Virginie De Visscher is now officially the top representative of Canada in the business events sector. Her leadership, and special focus on sustainability, are setting the tone for attracting business to the country.
In a move that will not come as a surprise, Destination Canada has confirmed Virginie De Visscher in a permanent role as executive director of its Business Events division. De Visscher shared the news in a short LinkedIn post. She had been in the role of acting executive director since the departure of her predecessor Chantal Sturk-Nadeau, in June.
Just last week, De Visscher led more than 60 representatives of Canada on the IMEX America trade show floor. In addition to holding several business meetings, she presented at education sessions and hosted Destination Canada’s fashion show client event.
De Visscher joined the organization in 2017 as a business development looking at economic sectors, later leading that division. The focus on economic sectors has permeated how Canada presents itself at industry events. The country’s clearly defined economic sector priorities are a worthy talking point with plenty of surprises.
Prior to joining Destination Canada, De Visscher was focused on attracting business events to Winnipeg. She has held business development roles at Economic Development Winnipeg and World Trade Centre Winnipeg. This part of her professional journey was also shared with her Sturk-Nadeau, who at the time was senior vice president at Tourism Winnipeg.
A biosystems engineer by trade, her early career revolved around international operations and humanitarian aid. She has led international trade missions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and managed coffee and cocoa operations in Uganda.
Sustainability has been a big focus of De Visscher when representing Canada at industry events. In May, Canada received the IMEX EIC Innovation in Sustainability Award. The award recognized Destination Canada’s creation of its Business Events Sustainability Plan. This ambitious plan aims to position Destination Canada and Canadian destinations as global leaders in business event sustainability. Its goals are to improve the economic, socio-cultural, and environmental sustainability practices of business events hosted in Canada. Several Canadian destinations have embarked on the Global Destination Sustainability (GDS) Index annual benchmarking process, including 20 new ones this year.
Canada’s largest city bureau, Destination Toronto, will be looking to announce a new leader after departing CEO Scott Beck takes the top job at the San Francisco Travel Association (SF Travel) on Monday.