OMCA Report
Jan. 16, 2015

Membership renewals
OMCA
It's January and we would like to wish all of our members a Happy New Year! With another year under our belts, we are looking forward to working with you again and welcoming you to our upcoming events, including this year's OMCA Marketplace in London, ON, Nov. 14-18.

Please note that membership renewal invoices for 2015 were sent out in the mail earlier this month. For members preferring to make a payment onlne, you may do so by clicking here — log in with your ID and password, and select "Memberships" from the menu bar.

For those who have already renewed their memberships, we thank you.

For any questions or assistance, please contact us at info@omca.com. We appreciate your business, and we look forward to another great membership year ahead.More

Tourism board: Toronto convention industry surging again
Toronto Star
The end of the Great Recession and generous words from Vogue magazine are among the reasons that Toronto's convention industry is booming again, after a swoon brought on by tough economic times, the city's tourism agency says. Almost half a million people booked a meeting or convention visit to Toronto in 2014, good for over 600,000 hotel room nights — the first time the city has cracked that threshold.More

Downtown Hamilton transit lane lives on for now
CBC News
After six hours of debate, close votes and failed motions, Hamilton's downtown transit lane is still alive, but may not live for much longer. City councillors debated killing the transit lane, a pilot project identified as a precursor to light rapid transit (LRT), at a general issues committee meeting. More

Pass GO, do not collect a fare: Metrolinx's friends-ride-free policy draws complaints
Toronto Star
Free GO service for Metrolinx employees and their guests is drawing fire from government critics as the regional transit service prepares to hike its fares on Feb. 1. Most transit agencies, including the TTC, Mississauga and York Region Transit, let their employees ride for free. More

Falling gas prices and a weaker loonie are good news for the tourism business
The Huffington Post
Falling gas prices and a weakening loonie are raising hopes within Canada's tourism industry that 2015 will be a banner year. More

Restructuring Ontario Northland prepares to pick up steam
Northern Ontario Business
A new "transformational" era has arrived at a reformed Ontario Northland Transportation Commission and its interim CEO is urging everyone to get on board. More

Ontario unveils transportation plan for Pan Am Games
The Globe and Mail
The Ontario government will be limiting access on major highways across the Toronto area during the Pan Am Games next summer, part of a $61 million plan for managing traffic during the athletic competition. More

Infrastructure Minister: Ontario won't follow Quebec-Caisse model
The Globe and Mail
The Ontario government is cool to the sort of arrangement the Caisse has struck with the Quebec government. While Ontario builds many of its major infrastructure projects — from transit lines to hospitals — through public-private partnerships, those pieces of infrastructure remain publicly owned. There is little interest in changing that, Infrastructure Minister Brad Duguid indicated in a recent statement.More

Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area needs one regional transit authority
Toronto Star
When it comes to fighting gridlock many major North American urban regions have a key advantage over the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. They have a single region-wide authority delivering their transit services. More

New regional transportation plan to be released in Sarnia
Sarnia Observer
Southwestern Ontario communities who have largely been crippled by cuts to passenger rail service may finally receive just the ticket to improve their joint transit system. Transportation consultant Greg Gormick is expected to unveil Network Southwest — a four-year plan billed as a practical and affordable solution to improving transit in the region — later this month. More

Opposition: Liberals holding back on Pan Am traffic crunch
Toronto Sun
This summer's Pan Am Games will create a "traffic nightmare," Ontario opposition party critics warn. The Progressive Conservative transportation critic and New Democrat urban transportation critic say drivers have so far found little comfort in a $61 million plan designed to ease congestion during the games in July. More

Transportation ministry has special rules for Freedom of Information requests
Toronto Sun
All Freedom of Information (FOI) requests submitted by journalists, opposition politicians and anyone who might publicly discuss their findings are singled out for special treatment by the province's transportation ministry, documents obtained by the Toronto Sun show. In the documents, meant to update incoming Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca last June and obtained through an FOI request, ministry staff deem those FOIs to be contentious regardless of what they are asking for. More

MPP Laurie Scott contacts MTO over roads
Haliburton Echo
MPP Laurie Scott spends a lot of time on Ontario's highways and she says she agrees wholeheartedly with growing frustration over their maintenance. The representative for Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock wrote to the Ministry of Transportation asking them to address the conditions, which she says have worsened in the last couple of years. More

Toronto tour using words to 'bring humanity forward' in kids
Metro News
A Toronto group is using recent current events to teach young people about the dangers of hate and intolerance. Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies started the Tour for Humanity last year, visiting schools across Ontario on a bus and talking to youths about genocides like the Holocaust. More

Tourism insights from Chinese students in U.S. hospitality programs
Skift
There is a great deal of interest in outbound Chinese travellers within the tourism industry, but little attention is paid to Chinese students studying tourism and hospitality in the U.S. Chinese students head to schools in the U.S. and Europe to pick up new strategies to help influence the direction of both outbound and inbound Chinese travel. More