a realization that fall and winter are just a few weeks and months away. Now... We find that Canada's US, Australian, UK and New Zealand visitor are particularly fond of dog sledding. Our multi-day Yukon mushing expeditions over 5, 8 11 or 15 days are truly immersive journeys into a mode of travel which brings the best out of the ancestral relationship between dogs and humans.

One clever way for the MC&IT sector to put our Canada dog mushing traditions to develop charity challenges. For instance, our partner Different Travel in the United Kingdom has come up with an innovative formula which uses our Yukon sledding product as a basic ingredient. The company offers challenges around the world. The Yukon sledding charity challenge is it's first in Canada.

So if you live in the UK, please support this project. If you live elsewhere, we are certainly open to dialogue and discussions on how we possibility could collaborate to tailor our adventure journeys to your needs.

Raising funds for your organization? Mexico has lots to offer

Raising funds for charity organizations is always a challenge. That many Saskatchewan residents volunteer their time to raise money for community and support programs in a number of areas is is almost legendary. Some of the best known initiatiaves include the Canadian Cancer Society's Relay for Life, or the Arthritis Society's Joints in Motion programs which features more of a travel-related element.

Recently, Great Excursions partnered with the Canadian Cancer Society to create Journey for Life, a trip to Mexico in February 2011 specially designed to meet the needs of people living with cancer and their caregivers -- a portion of the revenues from which will help fund the Cancer Society's programs.

Large projects like these requiring significant air capacity to be profitable and leave you vulnerable to the impact of airline schedule changes. This is where smaller, more niche types of initiatives -- let's say in the adventure travel sector -- might lend themselves to more diversified offerings for all tastes.

Living in Saskatchewan brings its own set added considerations. Our harsh winter climate instills in many residents a longing to get away during winter months. Baja California becomes then a particularly attractive destinations for those who might be willing to consider an active holiday that aims to raise funds for charity organizations. Any of the trips Great Excursions feature on its Adventures in Mexico product page would be suitable as a resource. This is food for thought for a future post.

Wednesday, August 18

Lake Diefenbaker Ranch gets rave reviews

Our ranch hosts at Lake Diefenbaker certainly impressed one of our clients from Ontario who came to Saskatchewan last month to visit friends and relatives. Visiting friends and relatives is a key motivator for out-of-province visitors to Saskatchewan. After contacting us about which trip would suit her needs best, we booked her on a 4-day ranch adventure in one of Saskatchewan's most evocative regions. In a quick note upon her return, Eileen writes:

"Had a wonderful vacation... it exceeded my expectations!
Will be retuning next summer because I enjoyed it so much. Thank you, CJ, for your assistance with my adventure.

The funny thing about Saskatchewan is that unless people have been here before, it's hard to convey what it's like. But once they are here, they know they want to come back.

Tuesday, August 17

2011 Departures for our Canada and Alaska Sailing Cruises

A quick note to let you know that we recently published our 2011 departures for our Canada and Alaska natural history sailing cruises. Again we will feature Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands), Southeast Alaska (with both our 68-foot motorsailer sailboat and our 65-foot motor yacht. Northern Vancouver Island is back in 2011, as are the Gulf Islands, the Inside Passage and the Great Bear Rainforest in Northern British Columbia.

River boat cruises offer convenient solution for older group travellers

Do you have friends or relatives who are planning a special commemoration: a reunion or an anniversary seniors' tour that is at once very special, but also well suited to older travellers? How about a multi-day river cruise on the St. Lawrence Seaway?

Multi-day river cruises used to be quite the journey along the Mississippi River and others in North America. Our very own North and South Saskatchewan Rivers and waterways where at one time challenging yet evocative routes for sternwheelers until the early 20th century. But the number of vessels that once sailed these great rivers in calm waters has declined in recent years -- victims of the economic climate and changing customer preferences. Some operations continue in the US, but they often put up passengers at hotels and casinos along the way instead of allowing travellers to sleep in cabins, which makes for a much richer experience for travellers.

One of the advantages of true multi-day river cruises is that passengers unpack when they board the vessel in the same room that they will keep for teh whole holiday, which makes it much more convenient. Also, one gets more of a sense of journey when one lives aboard the vessel. A different kind of chemistry is created among passengers. there is more of that sense of living the experience together....which keeps people young at heart.

We are lucky enough in Canada to still be able to offer this kind of trip for groups on itineraries that feature cities like Kingston, Montreal, Québec City and Ottawa, the 1000 Islands, and numerous attractions. Visit these links to see all departures for the rest of 2010 and 2011. Let us know what you think!

Monday, August 16

On taking meeting participants outside of their comfort zone

A weekend ranch getaway to one of my favourite places and a column featuring this great resource in our local daily this morning prompts me take another look at the role comfort zones play in meetings, retreats and conventions development. Meeting planners are always looking for new team-building activities. This means they seek affordable activities that do not take too long, unless the objective of the meeting itself is to take participants outside of their comfort zone over a weekend, for instance.

We have had some great successes in working over the years with organizations like the University of Regina's women hockey team. The aboriginal cultural immersion weekend we crafted for them a few years ago stands out.

Last fall, U of R Cougars coach Sarah Howald approached us once more to design another similar activity using different resources. We came up this time with a Natural horsemanship weekend out of town again on one of our ranches in a beautiful prairie valley setting half-way between Regina and Saskatoon.

Sarah subsequently forwarded these comments:

"Our team retreat at the ranch through Great Excursions was perfect for our group of young players. It allowed us to get to know each other better, but more importantly, we each learned more about ourselves. We learned skills in assertiveness, confidence, and communication that we continued to come back to all season long. Chris and Lyle are great hosts and great teachers!"

It is featured this morning in a Ron Petrie article in the Leader-Post.

This is not for everyone, in the sense that participants have to enjoy exploring non-urban environments and to love animals, but the teachings are very much real. They tie into the place where they are delivered, and the rewards, beyond the fresh outlook on life and workplaces, extend to renewed appreciation for the skills of other team players. Teambuilding is after all about learning or relearning how to harness all team players' potential.

When time is limited, shortcuts are taken to focus more directly on key objectives. Often, there is only time for a quick visit as an opportunity to get a better sense of the setting where a larger meeting is hosted. This was the case when one of our national clients hosted its annual conference in Regina last summer. The ranch portion of our program included a an demonstration of the foundations of natural horsemanship. Fresh, locally baked snacks and refreshments were offered and a hads-on introduction to grasslands plants and their significance for livestock grazing was included. This is after a cattle ranch.

The role we play as a destination management company is one of director, or event/tour producer. We develop a theme with our client and we illustrate it with the resources at our disposal, we flesh out the program with clear, per-determined objectives in mind. We have proven methods to do this. Working with us ensures the clients get the best possible value, it saves time for all involved because we are experts and we can likely do more, while protecting the client's investment. This brings an added sense of security should unpredictable circumstances arise.

We will handle a range of needs including:

-Activities, workshops, team duilding and Corporate Retreats

-Meetings, Events, Conventions and Conferences in Canada

-Pre- and Post Conference Tours in Canada

-Regina - Saskatoon - Moose Jaw - Saskatchewan Charter Services

-Tourism Innovation and Interpretation Planning Workshops

Friday, August 13

Historical re-enactments are delicate balancing acts

Historical re-enactments in Canada are regularly a source of controversy, particularly when they involve key events in the country's journey that weigh heavily on identity and the interpretation of outcomes. Re-enactments of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham are a regular bone of contention in the Quebec media. They were cancelled last year for the 250th anniversary of the fall of Québec to the British.

The "non-siege" of Battleford is somehow another key moment in the history of the Northwest Territories where Parks Canada finds itself a stakeholder both as a steward of Canadian heritage and as a major tourism player. Rather fortuitously, the Bob Weber article published in the Globe and Mail and in other Canadian dailies today raises awareness about a tourism resource and a destination that is little known to Canadians in general. Fort Battleford is certainly worth visiting, regardless of one's take on how the re-enactment is marketed.

Organisers of Québec City's 400th anniversary celebrations in 2008 had figured out clever way to approach re-enactments. They actually produced two. On one day, the British would win one battle, on another day the French would win. It's all about balance and equity.

One of the reasons perhaps why Batoche was never been the site of a re-enactment could be that Riel's team ultimately lost the war. But the Métis did win battles as well.

A challenge remains in the need to refrain from engaging into acts of cultural appropriation, or the use of elements of heritage that belong to one entity, for the benefit of another which is not the legitimate owner of that heritage. And, the legitimate owner must be willing to engage in projects in which they own such resources in order for all parties to conduct their projects equitably.

That is a fundamental issue in the development aboriginal tourism products today. Wanuskewin Heritage Park in Saskatoon and other aboriginally-run interpretive centres are certainly leaders there. Our national parks system is navigating a challenging path and does an excellent job of it overall.

Fort Battleford remains an under-utilized resource that meeting planners should consider using more frequently. How about hosting conflict-resolution-themed meetings there, involving both aboriginal and non-aboriginal facilitators to explore opposing perspectives? This is just one idea.
International meetings and conventions industry players are easily lured to higher profile destinations than Saskatchewan. If tourism stakeholders in Saskatchewan wish to grow their market share of medium and long-haul travellers who come to Canada, they could do worse than to consider the distinctive resources at their disposal.

In the end, the "non-siege" and its media coverage is likely to bring increased awareness of Saskatchewan as a surprisingly rich and diversified tourism destination, and that's a good thing for all of us!

Thursday, August 12

2010 CFL Hall of Fame Luncheon held in Regina

A hard-to-beat moment when former Saskatchewan Roughrider Don Narcisse was officially welcomed to the honoured list of CFL Hall of Famers by another Saskatchewan football great George Reed.

It was great seeing the 2010 CFL Hall of Fame Luncheon being held in Regina today before Saskatchewan's convincing win over the BC Lions at Mosaic Stadium. Anytime a national organization like the CFL stages special events like these across the country, much goodwill ensues. This is especially true of Saskatchewan, as this is arguably Canada's most warmly football-crazy city. Hall of Fame representatives recognized this inspiring normality in Regina today. It was a chance to host many of Canada's football greats, a chance to shine as a meetings destination with understated charm and appeal.

Tuesday, August 10

Quebec motorcoach tour operator features Regina and Gravelbourg

Spotted last week in Regina... One of Groupe Voyages Québec's motorcoaches. This is one of relatively few out-of-province tour operators which publishes Saskatchewan products consistently. These are escorted tours with a francophone tour director. The highlight for many travellers is a Gravelbourg stop featuring a meal and the opportunity to meet local community members. There are 4 departures this year, with one more coming up later this month.

An example of Saskatchewan leisure travel product featured in travel trade brochures

Canada & Alaska specialist German tour operator Kanada Reise Laden's reality is is not unlike that many international tours operators specializing in Canada. His traditional client base in Europe is lured by emerging destinations in other parts of the world. There is however an increased interest for Western Canada among his clients. Like other tour operators, the company publishes a very nice brochure featuring Saskatchewan, so that it will be ready when international demand warrants more departures.

I find especially telling that both Saskatchewan and Alberta are bundled into one itinerary in this instance.

Moving from "stop-along-the-way" status to "destination" status

Our client/partner René Kempf of Canada & Alaska specialist German tour operator Kanada Reise Laden stopped by this summer just in time for the for the Spain-Germany World Cup match.

Rural tourism resources are valuable to city-based meeting planners

Meeting planners will attempt to convey to their clients how their host destination stands out, especially if they are from out of province or abroad. The likelyhood of the meeting ever being hosted in that city again depends on how evocative their first experience is. Pre- and port-conventions tours help do that. How far is your agricultural operation from the nearest city? Are you currently working with you destination marketing organization to make meetings stakeholders aware of your potential contribution to the success of an upcoming meeting in a city near you?

This Great Excursions photo album features a special day program developed for a national meeting (and international observers) held in Regina last summer. It aimed to interpret the dynamics of the grasslands ecosystem as well as to interpret the principles behind natural horsemanship, an increasingly popular approach to esquestrian training.

Thursday, August 5

Unwinding after a day of sailing in Gwaii Haanas

Haida Gwaii Sailing Journey July 2010

If there is was ever a need to illustrate how people and places interact to create space, nothing comes closer than to board a small-vessel sailing holiday to Gwaii Haanas. To the Haida Nation: thank you for welcoming us as honoured guests as you do. To our travel companions and fellow seekers of meaningful travel experiences: thank you for sharing your generosity of time, thoughts, positive energies and genuine friendship with us. To our most amazing partners -- true tourism pioneers , knowledge keepers and relationship nurturers: may we we keep breaking new ground in shaping Canada's tourism industry of the future for the benefit of our host communities, Canadians and our international guests to discover. Thank you all for being who you are and for making the consumer, career and cultural choices that you make.