B.C.’s New Tourism Marketing CEOs

Three B.C.-based tourism organizations have seen recent leadership shakeups. Where do these new CEOs see the industry headed?



Paul Nursey
CEO, Tourism Victoria

Marsha Walden
President and CEO, Destination BC Corp.

Greg Klassen
Interim president and CEO, Canadian Tourism Commission

What changes do you hope to bring to your new position? I see a new era of collaboration with both Marsha and Greg taking their respective roles along with myself. This will drive greater partnership and more efficiency for the tourism industry. Destination BC is full of smart, enthusiastic and experienced people. My goal is to create strategic clarity for them—to focus our energies, and those of the industry, on the levers that drive tourism revenue growth. I will continue to focus on the values that are important to our industry. Our collaboration with our tourism industry remains a priority to ensure that Canada’s powerful tourism brand leads internationally. 
What is your vision for your organization’s brand?

Unless presented with compelling evidence, I don’t plan to change what’s already working. Because the current brand continues to perform, I would rather invest resources into sales and marketing. Over the past six months, our team has conducted brand-positioning research in our major markets. These insights will help us determine what steps to take to make B.C. resonate more powerfully with travel consumers. Our “Canada. Keep Exploring” brand gained momentum from the 2010 Olympic Games. However, the international tourism marketplace is incredibly competitive with all these amazing destinations, and we still need to get our brand out there more to consumers.
What are the significant trends you’re seeing in local tourism?

Now is a once-in-a-generation window where legacy aviation fleets are being replaced. I would like to work with partners and see what we can accomplish for Greater Victoria and B.C. in this context. There has been a dramatic shift in how consumers make their travel planning decisions. More and more, travellers are seeking new experiences—soft adventure, cultural exploration, wildlife encounters. B.C. is exceptionally well positioned to deliver these. Canada is the most recommended destination in the world; we aim to capture that enthusiasm on social networks, encouraging travellers to share their stories from their experiences that will ultimately help us market our great country.