Wednesday, April 25, 2012

CES - Tourism & Community Development Firm - Products & Services

 We incorporate innovative coaching and planning methodologies that use technology to enhance projects and take them to a whole new level.

Our products and services include:

  • Business Plans
  • Marketing & Branding Plans
  • Organizational Operating Plans
  • Community Tourism Plans
  • Regional Tourism Plans
  • Provincial Tourism Plans
  • Stakeholder Consultations
  • Community Engagement Strategies
  • Training & Coaching
  • Best Practices Missions
  • Product Development
  • Heritage Interpretation Plans
  • GPS Triggered Walking Tours
  • Websites
  • Marketing Materials - logos, brochures, signs
  • Mobile Apps
  • Building Design
  • Business Builder Series

Our clients include:

  • Entrepreneurs
  • Tourism Officers
  • Product Development Officers
  • Tourism Businesses
  • Tourism Associations (community, regional, provincial)
  • Cultural Centres
  • Museums
  • Destination Marketing Organizations
  • Training Centres
  • Communities
  • Regional Governments
  • Provincial Governments
  • Aboriginal
  • Indigenous 
  • Rural
  • Urban 
  • Northern

Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal awarded to the President/CEO of Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute

Friday, April 20, 2012

Innovative Ideas for Indigenous Tourism Development

I came across an interesting video on YouTube about how Chief Almir, head of a Surui tribe in the Amazon, uses Google Earth and mobile technology to record stories of their Elders to assist with cultural and environmental preservation. Chief Almir’s innovative idea to track and record illegal logging in his region using Google Earth created a positive impact for the community’s economy by resulting in a reforestation project. Chief Almir was recognized as one of the 100 most creative people in business in 2011 by Fast Company.
Chief Almir, tribal leader of the Surui people of the Brazilian Amazon | Photograph by Ivan Kashinsky

Chief Almir is a great example of a leader thinking outside the box and using an innovative idea to spearhead sustainable community initiatives. Even though his project wasn’t directly related to tourism, the same creative process can be applied to sustainable indigenous tourism development.

CES has worked with over 50 indigenous communities across Canada and abroad. At CES, we enjoy working with our clients throughout the creative process to find innovative ways to develop unique tourism experiences. We use a collaborative process with our clients to create products and services that are creative, customized to fit our client’s needs and set them apart from the competition. We incorporate innovative coaching and planning methodologies that use technology to enhance projects and take them to a whole new level.

Here are some of the exciting initiatives we were a part of:
  • Developing an Elder’s storytelling trail experience;
  • Creating adaptable thematic routes that connect nine indigenous communities;
  • Inventing community engagement tools for industry and communities using mobile technology;
  • Using storytelling as the focus to design Bold Brand marketing initiatives;
  • Embracing technology to create an enhanced learning experience for our training & coaching programs.
Whether you are in the idea stage or looking to expand and enhance your community’s or business’s tourism products and services, we would love to share some of our experiences and methodologies with you. Who knows, maybe you’ll be one of the next 100 most creative people in business for 2012.

Contact us at or at 1-877-444-5550.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sustainable Tourism: Communities Growing their Economies while Safeguarding the Environment in Canada and Internationally

Tuesday May 1, 2012
1:00pm Atlantic, 12:00 pm Eastern, 11:00 am Central, 10:00 am Mountain, 9:00 am Pacific

International Committee Webinar Session
Register TODAY and join us to learn about how Sustainable Tourism is supporting communities growing their economies while safeguarding the environment in Canada and internationally.
Tourism has a major impact on economies, cultures and the environment. It often destroys cultures, communities and natural habitat but it can be a vehicle to build communities while increasing pride in local culture, improving the local economy and helping to protect local habitat. This webinar will share examples of sustainable tourism development here and abroad. We will see how Indigenous communities in Canada help empower local communities by utilizing an Indigenous approach to tourism.
International perspective: Michael Campbell of University of Manitoba will present on his prestigious Skål International award winning project that offers tourists a chance to spy mountain gorillas in their natural habitat in Uganda. Working with Makerere University and the Uganda Wildlife Authority, they’ve established a master’s program in wildlife tourism and recreation management. Uganda now trains its own people to manage an industry that accounts for 50% of the country’s GDP.

Canadian perspective: Clinton Belcher, President and CEO of CES, will share his work with First Nation communities in Canada, particularly Quebec. From over 15 years of experience, CES has developed the Pando Terra™ Model, which creates an organic approach to sustainable tourism development. Stories of this model being used in Eeyou Istchee – the traditional territory of the James Bay Cree in Quebec - will be shared. This model empowers, encourages and supports the community and its members first, knowing that sustainable tourism development will follow.
Moderator: Jessica Braun, CES
A question and answer period will follow.

• Date: May 1, 2012
• Webinar begins at 12:00 pm Eastern time, 9:00 am Pacific time
• Participation is free
• Register by April 29 to obtain connection information and additional resources.
This session is in English.
Register today!
Click on 
Please share this invitation with anyone you think would be interested.
For more information about the Canadian CED Network, please visit:
For more information about the CCCEDNet International Committee and to view  previous webinars, please visit

The Canadian CED Network’s International Committee webinar series is made possible in partnership with Uniterra

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tourism & Technology Trends for 2012 – A New Era of Travel

I was speaking with a friend about how much travel has changed over the past 10 years with the introduction of online reservations, access to information through mobile devices and social media. Many people are traveling with mobile devices like the iPad, iPhone and laptops and are moving away from purchasing guide books, buying maps, sending postcards and collecting brochures.

When I recently traveled to India I traveled with my laptop and trusty iPhone, which made booking flights, accommodations, researching information and posting stories on my blog stress free, extremely easy, and cost effective.

This supports the fact that one of the key messages for tourism businesses in 2012 is to embrace the technological trends in the tourism industry. This includes making it easy for people to access your information online and using innovative marketing techniques such as QR Codes, Mobile Apps and Social Media.

A study conducted by the Amadeus IT Group stated that travel will become a more collaborative process by enhancing the travel experience using technology. People will travel collaboratively by accessing information from each other and in turn, tourism businesses will work together with travellers to improve their products and services. This process will create a stress free experience for both the traveler and the tourism business by reducing uncertainty and chaos.

One example, detailed in an infographic created by the Amadeus IT Group, was that 51% of travelers are frustrated by not knowing where the best local restaurants, bars and venues are located. A solution would be to develop a mobile app with augmented reality features that displays information about the destination by combining the real world environment with computer generated input such as video, graphics and location-specific information. The mobile app will provide a traveler with accessible information about where the cultural and historical points of interest and the nearest restaurants and bars are.

Singapore Tourism Guide on your Mobile Phone

Travel has become a more socially-driven activity with the introduction of social media sites. Travelers are increasingly influenced by friends and even strangers’ recommendations on where and where not to go through blog postings, facebook, twitter, Trip Advisor, and other social media sites. This creates an opportunity for tourism businesses to join the conversation and establish relationships with their past, current and potential visitors.

It’s amazing that a whole new era of travel is on the horizon which creates unique opportunities for tourism businesses. There is still a value in developing physical marketing pieces such as brochures and hand-outs but it is important to note that this technological revolution is happening in the tourism industry. If you would like to learn how you can embrace the technological revolution, find out the latest trends, enhance your marketing tools and create a customized mobile app contact me at or 1-877-444-5550.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

all-inclusive Cuba - in the eyes of a Tourism Consultant

I recently returned from a week-long stay at an all inclusive resort in Varadero, Cuba.  All-inclusives really aren’t my preference; I’d rather find a small locally owned hotel and explore my surroundings, try to meet the locals, and come home with a real sense of the place I visited.

In this case I didn’t have that choice, though the alternative still made for a great getaway. I was there for a week of training and workshops with the Canada JKA Karate Federation, and admittedly the price of the all inclusive package was very appealing (and I must admit, so was the beach and the constant sunshine!)

Being a communist country, comparing Cuba to other developed tourism regions isn’t quite like comparing apples to apples. Trade restrictions and government owned resources make for unique circumstances. 

But in many ways Varadero resembles so many of the sun, sand, and s*x destinations that became popular over the past few decades, filled with sprawling all-inclusive resorts owned by the government or large multi-national firms.  And here is where this type of tourism development model deviates from the community-based model promoted by CES.

Yes, the sprawling all-inclusive government owned resorts provide much needed employment for thousands of people, but at what cost?  I found the staff at the resort fell rather neatly into one of two categories: genuinely friendly or completely indifferent. There was no middle-ground of basic customer service that we’re used to here in Canada; the staff – whether gardeners, housekeepers, bartenders, or servers in the restaurant – were either very friendly and interested in chatting, or were expressionless automatons.  Perhaps the result of knowing that no matter how hard they worked they would never be able to ‘own’ a piece of all the wealth around them (in spite of lucrative tips)?

And the town of Varadero has virtually been stripped of its cultural identity and sense of community. A central park, movie theatre, and various cultural meeting places were neglected in favour of a hotel-centred all-inclusive tourism development model, and were ultimately closed.

For millions of international tourists each year, this is just fine. They come for the sun and sand and to buy mass-produced souvenirs, and there really isn’t anything wrong with that. But I wonder if they know what they’re missing? If they had the choice to experience ‘real’ Cuban culture and hang out with the locals, would they? And if they had the choice to support a small family-owned tourism business instead of a large government owned business, would they?

Worldwide research indicates that there continues to be a shift in travellers’ preferences for real, authentic cultural tourism experiences.  But sometimes this requires a bit of education on both sides – locals need to understand that their culture IS of interest and IS something that can be marketed, and tourists need to be made aware that these culturally authentic experiences are available.

To learn more about CES’s Sustainable Community Tourism Development model, Bold Brand marketing strategy, and other services we offer, contact me at, or call toll free 1-877-444-5550.