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The 2024 national conference of TMAC attracted unprecedented interest from 260 delegates from across Canada and beyond to St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador from June 12th to 16th, 2024, culminating in an Awards Gala celebrating the judged best stories of 2023 authored by Canadian accredited travel media creators. The Awards further recognized the professionalism of destination industry members and acknowledged the dedication of volunteer members that lead the association.

The Award Winners are:

[Click here to view the official NEWS RELEASE with links to submissions of work]

TMAC Volunteer of the Year - Erica Hargreave

President of TMAC, Paul Knowles expressed “Tonight, I want to put the spotlight on our volunteers as we honour one of our members, who is a great example of the difference TMACers make.

"Erica is the kind of volunteer who could easily fly under the radar. She contributes in ways that often go unnoticed. Despite her behind-the-scenes role, her impact has been profound. This anecdote underlines her commitment and her integrity: The first year TMAC offered the Emerging and Broadcast Media Award, Erica recommended a judge, who subsequently bowed out. Her response was to withdraw her own entries, and volunteer to fill that role. One more comment from a colleague: “Erica’s innovative ideas have been instrumental in updating our Awards program to better serve our growing membership. Her talent for making complex technical concepts accessible has been invaluable, ensuring that our awards program remains inclusive and equitable. Without the dozens and dozens of hours Erica put in the Awards Committee would not have been able to achieve even a fraction of what it has”.

TMAC Industry Member of the Year - Neil Hodges, Tourism New Brunswick

Paul Knowles says, “Numerous accolades for Neil Hodge made him the obvious choice for TMAC Industry Member of the Year. He was praised for truly understanding -- and delivering -- what media are seeking in terms of story ideas, itineraries, and support. Lauded for his encyclopedic knowledge of New Brunswick and his attention to detail, Neil's background in journalism serves him well. His ability to create unique angles for each journalist he works with is applauded".

Best Indigenous Tourism Experience in Canada Story Award sponsored by Destination Indigenous:

1st Place: Tim Johnson: Encounters in Northern Saskatchewan are also lessons in Preserving Indigenous Languages. Published by Special to the Globe & Mail.

2nd Place: Christopher Rudder: Discovering Indigeneity Through Chocolate with Chef Tammy - Raven Rising | EP2. Published on Rudderless Media YouTube channel. 3rd Place: Kelsey Olsen: The Amazing Women of Indigenous Tourism. Published by Nations / 2023 Destination

Best Self-Published Travel Website (includes Blog) Award sponsored by Le Quebec Maritimes:

1st Place: Adventure Awaits by Jami Savage

2nd Place: Moi, mes souliers by Jennifer Doré Dallas

3rd Place: Globe Guide by Tamara Elliott

Best Cultural or Historical Story Award sponsored by Explore Louisiana:

1st Place: Zack Metcalfe: On Easterly Wind - What it means to find Vikings in Newfoundland. Published by Your Local Magazine.

2nd Place: Laura Paquet: Matilda Joslyn Gage: The suffragist who defied the US government. Published by BBC Travel.

3rd Place: Rod Charles: At Black Loyalist Heritage Centre, I Feel ‘I Am Being Called Home’. Published by

Best Food and Drink Story Award sponsored by Visit Orlando:

1st Place: Cinda Chavich: Wild, Gangly and Endlessly Adaptable - Tracing the roots of the rare Ozette potato. Published by Edible Vancouver & Wine Country.

2nd Place: Amy Rosen: Canada's Best New Restaurants. Published by enRoute Magazine, Air Canada.

3rd Place: Tim Johnson: Alligator cheesecake and fried bologna sandwiches — to find the best food in New Orleans, I asked the locals. Published by The Toronto Star.

Best Landscape or Evocation of Place Story Award sponsored by Tourism Saskatchewan:

1st Place: Roland Bastarache: Sunset at Mont St. Michel. Published by Blog

2nd Place: Kevin Wagar: Fishing boat in the Phi Phi Islands. Published by Wandering Wagars - Adventure Family Travel.

3rd Place: Oksana St John: A night at the Dark Hedges photograph. Published by

Best Tourism For Positive Change Story Award sponsored Destination BC:

1st Place: Jessica Lockhart: Kohutapu Lodge: A model for regenerative tourism in New Zealand. Published by BBC Travel.

2nd Place: Chloe Berge: Finding Hope in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Wild Nature and Historic Towns. Published by AFAR Magazine.

3rd Place: Sandra MacGregor: I Went on a Safari in Botswana With a Female Guide. Here’s why it made all the difference. Published by Travel and Leisure.

Best Outdoor Adventure, Sport or Recreation Story Award sponsored by Niagara Parks:

1st Place: Jessica Lockhart: Bass Rocks.Published by the New Zealand Herald.

2nd Place: Jennifer Bain: Walking Canada’s Camino. Published by Zoomer Magazine.

3rd Place: Wing Sze Tang: The Grandest Adventure. Published by The Toronto Star.

Best People Photo Award sponsored by Tourism Ireland:

1st Place: Tamara Elliott: Teaching new generations about a traditional kudlik welcoming ceremony. Published by Globe Guide.

2nd Place: Amy Rosen: The Geiko of Kyoto. Published by The Toronto Star.

3rd Place: Sharon Matthews-Stevens: On the Island of the Great Spirit. Published by

Best Spirit of Canada Award sponsored by Tourism Yukon:

1st Place: Claudia Laroye: A Literary Kitchen Party Flourishes in Woody Point. Published by

2nd Place: Jennifer Bain: Marine Adventures in Nunavut's Protected High Arctic Waters. Published by National Parks Traveler

3rd Place: Christopher Mitchell: What I Learned Spending One Memorable Month in Newfoundland & Labrador. Published by travelingmitch.

Best Emerging & Broadcast Media: Stories Over 10 minutes in Length Award sponsored by Tourism Richmond:

1st Place: William Tang: Winter in Banff is Epic. Published on Going Awesome Places YouTube channel

2nd Place: Mary Anne Ivison: Adam Shoalts Returns. Published by Let’s Take This

3rd Place: Ayngelina Brogan: The REAL CARTAGENA Colombia Afro Colombian History, Bazurto Market & La Maria. Published on Ayngelina YouTube channel.

Best Photo Series Award sponsored by Parks Canada:

1st Place: Robin Karpan: Photographing Saskatchewan's Living Skies at Night. Published by Prairies North Magazine.

2nd Place: Roland Bastarache: The Daily Meet UP. Published by Instagram RolandBast and Blog

3rd Place: Skylar Anderson: Northern Lights over Lake Ainslie, Cape Breton Island. Published by CTV Atlantic, Saltwire, Chronicle Herald, CTV National News, Daveyandsky and Explore Canada.

Best Emerging & Broadcast Media: Stories Under 10 Minutes in Length Award sponsored by Visit Tampa Bay:

1st Place: Skylar Anderson: Finding our Ancestry on our Irish Honeymoon. Published on daveyandsky Instagram channel.

2nd Place: William Tang: Magic of Easter Island. Published by Going Awesome Place YouTube channel.

3rd Place: Lauren Yakiwchuk: France Canal Cruise: Our Luxury Barge Cruise in Burgundy. Published by Justin Plus Lauren YouTube channel.

The People's Choice Photo Award sponsored by TMAC:

Gary Dalvos slows a hot air balloon Fred Flintstone style by hanging onto the basket’s edge, his feet acting as brakes. Photograph shot by Jenn Smith Nelson.

Ann Britton Campbell Family Travel Award in partnership with the TMAC BC & Yukon Chapter:

1st Place: Robin Esrock: A hands-on education in Churchill, Manitoba. Tundra Buggy pioneer Frontiers North invites adventurous families to northern Manitoba for a bucket list summer vacation. Published by Canadian Geographic.

2nd Place: Jennifer Merrick: Family Travel: Kids’ Obsessions Make Awesome Family Vacations. Plan a vacation that lets your young ones live out their ultimate fantasies. Published by

3rd Place: Diane Selkirk: Travel has helped me see my daughter more clearly. By stripping away everything familiar, all that’s left is her. Raising my child with a sense of adventure came with rich—and bittersweet—rewards. Published by The Star.

Nathan Fong Memorial Award sponsored by the Fong Family in partnership with TMAC’s BC & Yukon Chapter:

1st Place: Bianca Bujan: Malaysian Chef Alex Chen Makes Vancouver's Michelin List. Published by We Explore

2nd Place: Caroyln Heller: On the Steveston Waterfront, a Thai Chef Blends Alchemy, Gastronomy, and Tradition. Published by Montecristo Magazine.

3rd Place: Lucas Aykroyd: A Chinese Tapestry. Published by The Destination — Le destination Vancouver.

2023 Host Conference Destination Award sponsored by Destination Sudbury:

1st Place: Ultimate Visitors Guide to Sudbury by Arienne Parzei

The conference in St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador saw registration reach capacity in a mere five hours of the opening and marks the 30th anniversary of the Association. This travel conference represents the largest gathering of Canadian travel media in 2024.

The annual TMAC conference is held in host locations across Canada and occasionally in international destinations. This year, the opportunity to visit St. John’s meant that hundreds of members registered on the first day of opening. In addition to the conference itself, media members participated in pre- and post- conference experiences in Newfoundland & Labrador.

“St. John’s put together a fantastic menu of experiences and opportunities in the city and throughout the province,” said TMAC President and freelance travel journalist Paul Knowles “ and our Conference Committee volunteers, led by chair Rod Charles of and co-chair Katie Conklin of Discover Halifax did a spectacular job of organizing networking, professional development, and entertainment events for our members.”

About the Travel Media Association of Canada

Rooted in Canada with an international reach, the Travel Media Association of Canada creates a positive space for travel media and travel industry professionals to cultivate relationships that result in relevant collaborative, comprehensive opportunities and successful outcomes to foster and inspire travel. Its over 375 members include accredited Canadian travel media and representatives of travel destinations in Canada and across the globe. For more information, visit

My story about the Indigenous roots of the rare west coast Ozette Potato, published in Edible Vancouver magazine, won first place in the Best Food/Drink award category.


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