It is an understatement to say that Chris Hinsperger is passionate about tourism. For Chris, tourism is not only something that involves his business and professional life, it’s a key component to sharing cultural stories and histories, to bringing people together.

It’s that passion that Chris brings to his business, Bonnechere Caves, but it’s also what he brings to his role on the Ontario’s Highlands Tourism Organization’s (OHTO) Board of Directors.

“Tourism is how we share who we are as a people to gain better insight into those who are different from us,” Chris explained. “Now more than ever, tourism is a part of healing as we move forward following the pandemic. Tourism is how the world will heal…sounds profound, but it’s very simple.”

Chris’ current term on the OHTO’s board isn’t his first kick at the can, he was on the board for three years early in the founding of Ontario’s Highlands as a Regional Tourism Organization (RTO), but stepped away when he became chair of the Ottawa Valley Tourist Association (OVTA).

Now, he’s back, bringing with him (if it’s even possible) more enthusiasm for the role and what he can bring to it.

“I’m older now and more experienced and I can bring that wisdom to the board,” Chris said, noting that he still has a child-like view of how things work and is open to new ideas.

“I’m not someone who says this is the way we’ve always done it…things change, we have to modify our approach to meet the objectives of our organization.”

A desire to be part of growing tourism in Ontario is a big part of the attraction for Chris, but in his own words, he enjoys being around like-minded people and being on the board gives him inspiration and a source of energy that he really enjoys.

With so many different personalities and skills on the board, there is plenty of collective experience to help shape the organization in a positive way.

“I like being part of an organization that mines the group “gold” and takes everyone’s input to make decisions,” Chris said. “And that’s OHTO.”

His current term on the board gives Chris a chance to do what he does best, which is become a conduit to help others be successful in tourism, and especially in his own community. By being a director, he is able to hear about new initiatives at the provincial or regional level and apply them to his business.

“At the same time, I become an example and can share my experience to benefit my industry,” Chris explained.

He recommends that other tourism operators or stakeholders take the time to join the board themselves, and “put themselves out there.”

“Our industry is one that has a number of different pieces and very dynamic businesses, but everybody brings something important to the table.”

Joining the OHTO Board

OHTO is currently seeking new board members to join the team and make changes in the tourism world in Ontario’s Highlands. Anyone who is passionate about tourism and can dedicate a few hours each month, please consider submitting an application. For more information about how to apply and to read more about current board members’ thoughts on what being a board member means to them, please click here.