I met Expo Ernie!

Last week I got the thrill of a tourism nerd’s lifetime when I met THE official EXPO ERNIE!

For those of you who haven’t sat (suffered) through one of my lectures on the growth of BC’s tourism industry, Expo Ernie was the mascot for Expo ’86, which marked the birth of our industry as it is today. Approximately 22 million people descended on Vancouver for the World’s Fair from May to October 1986.

Not without controversy (which you can read about elsewhere), to this then 7-year-old Vancouverite Expo was a thrill. Check out this CBC retrospective on the event to get a sense of the scope.

But how did I come to meet THE Expo Ernie? He was the guest of honour at the official re-launch of SuperHost, a program developed in 1985 in preparation for Expo, which has become the standard for service excellence in BC and an internationally recognized leader in training for the tourism industry.

With go2HR now in charge of the program, there was no better time than Tourism Week to announce that the suite of courses has been revitalized with a new Foundations of Service Quality to be followed by Service for All and Destination Ambassador, available later in 2018.

I’m proud to be a SuperHost trainer and happy to offer it to our tourism students each fall, as well as to new industry entrants through programs like Embers, and private-sector clients in the hotel and food and beverage industries.

At the launch, Grant Mackay from Destination BC referenced our goal for British Columbia to be the most highly recommended destination in North America. We can’t do that without offering our guests exceptional service – a tradition that started over 32 years ago, and continues to this day.

Walt Judas, CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of BC, talked about the excitement of Expo 86 and how if you “take the experience and extrapolate it to 365 days a year, that’s the life of a tourism professional.” I couldn’t agree more. What makes me such a tourism nerd is that I get to share this province with visitors, and help shape the strategy that makes us great, but more importantly I get to share my enthusiasm for BC with the world.

“Beauty is not what sets us apart,” he added. “It’s the service by well-trained professionals that turns visitors into advocates for our province.” Hear, hear.

I’m going to take my exuberance at meeting Expo Ernie into my SuperHost training at a local hotel this month, because #bctourismmatters and #superhostmatters!

One thought on “I met Expo Ernie!

  1. EXPO Ernie. Having been a part of the original Super Host development group it remains part of my Trainer Package when I do foreign assignments in areas with little to no Customer Service skills. A lot of honing over the years but the core elements have always remained. One of the best programs available and anyone trained through the program are all pretty good indeed. As the Senior Lead on development and implementation of the interactive video technology and programming for the BC Pavilion I always look back and see the forerunner of the Internet. Our system in concert with a couple of other contractors developed the first ever multi tasking IBM desktops running multiple Node (8) units at the same time with touch screens, slave units, and most importantly DATA Mining. capacity. Yup. EXPO 86 was a mighty good year.
    Bob Tuss Senior Tourism Strategist.

    Like

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