2024 Tourism Symposium

Full Day’s Agenda

8:30am to 10:00am – Registration, Coffee & Networking
Sponsored by Delta Hotels by Marriott Toronto Markham

Attendees are encouraged to sign-in early and enjoy an assortment of scones, biscuits, baked loaves, and pastries, with coffee and tea while networking with fellow tourism stakeholders from York, Durham and Headwaters.

10:00am to 10:45am – Welcome & Opening Remarks

Chuck Thibeault, Executive Director, Central Counties Tourism

Randy Snape, Destination Markham Corporation | Presenting Sponsor

10:45am to 11:30am – Peer Panel Session
New Experience Development through Collaboration

Moderated by Ruida Lu, Business Development, Destination Markham | Jazzlicious Project Manager, 2023 & 2024


  • Heather Bambrick, Jazz Vocalist, Voice Actor, Radio Broadcaster | Jazzlicious Musical Artist, 2023 & 2024
  • Diakhia Lezama, Executive Chef & Owner, Laz Authentic Cuisine | Jazzlicious Culinary Artist, 2024
  • Kristan McLean, Events & Community Outreach Manager, Rouge River Brewing Company | Jazzlicious Venue Manager, 2024
  • Monica Pain, Event Specialist, Destination Markham | Jazzlicious Project Coordinator, 2024

Discover the collaborative spirit behind ‘Jazzlicious,’ a unique blend of music and culinary innovation, at our panel on New Experience Development through Collaboration. Learn about the challenges and successes from the creatives and organizers who brought this vibrant initiative to life.

11:30am to 12:30pm – Augmented Reality Presentation

Chuck Thibeault, Executive Director, Central Counties Tourism
Susan Boyle, Director of Marketing, Central Counties Tourism
George Schweizer, Lead Developer, SimWave
Damon Bazhdanzadeh, Software Developer, SimWave

12:30pm to 1:30pm – Networking Lunch

1:30pm to 2:30pm – Keynote Speaker 
Integrating GenAI: A Practical Guide for Tourism Professionals

Katherine Scarrow, Manager of Creative Strategy, Globe Content Studio

Set aside the technical lingo and focus on the future that’s already here. Katherine Scarrow, The Globe and Mail’s manager of creative strategy, will provide a clear understanding of how Generative AI (GenAI) can be a powerful asset in your marketing toolkit. Discover the practical significance of GenAI, its capacity to transform and learn accessible ways to fold this innovative tech into your tourism strategies.

2:30pm to 2:45pm – Coffee and Networking Break

2:45pm to 3:45pm – Panel Session
Rethinking Recruitment in a Competitive Labour Market

Moderated by Leni Brem, Project Manager, Tourism Workforce Sustainability Program, TIAO


  • Mark Capistrano, Project Coordinator, TIAO
  • Abby Aldoroty, Disability Inclusion Business Advisor, OTEC
  • Aaron Binder, Director, Better Way Alliance & Co-owner, Go Tours Canada

The Rethinking Recruitment in a Competitive Labour Market discussion will include recruitment and retention experts from some of Ontario’s foremost tourism advocacy and training organizations, including the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario’s (TIAO), Business advisors with the Ontario Tourism Education Corporation (OTEC), and the Better Way Alliance.

4:00pm to 4:20pm – Closing Remarks and Prizing

4:30pm to 6:30pm – Happy Hour Networking Social at Smash Kitchen & Bar (4261 Hwy 7 E, Unionville)
Sponsored by Destination Markham

Programming, exact timing and speakers subject to change.

Thank you to our Event Sponsors!

Presenting Sponsor

Destination Markham Logo

Platinum Sponsor

Gold Sponsor

Silver Sponsors

Durham Logo
VFF Logo
Visit Caledon Logo
Whitby Logo

Hotel Sponsor


Central Counties is located North of Toronto


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Chuck Thibeault

Executive Director, Chuck Thibeault