Ms. Bélanger was President of Freeman Audio Visual Canada for the past 10 years and, throughout her career, has been a globally recognized leader in exhibitions and events. She also served as Chair of Tourism Toronto's Board of Directors from 2012 to 2014 and has been a member of the Board since 2009. In 2014 she was inducted into the Meetings and Incentive Travel Hall of Fame and has also served as President of the Board of Directors for InfoComm International, the trade association representing the professional audio visual and information communications industries worldwide. In 2014, Ms. Bélanger received the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) Outstanding Achievement in Industry Leadership Award.
"Johanne is a dynamic leader and brings a combination of global experience and a partnership-focused approach," said Heather McCrory, Chair of Tourism Toronto's Board of Directors. "With a strong team in place and a continued emphasis on generating sustained growth from key international markets, we are delighted to have Johanne step in to guide the organization through its next phase."
"It's been a privilege to be part of Tourism Toronto's Board leadership and I'm truly excited to move into a more hands-on role in such a rapidly evolving industry," said Ms. Bélanger. "We are building on a successful foundation and now have the opportunity to connect the tourism business to more partners and related sectors of the economy and drive growth in the years ahead."
The Toronto region is the most-visited destination in Canada, welcoming 14.3 million overnight visitors last year. Toronto set new tourism records last year including the most international visits ever at 1.42 million, and saw growth from the important U.S. market for the fourth consecutive year with 2.3 million Americans visiting the destination. The tourism and hospitality sector employs 315,000 people across the region.
"Our destination is riding a wave of momentum and moving up the must-see list for travelers around the world. We have an opportunity now to capitalize on that wave and further entrench the Toronto region as a place to visit, to meet and then to come back and visit again," said Ms. Bélanger.