The 2019 BSAP Ambassadors have arrived.
A new generation was celebrated yesterday at the Fifth Annual Baxter Student Ambassador Awards luncheon at George Brown College’s Chefs’ House in Toronto and it featured the presentation of the 2019 Awards and a powerful keynote address by the Tourism Industry Association of Canada’s (TIAC) president and CEO, Charlotte Bell.
But a little background first.
The Baxter Student Ambassador Program (BSAP) is committed to identifying the industry’s most-promising student talent in tourism and hospitality programs at Canada’s leading colleges and universities.
Each year, ambassadors are selected based on a combination of academic success, industry and community involvement, leadership skills, and creating a skill-testing webinar presentation. One graduating student from each participating school is designated as the Baxter Student Ambassador.
Successful students are rewarded with opportunities for travel, learning, and networking; as well as travel prizes, hands-on work experience, professional development, membership opportunities, and invitations to special event provided by a growing number of industry companies, organizations and associations.
In 2019, BSAP’s sponsors included ACTA, Baxter Media, Big Bark Graphics, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Collette, Contiki, Elmhirsts’s Resort, FLYGTA Airlines, Goway, Israel Ministry of Tourism, Jamaica Tourist Board, Manulife, Merit Travel, Niagara Helicopters, Skal Canada, TIAO, Transat, Travel Courier, and WestJet.
A KEYNOTE TO REMEMBER
The luncheon event featured the presentation of the 2019 Ambassador awards to each of the 15 students as well as a powerful keynote address by Charlotte Bell, president and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC)
Bell praised Baxter Media for its efforts, observing that [BSAP] “is the only travel and tourism mentoring program of its kind in Canada.”
TIAC’s president said that she believes “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.”
She told students in the audience 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 said, “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.
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.
IT’S ALL ABOUT PEOPLE
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 Ambassadors 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 event greater.”
MEET THE AMBASSADORS
This year’s Ambassadors include:
- Val Routledge – Algonquin College
- Kylee Peters – Tourism Marketing Management, British Columbia Institute of Technology
- Michele McIntosh – Tourism Management Cooperative Education, Capilano University
- Chintan Limbachiya – Tourism – Travel Services Management, Centennial College
- Katelyn Fancy – Hospitality and Tourism Management, Conestoga College
- Ayrielle Dijkstra – Tourism – Travel and Eco-Adventure, Confederation College
- Rhonda Cowderoy – Tourism and Travel, Fanshawe College
- Sherry Ton – Honours Bachelor of Business Administration (Hospitality), George Brown College
- Justine Davies – Tourism – Global Travel, Fleming College
- Danielle Berezowsky – Tourism – Marketing and Product Development, Georgian College
- Lorilee Gibb – Tourism – Travel Services Management, Humber College
- Julie Perrett – Tourism Management, Red River College
- Hayley Johnson-Skinner – Hospitality and Tourism Management, Ryerson University
- Camila Beluco – Travel and Tourism, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology
- Natalia Munoz-Cuevas – Tourism – Services Management, Seneca College
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.
IN THE PHOTOS
Featured Photo – The 2019 Baxter Student Ambassadors.
TOP Photo – BSAP’s 2019 Sponsors — and a big “THANKS” to all of you.
And make sure to check out the photo gallery (below) of the 2019 Ambassadors receiving their awards: