Bio (John Willow)
Tourism and Hospitality Management
John Willow has more than 35 years of private and public sector experience in tourism, health and life sciences and agribusiness, specializing in strategic planning, industry development, policy research and analysis and government relations. His work in tourism began 20 years ago in coastal communities with B.C.’s sport fishing sector, progressing to his final government role as executive director for strategic tourism development in B.C. Willow has sat on several boards, is active on local community advisory bodies and now provides strategic policy and advocacy services. He and his wife Christine are avid world travelers having visited more than 40 countries on five continents.
A long-time advocate of best practices that promote economic, environmental and social sustainability, Willow has led ground breaking initiatives for B.C.’s provincial government including the first sector strategies for tidal and freshwater sport fisheries (1997 and 2001); new policies for access to crown lands by adventure tourism (2003 to2005); tourism fact finding mission to Australia and New Zealand (2006); B.C.’s Tourism Action Plan (2007); Canada’s first joint venture society/NGO for sustainable tourism (2008); B.C.’s Tourism Research Advisory Council (2008); and the ‘Green Paper’ on DMO funding models (2009). Willow has since provided strategic advice to key sector interests, including Tourism Vancouver and the Tourism Industry Association of B.C.
Willow was one of the first students to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Physics and Physical Oceanography from Royal Roads Military College (1976). He also holds an Aeronautical Engineering Management Diploma from the Canadian Forces Institute of Aerospace Engineering (1977) a Financial Accounting Certificate from the B.C. Institute of Technology (1988) and a Management Communications Certificate from Sauder School of Business at UBC (2015).