Destinations International’s 2022 Convention was all about sharing unique perspectives for collective growth and success. Diverse and inclusive Toronto provided the ideal environment.
Destinations worldwide are facing critical challenges that call for innovative solutions. Delegates attending Destinations International’s 2022 Annual Convention brainstormed around important topics such as equity, diversity and inclusion, sustainable tourism, accelerating climate action and rebuilding tourism post-COVID. They also discovered how Toronto, as the convention’s host city, leads by example with its unique culture of diversity and inclusion.
Visitors naturally feel welcome because they see themselves in the many cultures and perspectives of the people living here. During a breakfast meeting with international journalists at the Fairmont Royal York hotel’s Reign restaurant, Destination Toronto CEO, Scott Beck, noted that the city can’t help but be both diverse and inclusive considering that more than 50% of residents were born outside of Canada.
Best Foot Forward
Destination Toronto pulled out all the stops to help make the convention a success, working closely with Destinations International on everything from special events and programming to attendance building. During an interview with the Tourism Academy Podcast, released to coincide with the first day of the convention, Beck said everyone in Toronto’s business events community is on the same page, from the convention centres and the hotel community to a very supportive mayor in city hall. “We’re more collaborative than competitive,” Beck explained. “I hope that [visitors] see the swagger that is our hospitality team.”
Here are some of the ways Team Toronto worked behind the scenes with Destinations International:
Scholarship program: Canadian destination professionals were invited to apply for scholarships that covered the costs of attending the convention, thanks to a partnership between the Destinations International Foundation and Destination Toronto.
Attendance building marketing: Destination Toronto’s 6ix Stack Marketing Program — a resource available to all business events hosted in the city — helped to drive attendee registration and excitement for the event. Resources included a customized convention microsite, Toronto-themed social content and influencer videos showcasing the best things to experience in the city before, during and after the convention.
Opening and closing events: Team Toronto planned and hosted the convention’s welcome reception at the Steam Whistle Complex, a one-of-a-kind event space housed in a historic locomotive roundhouse just steps from the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and host hotels. Later that same night, guests were invited to the Hockey Hall of Fame to continue the party and get up close and personal with the iconic Stanley Cup. The “Spirit of Hospitality” closing event was held at Stackt Market, with Destination Toronto providing support for the Destinations International House Band and setting up an on-site “merch booth,” with proceeds going to Destinations International Foundation.
Opening general session: As part of its mission to deliver authentic and inclusive events and to feature Indigenous culture in a contemporary manner, Destination Toronto supported presentations by Juno Award-winning artist DJ Shub as well as Indigenous hoop dancers.
Closing keynote speaker: The closing keynote address was given by Canadian men’s national soccer team head coach John Herdman, who led the team to qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Herdman spoke to convention attendees about leadership, motivation and how to foster a high-performance culture.
Giving Trees CSR initiative: Convention attendees were invited to support the work of the Canadian Ukrainian Immigrant Aid Society. Donors personalized paper maple leaves and hung them on live trees displayed as part of the convention’s Toronto Hub. Afterwards, all of the trees were donated to the Highway of Heroes Tree Campaign, which plants trees along Canada's busiest highway in tribute to Canadian soldiers leaving a legacy for the event for years to come.
Media education tour: Destination Toronto organized and hosted a familiarization tour for international media. Site visits included the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Fairmont Royal York hotel, Casa Loma, Royal Ontario Museum, CN Tower, Rebel entertainment space and the Cabana Poolbar. The group experienced multisensory Selva restaurant as well as elevated Italian cuisine at Gusto 501 in the city’s Corktown neighbourhood. Tour Guys took the group on a lively walking tour of the downtown core.
Destinations International 2022 Convention Recap
- July 19–21, 2022
- Metro Toronto Convention Centre
- 1,339 registered attendees
- 20 countries
- 60 partners
- 3 pre-convention sessions, 28 concurrent educational sessions, 8 CEO lounge sessions, an Awards Recognition Celebration and 69 “Flashes of Brilliance” educational mini-sessions Destinations International is the world’s largest resource for official destination organizations, tourism boards and convention and visitors bureaus