Cathedral Thinking & Tourism

Tourism Vancouver and Cathedral Thinking

As we approach 2020 – the year by which Tourism Vancouver has proclaimed that Vancouver will be recognized as a world city – industry members would do well to revisit Cathedral Thinking and consider adopting its principles. The concept was presented in detail by several leaders of the city’s tourism industry at Tourism Vancouver’s 2012 Annual General Meeting. Within the cavernous space of the aptly chosen Christ Church Cathedral, the speakers stressed that holding major events and conventions each month of the year, formalizing Tourism Vancouver’s role as a “destination marketing and management organization” and forming close relationships with the Hotel Association of Vancouver and partner DMOs, among others – we must also plan beyond that as we bid on international conferences taking place decades from now, or target sports and cultural events happening far in the future. “What we do today, and each day, as a tourism industry shapes the longer-term viability of our destination as one of the world’s most admired cities,” said Christopher Gaze, artistic director for the Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival. “We can learn much from the scheming and planning for the future by those who envisioned, built and used cathedrals hundreds of years ago.”

R. Gordon Johnson on Cathedral Thinking

Such long-term vision has been implemented in the past, said R. Gordon Johnson, Tourism Vancouver’s 2012 board chair. It was seen in 1996, when Tourism Vancouver launched a bid for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in the face of detraction and doubt. And again in 1999, when Tourism Vancouver initiated the Vancouver Convention Centre expansion, despite tough odds. “These two undertakings not only reshaped Vancouver, they reshaped the province,” Johnson reminded the audience. “We should be one hundred percent confident in our tourism industry’s ability to envision and determine a future that is bold and beneficial for both visitors and residents.”

Christopher Gaze on Cathedral Thinking

Christopher Gaze perhaps best encapsulated the theme as applied to cities when he emphasized that cathedrals and world cities exist by design, not by chance. By re-exploring the concepts of Cathedral Thinking, Vancouver’s tourism industry and its citizens can start work today that creates a better Vancouver for future generations – the same way past generations helped build the city we all enjoy today. After all, what is today but yesterday’s tomorrow?

 

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