Ottawa Valley tourism operator, Cindy Jamieson, is no stranger to tourism. After 20 years operating Jamieson Travel, in 2019 Cindy transitioned to yet another tourism-focused business when she purchased Whitewater Inn in Pembroke. A year later, she joined the Ontario’s Highlands Tourism Organization’s (OHTO) board of directors, the next step in her journey into the world of tourism.
And as if running a travel agency and operating an inn wasn’t enough, Cindy also runs Valley Cycle Tours, offering cycling daytrips for visitors to the region.
“I’ve been in travel tourism for 20 years, so I feel like I have a pretty decent grasp of the industry as a whole,” Cindy explained.
The Whitewater Inn is something Cindy calls a “small experience” with only five rooms, including the apartment. Of course, the inn also happens to be located right off the Ottawa River, and within walking distance of hiking trails, rail trails, and skidoo beds, making it an ideal location for outdoor enthusiasts looking to explore the region with multi-day adventures.
Cindy noted that the tourism community in Pembroke is a strong one, and referrals to other neighbouring operators helps to keep the industry alive and thriving in her region.
“We need each other in the tourism community, I truly believe that the sign of a healthy economy and community is how strong their tourism sector is,” Cindy said.
For Cindy, the fact that Ontario’s Highlands offers the exact opposite of a city scape experience is a plus and what led her to settle here and get into business.
“When I travel I’m happy to do a day or two of city things, but it’s the land I want to experience in another region,” Cindy said. “I like driving the roads to see how the locals really live, and as much as it’s fun to see a museum I really like to see the landscapes, and we’re especially situated for that.”
When Cindy was invited to join the OHTO board in 2020 she said she was initially worried that she would be underqualified, which is surprising given her background. She explained that getting started on the board brought with it a learning curve, that introduced her to the Carver Method of board governance, and what she calls “a new but efficient way for boards to operate.”
For Cindy, this method of running a board just works.
Cindy’s favourite part of being on the board is the collaborations and the camaraderie, and the opportunity to discuss what’s a passion for pretty much all the board members: the direction of tourism in Ontario’s Highlands and Ontario in general.
“It’s like our tourism group therapy,” Cindy joked. Her advice for new board members is to jump on the tourism train and be welcome. “It’s great, you have nothing to lose but everything to gain.”
Interested in being on OHTO’s Board of Directors?
Share your vision for the future! OHTO’s Board of Directors is looking for energetic, positive and collaborative strategic thinkers to contribute to the growth of tourism in the region by volunteering to serve as a Director of the Board. Opportunities to fill vacancies are available to our members and interested individuals able to commit to a three-year term, are encouraged to review and complete the online application.
Submit your online application here.