Summit Countdown:


keynote presentation


frank wolf, internationally renowned explorer & award winning filmmaker – keynote

Renowned explorer, writer and award-winning filmmaker Frank Wolf shares his personal journey from adventurer to environmental advocate; showing how inextricably linked tourism is to the natural environment.

unleashing your greatness

Buhle Dlamini, entrepreneur AND INTERNATIONAL SPEAKER – keynote

Join us for an inspirational closing session of the 2017 Tourism Summit. Raised in a rural village in South Africa, Buhle Dlamini beat the odds to become a top South African entrepreneur and international speaker. Buhle weaves his background and personal story of triumph over struggle into all his presentations. Shaped by iconic leaders like Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, Buhle will share a unique and inspirational message that will challenge all of us to seek greatness in all that we do by being who we are, embracing our distinction, pursuing excellence and living our values. (And yes, of all the places Buhle has traveled to around the world, he has chosen Nova Scotia as his home.)

chairman’s luncheon and National Panel – “The time is now”

judy saunders, chairman – tourism industry association of nova scotia

Join TIANS Chairman, Judy Saunders for the traditional Chairman’s address. This year’s address is a special occasion as we mark the 40th anniversary of TIANS and recognize those that have contributed to the TIANS organization over the past 40 years.

The Time is Now – After successive years of growth, Tourism is gaining recognition for the  important  role it plays in the Canadian economy.    Much of the  current growth is connected to global conditions and when conditions realign, the question remains how competitive is the sector?  What are the national issues at play that are affecting the sector’s competiveness and how can we take advantage of the current positive momentum to address some of the challenges around product, people and  policy.  Join us for this interactive national panel as we discuss how to ensure a sustainable and successful Tourism economy for all regions of the Country.

tourism nova scotia keynote address – “what if?”

Michele Saran, CEO – Tourism Nova Scotia

Many things have changed for Nova Scotia’s tourism sector since the Ivany Report was released in 2014, Tourism Nova Scotia was created in 2015, and our industry began rallying to work towards the common goal of reaching $4 billion in annual tourism revenues by 2024.

Join Michele Saran, CEO of Tourism Nova Scotia, to take a look at some of the exciting initiatives from the past year, and activities planned for the months ahead. Michele will provide an update on our industry’s progress against the $4 billion goal, and explore what the future of our sector could look like, asking the question… “What if?”

halifax convention centre


Join Carrie Cussons, CEO of Halifax Convention Centre, for a leadership update on Nova Scotia’s flagship convention centre and what it will mean for tourism across the province.

Educational Sessions

social media distribution: how to ensure your content is reaching the right people

ross simmonds – digital marketing strategist

In his action-packed session, Ross will discuss the important role that content distribution plays for operators in the information age and how you can use this knowledge to ensure your content spreads effectively. He’ll also break down why it is no longer enough to just have ‘great’ content and why it’s more important than ever to unlock new opportunities to tell your story. From Facebook Groups and Ads to Instagram, Quora & TripAdvisor – this is a talk you won’t want to miss.

get the financing you need

greg dickie, vice president – nova scotia, business development bank of canada

Retaining your customers and attracting new ones requires constant innovation and investment. But how do you get the financing you need to upgrade your real estate, invest in technology or get around challenging cash flow cycles? In this panel discussion presented by the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), successful tourism entrepreneurs will explain how they financed their projects and the impact it had on their businesses.

a tourism game changer – nova scotia’s culture action plan

stacey oxner, director of events – communities, culture and heritage

Culture in Nova Scotia is an integral part of the tourism experience and the development of events is one of the most significant ways to build economic activity in all regions of the province. The development of high-quality, authentic events can act as a catalyst for new visitation and holds tremendous potential to further extend the season. This session will provide an overview of the good work underway by Communities, Culture and Heritage to develop Nova Scotia’s Culture Action Plan. We know that Creativity and Community will contribute to the well-being and prosperity of Nova Scotia’s diverse and creative communities through the promotion, development, preservation and celebration of the province’s culture, heritage, recreation, identity and languages. A key action item of the plan is the development of a strategic, government-wide approach to the development, funding and attraction of events. We’ll explore the research that’s shaping the strategy and provide some advice and insight into the plan, including current funding programs available.

sport tourism – a significant economic driver and opportunity for nova scotia

stacey oxner, director of events – communities, culture and heritage

Sport tourism is a $6.5 billion industry in Canada and one of the tourism industry’s fastest growing sectors. So how does it impact Nova Scotia’s tourism industry? Hear from the Canadian Sport Tourism Alliance on the state of the sport tourism industry, along with a panel discussion with three Nova Scotia communities who are leveraging the hosting of major sporting events. Find out what it takes and how you can position your community to better attract and host sport tourism related events.

latest & greatest ways to leverage tripadvisor for your business

andrew wiens, international dmo manager – tripadvisor

Join us for a ‘Digital Reputation Management’ seminar, where Andrew Wiens will cover the scope and scale of TripAdvisor. This seminar will demonstrate why this matters to your business, best practices in the review space, how to improve your TripAdvisor ranking, and how to access free assets to drive more business. This is a working session designed to provide easy to understand, practical, immediately actionable information – appropriate for owners and managers (hotels, restaurants, and attractions.)

the state of the canadian hotel industry EMILE GOURIEUX


Join Emile Gourieux to discuss the state of Canada’s lodging industry with a special focus on Occupancy, Average Daily Rate, and Revenue per Available Room performance. He will also focus specifically on Nova Scotia and Halifax, showing how their performance compares to that of the surrounding provinces. Finally, Emile will look at the hotel construction pipeline and reveal a forecast of key performance indicators for the year to come.

Founded in 1985, STR Inc. provides clients from multiple market sectors with premium, global data benchmarking, analytics and marketplace insights. Founded in 1985, STR maintains a presence in 15 countries around the world with a corporate North American headquarters in Hendersonville, Tennessee, and an international headquarters in London, England.



Indigenous tourism is gaining interest and momentum as the global visitor is seeking authentic, unique experiences.  This session will explore the traditional and cultural history of the Mi’kmaw people in Nova Scotia and demonstrate how Indigenous communities have successfully partnered with other tourism destinations.

Come learn about the rich traditions of our own First Nations and discover new partnership opportunities to leverage this untapped tourism product.



We know that paying attention to all the financial aspects of your business can be time consuming and challenging.  Since the federal government announced it would be making changes to the private corporation business tax regime; many of you are asking what this will mean to how you operate your business.

Join our partners from Grant Thornton who will provide the latest update on what the tax changes will mean for you and your business. This will be an interactive session, so ask those questions that have been on your mind to best position your business for future success.