The Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO)’s President and CEO Christopher Bloore is to step down from his role on Dec. 31 as he returns permanently to the United Kingdom, the association announced Monday (Oct. 2).
Bloore leaves the association after nearly three years in the leadership role, having led the organization through COVID-19 and the beginning of the recovery period.
“One thousand, three hundred and nine days ago I started my first working day for TIAO. When I entered TIAO’s then University Avenue offices to work alongside Beth Potter, Carol Greenwood, and Alexandra Rodgers, little did we know that just a few days later, a worldwide health pandemic would jeopardize the very future of the tourism industry in Ontario. Throughout this unprecedented period of lockdowns, border closures and restrictions on operations I have been fortunate to work alongside exceptional operators, advocates, and leaders from within the tourism industry as we fought to mitigate the very worst consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Bloore said in a statement.
“Whilst we may not have won every battle, I am proud of the critical financial support and regulatory changes we’ve delivered to support our members when they’ve needed it the most. Moreover, I am proud we have and will continue to tell the story about the tourism industry in Ontario and amplify the voices of those delivering exceptional experiences throughout our province.”
Bloore went on to say that during his tenure, he has sought to broaden TIAO’s remit, build coalitions with non-traditional allies and speak to issues that have a significant impact on the future of our industry.
“The fruits of those new partnerships, most notably, the State of the Ontario Tourism Industry Report, still remains one of the most comprehensive blueprints for a bright and successful future for our industry,” he said.
The collapse of the visitor economy during the height of the pandemic and its impact on associated industries also demonstrated the “critical importance of tourism to the economic health of our province,” Bloore noted.
“The challenge to keep tourism at the heart of economic development policies at all levels of government is the greatest single challenge facing tourism leaders. It is the only way to answer the economic legacies of the pandemic such as debt but also answer the pre-existing challenges on affordable housing, building a sustainable workforce and playing our part in fighting the damaging impacts of climate-change.”
Bloore offered his heartfelt thanks to TIAOs members and stakeholders for their “unwavering support and sage advice throughout my tenure.”
“I would like to thank TIAO’s current and past board members for giving me the opportunity to lead such a prestigious association and TIAO’s staff team for being the most committed and exceptional group that I have been fortunate to work alongside,” he said.
“I leave TIAO proud of what we have achieved together, safe in the knowledge that those working within the tourism industry have the resolve to continue the fight. Tourism, if given its fair share of investment and focus, can play a substantial and unique role within our provincial economy.”
Bloore’s final weeks as president and CEO will be focused on the next Ontario provincial budget and the Federal Fall Economic Statement and ensuring that the next president and CEO is in the “best position possible to continue the fight for our members in 2024,” he said.
"An incredible advocate"
Rebecca Mackenzie, Chair of the Board of Directors said:
“We will miss Chris’s incredible passion for the Ontario tourism industry. Chris took over the role as President & CEO in May of 2021 while the industry was in the peak of navigating operations during COVID-19. An incredible advocate, community connector and leader, Chris has made a significant impact in his time with TIAO.”
“Chris’s efforts strengthened TIAO’s presence with both government and media to show the value of tourism to the visitor economy and the need to rebuild right coming out of the pandemic.”
“Under his leadership, he and the team have forged relationships with a number of ministries to support the industry in creating programs to tackle labour challenges, building capacity at the operator level and developing new visitor experiences. Membership in TIAO quadrupled under his leadership. He ensured Ontario was at the table on all national issues representing TIAO on the Provincial & Territorial Tourism Industry Associations.”
“Please join us in thanking Chris for all of his hard work and for the passion he showed for tourism in Ontario. We wish you all the best Chris - you will be missed.”
Mackenzie said the Board of Directors and its leadership team are working with the executive recruitment firm, Boyden, to engage a new president & CEO for TIAO.