2019 BSAP Ambassadors celebrated in Toronto
Meet the next generation:
If you’re wondering what the next generation of travel professionals is going to look like, well, they’re young, innovative, energetic, talented, curious, creative, and that’s only a handful of the adjectives that can be used to describe them.
Last week, they were celebrated at the Fifth Annual Baxter Student Ambassador Awards luncheon at George Brown College’s Chefs’ House in Toronto.
The luncheon – prepared and served by students of the school’s Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts – featured a highlight-packed program that included the presentation of the 2019 BSAP Awards and a motivating and timely keynote address by the Tourism Industry Association of Canada’s (TIAC) president and CEO, Charlotte Bell.
In her keynote, TIAC’s president told the gathering that “it’s extremely important for the industry to come together in offering learning and networking opportunities for aspiring travel industry professionals like each of you.”
And speaking directly to the students attending, she said that: “Having chosen a career in tourism and hospitality, you’ve opened the door to a breadth of job possibilities in the most dynamic industry possible.”
The travel and tourism industry, Bell observed “is one of the fastest-growing industries globally” and that that growth is forecast to continue for “many years to come,” as more and more people around the world continue to travel for business, study or leisure.
And Bell praised Baxter Media and its industry partners their efforts, observing that [BSAP] “is the only travel and tourism mentoring program of its kind in Canada.”
As for the numbers, Bell told the crowd of ambassadors, educators and industry executives that one in 10 jobs in Canada are “tied to tourism,” with the industry employing 1.8 million Canadians and ranking as the number one employer of youth in this country.
In 2018, tourism contributed $102 billion to the Canadian economy, with Bell noting, “that’s more than forestry, agriculture and fisheries combined,” and Canada “broke all records” for international arrivals, welcoming 21 million people from around the world.
“All these numbers tell a positive story. But we’re nowhere near unlocking the full potential of our sector.
One of the great things about tourism is that it has so much untapped potential for growth. And that’s where you can make a difference,” TIAC’s president said, addressing the BSAP ambassadors directly.
Yet, the reality is that despite the industry’s collective efforts and successes, Canada is ranked 17th in terms of international arrivals, and, while TIAC and its partners are working hard to get Canada back in the top 10, “we need good people working in this industry to make sure Canada is keeping pace with other destinations when it comes to welcoming visitors – both domestically and from abroad.”
“People are our greatest resource – and that’s you,” Bell said in her keynote, continuing: “Tourism is all about experience. And finding dedicated, enthusiastic, engaged people to work in our industry is a top priority for all of us. And that’s why we’re here today celebrating your success and supporting your next chapter.”
And Bell offered the 2019 Ambas-sadors some advice, telling them: “Always remember that this is so much more than a job. When you work in tourism, you’re helping create memorable experiences that visitors will cherish and share with family and friends. Every positive visitor experience helps us promote Canada as the great destination it is. Because of your dedication and enthusiasm, you’ll be great and you’ll help the industry be even greater.”
In 2019, BSAP’s sponsors included ACTA, Baxter Media, Big Bark Graphics, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Collette, Contiki, Elmhirst’s Resort, FLYGTA Airlines, Goway, Israel Ministry of Tourism, Jamaica Tourist Board, Manulife, Merit Travel, Niagara Helicopters, Skål Canada, TIAO, Transat, Travel Courier, and WestJet.
The Baxter Student Ambassador Program (or BSAP) was launched in 2014-2015 with Humber College and Transat. In five years, it has grown from one participating school to 15 colleges and universities in 2019.
It is the only travel and tourism student mentoring program of its kind in Canada offering learning and networking opportunities for aspiring travel industry professionals.