TTRA Canada 2023 Conference

Author Bio

Matthew's perspective on the tourism sector is informed by a wide range of experiences spanning many areas of the industry.

He is the CEO of Tourism Technology Co, a software and marketing services firm with clients such as Destination Ontario, Destination Northern Ontario (RTO13), Ontario's Highlands Tourism Organization (RTO11), Hamilton Halton Brant (RTO3), and Terrace, BC.

Matthew leads a close-knit team of 12 individuals, working to provide comprehensive end-to-end solutions for DMO customers; from devising strategies and executing marketing campaigns, to providing software for facilitating bookings.

Previously, Matthew was the Manager of Tourism and Destination Development at the City of Guelph, where he led the creation of the widely acclaimed Outdoor Dining District and managed the allocation of over one million dollars in tourism recovery funding.

Matthew established the successful experiential tourism business, Bend Bus, which transported travellers from Ontario cities to the scenic Great Lake Beaches. The business expanded to cities including Kitchener, Waterloo, Guelph, London, and Toronto, receiving hundreds of five-star reviews.

In 2014, he won the International Google Online Marketing Challenge's Social Impact Award for his work in creating and implementing a highly effective digital marketing strategy.

Matthew's academic credentials include a master's degree in Strategic Foresight and Innovation from OCAD University, where he studied the ways new design research methodologies and experimental design practices can be applied to regenerative tourism development, strategic planning from multiple stakeholder perspectives, and establishing new metrics for success beyond growth and volume.

He also holds a certificate in Cultural Planning from the University of British Columbia, where he studied destination competitiveness and strategic planning from multiple stakeholder perspectives.


This research examines using design thinking methodologies to develop resilient tourist destinations amidst emerging trends. It explores the changing role of destination managers and their transition into designers rather than managers of communities. The proposed Destination Design Methodology provides a new approach to strategic planning, stakeholder partnerships, and establishing KPIs.

Thomas, Matthew and McNeice, Jonathan (2021) Destination Design_ A Design Thinking Approach to Tourism Development.pdf (12778 kB)
Full Report: Destination Design: A Design Thinking Approach to Tourism Development

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