Last weekend the worlds top travel bloggers descended upon Toronto for TBEX. The Travel Blogger Exchange is the world’s largest gathering of travel bloggers, writers, and new media content creators. I was obviously tickled pink that it would be taking place in my little city on the lake.
Rewind to last summer: I was invited to sit down with Tourism Toronto staff and the TBEX team for an intimate dinner at Paese in Toronto’s Theatre district. The TBEX organizers were in town to do a site visit of the city and meet local bloggers (yours truly joined by Casie Stewart) to chat about the conference and the thriving local blogging community. I was so pleased to have the opportunity to act as a blog ambassador for Toronto through my writing on dobbernationLOVES which regularly highlights the cities festivals, restaurants, breweries, theatre, fashion and arts communities.
It was this memorable meal that I kept flashing back to as I rolled my suitcase past the Air Canada Centre and into the Hotel Le Germain Maple Leaf Square. After entering Room 814 I encountered a spacious living room with comfy couch, dining table and espresso machine. Through a side door I spotted a plush king sized bed and chique bathroom featuring a glass walled shower. I had a most enjoyable stay at the Le Germain which offers modern elegance just down the road from the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
A Taste of Plate: Defining a Destination Through Its Food Culture
I will admit I was both thrilled and slightly nervous about speaking at my first conference. I took the stage on Saturday morning with my co-presenter, Rebecca LeHeup Executive Director of the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance. Rebecca got things started by educating the audience about what makes a culinary tourist unique. Her conversation was peppered with statistics and figures that highlighted the distinct habits and motivations of this niche. She further outlined how culinary tourists directly impact the economy of the destinations in which they travel through their purchasing habits. I concluded the talk with my Top 5 Tips on Creating a Culinary Tourism Press Trip and outlined two strategic partnerships I have created with Ford in Prince Edward County and Canada Beef in Alberta.
Feedback from our talk was fantastic and I’m so glad we were able to offer two perspectives from the DMO via Rebecca’s work at OCTA and my own experience as a travel blogger who specializes in farm to fork storytelling. Thanks to all who attended and good luck with your food and beverage centric stories this year!
TBEX Toronto Highlights
- Toronto Travel Massive at The Embassy: my first TBEX event, a great opportunity to connect with other bloggers before the conference officially launched.
- Speakers Reception at The Four Seasons Toronto’s Presidential Suite: an intimate celebration of the conferences speakers featuring fantastic canapés and a memorable rhubarb cocktail.
- Launch Party at Roy Thompson Hall: a fantastic party hosted by the team at Tourism Toronto which offered guests a taste of Toronto’s unique culinary offerings via our favourite neighbourhoods.
- Expedia Party at Shopsy’s on Centre Island: attendees were whisked out of the city via the Island Ferry to spend the night at Centreville’s Shopsy’s Restaurant which offered stunning views of the city skyline.
- Speed Dating and Open Marketplace: a fantastic opportunity to meet DMO’s and brands face to face. I met with over 40 destinations and several key brands which I am looking forward to working in collaboration with this year!