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Summit Master Class Speakers

For Immediate Release

January 31, 2023

Thompson Okanagan Tourism Summit Announces Speakers and Master Class Activities

Thompson Rivers University

Kamloops, B.C. - The Thompson Okanagan Tourism Summit: Biospherology Master Class, promises to be an immersive experience unlike any other Summit the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA) has hosted. Tourism professionals from across the region and British Columbia are invited to attend the Summit at Thompson Rivers University (TRU), February 21 - 22, 2023.

*Hurry special room pricing ends Tuesday, January 31 at midnight.

Attendees can expect to spend an action packed day on their feet, moving through the TRU Campus with industry leaders who are experts in their respective fields. Through the Master Class collaborative, “hands on" approach, attendees will gain knowledge and inspiration to incorporate responsible, sustainable practices into their communities and workplaces.

The Summit launches the evening of Tuesday, February 21 with a social networking event at “The Patch” during the Scotties Tournament of Hearts National Women’s Curling Championship, followed by a viewing party at the Sandman Centre to cheer on Canada’s top curlers as they compete for the title of Team Canada. Tickets are $25+ GST, event runs 4pm-9pm.

The Thompson Okanagan Tourism Summit invites attendees to join for a full day of thought-provoking and immersive Master Classes on February 22, including:

Kúkpi7 Rosanne Casimir of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc

Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc

Kúkpi7 Rosanne is the first keynote, speaking to attendees about their community’s journey through the discovery of the remains of 215 children at the Kamloops Residential School. Kúkpi7 Rosanne’s story will take the audience from Ottawa, to the Vatican, and into their community as they work towards a way forward and future path.

Brave Communications

Indigenous storyteller, Angus Cockney, is the next keynote.

Angus has a remarkable story of being an orphaned, Residential School survivor. In this presentation, Angus outlines that life is not without its scars. Along with the scars, there were also stars. With his story, he inspires survivors to feed their destiny and not feed their history.

Sonja Gaudet is the world’s most decorated wheelchair curler with three Paralympic gold medals (2006, 2010, 2014) and is a Canadian Curling Hall of Fame and BC Sports Hall of Fame inductee. Born in North Vancouver and now residing in Vernon, Sonja has always approached challenges with her “can do” attitude and with that she paved the way for wheelchair curling across the nation.

Tourism, culinary, mental health and movement speakers will inspire over the lunch break.

View the full schedule at

Three interactive Master Classes invite cohorts to rotate between:

Build it Better - led by James Gordon from TRU’s Environmental Programs and Research.

James takes tourism professionals behind the scenes, walls, and infrastructure to demonstrate TRU’s commitment to a zero carbon future and how they are building infrastructure, systems, and creating innovations to ensure they meet those targets.

Another Perspective: Accessibility Immersive - led by Sonja Gaudet (Gold Medal Paralympian) and Ginger Brunner (go2HR). Participants are invited to experience what employees and guests experience if they have difficulties or impairments of sight, sensory, and mobility.

The Trash Buffet - Learn how to utilize food sources that would normally be tossed. This hands-on session will demonstrate a less wasteful approach to cooking and eating habits both at work and at home. Planning, education, and creativity can take cauliflower cores, broccoli stems, carrot and potato peels, and turn them into zero waste culinary magic.

The Biospherology Summit reflects the focus on continuous education for tourism professionals that will ultimately elevate visitor experiences, strengthen businesses, regenerate communities, and reduce impacts within the surrounding environments.

Attendees finish the day with purposeful plans and inspiration to take back to communities. The event will be carbon neutral.

Special room rates for bookings expire Tuesday, January 31 at midnight - don’t delay, register for the Summit and book your room now:

Enter Web Group Code: “2302TOTASU” (do not select Promo Code) or call 250-377-

7263 and quote “BLOCK ID 195768 - TOTA SUMMIT 2023”

TOTA’s Biospherology Master Class is open to all tourism stakeholders in the region and province in roles of: tourism and hospitality leaders, executives, team members, sustainability coordinators, government, not-for-profit organizations, students, and anyone with an interest in sustainable tourism development.

Learn more and register at

Thompson Rivers University

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About Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association:

The Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA) is a not-for-profit society that represents a geographic area nestled in the Southern Interior of British Columbia, Canada. The region’s name is derived from two major geographic features: the Thompson River and Okanagan Lake. TOTA aims to stimulate ongoing sustainable growth by embracing the value of tourism through community engagement, innovative leadership in promoting authentic experiences, and inspiring creative collaboration. Key TOTA initiatives include; Biosphere Certified Gold Destination, 7 Affirmations Pledge, and Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism.

For more information about TOTA visit, or visit the consumer facing website Connect socially at @thompson_okanagan

Media Contact:

Krista Lochhead



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