Rapid Innovation is the key to Export Tourism Growth in Saskatchewan

By Christian Boyle, Glyph Creative Strategy

Saskatchewan is ready to enter the global export tourism marketplace. The Indigenous Tourism Corridor is leading the way.

Tourism is seeing substantial growth on a global scale. Growth is being driven by multiple trends: the rise of the middle class in China, millennial leisure spending leaning towards experiences over material goods, and the democratization of travel platforms aligning with value-priced airlines and accommodations to name a few. In 2017, this translated into tourism and travel activity contributing 10.4% of total global GDP as well as having a global impact on labour that sees it support 9.9% of jobs globally. For Canada, this translated into 20.8 million export tourism visits in 2017 worth 2.09% of our GDP.

I think we’re ready to enter the export tourism marketplace,

To Read the Complete Column CLICK HERE


Jim Bence Attends the International Indigenous Tourism Conference October 30 & 31 in Saskatoon

From left: Jim Bence, SHHA President & CEO; Keith Henry, ITAC President; The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie; Philip Mondor, President of Tourism HR Canada; Mary Taylor-Ash, CEO, Tourism Saskatchewan, and, Todd Brandt, President & CEO, Tourism Saskatoon.

The International Indigenous Tourism Conference (IITC) is an annual conference bringing together people interested and invested in creating and contributing towards a growing Indigenous tourism industry in Canada and around the world.

This year, the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) is hosting the 7th annual International Indigenous Tourism Conference. The IITC 2018 is taking place on Treaty 6 Territory and the Homeland of the Métis on October 30 and 31 in Saskatoon.

This international event brought together Indigenous tourism operators from across Canada and around the world for three days of sharing best practices and networking. Delegates participate in panel discussions, breakout sessions, keynote presentations and local cultural experiences.


KOSTA'S FAMILY RESTAURANT IN LA RONGE Has a Rich History That Dates Back to 1965

From left: Gladis Cairo, Winter Miller, Chris Tkach, Tye Bird, Owner Carmen Vancoughnett, Mancil Bell, Prince Ching, Marc Savidan, Angie Schafer, Amanda Thimpsen

Restaurant owner Carmen Vancoughnett embraces her line of work

By Jonathan Hamelin

These days, Carmen Vancoughnett has a lot on her plate.

Vancoughnett is the owner of Kosta’s Family Restaurant in LaRonge. She employs 27 staff members and has two managers to help assist in the operation of the business. Kosta’s restaurant is open every day until 9 p.m. and the lounge is open until 1 a.m. The lounge handles delivery and takeout orders.

To read the complete article CLICK HERE


FORE THE FUTURE GOLF TOURNAMENT – A Game of Golf and Some Blues & Brews!

Forty golfers participated in 18 holes of “Best Ball” at the Kindersley Golf  Club, raising scholarships for outstanding students registered in the “Hospitality and Restaurant Management Program” at Saskatchewan Polytechnic, Saskatoon Campus.

The Saskatchewan Hotel & Hospitality Association hosted its 20th Annual Fore the Future tournament in Kindersley, SK. on Thursday September 6. To date, the SHHA has helped raise $100,000.00 in scholarships for students.

The winning team with a score of 66, 6 under par were, from left: Bob Kadis, Tourism Saskatchewan; Bob Anderson, Concept Media, Regina; Derek McDonald, DMCD Services; and, Denny Joyal, Waterfront Beach Bar & Grill, Regina Beach.

To all the sponsors and participants who helped make the tournament a fun and successful fundraising event, and our scholarship partners who work with us each and every year to ensure the students are acknowledged for their dedication to the hospitality industry…


We are already looking forward to next year’s event.


Jim Bence Attends Parliament Hill Day On October 2

On October 2, 2018, Jim Bence, SHHA President & CEO attended the 2nd annual Parliament Hill Day. An annual, high-level, invitation-only event dedicated to meeting Members of Parliament.

Jim was in Ottawa to raise awareness of the issues affecting SHHA members.  Among the topics discussed were critical labour shortages, and the concerns related to Airbnb.       

From left: Jim Bence, SHHA President & CEO; Tracy Fahlman, CEO Regina Hotel Association; and, Conservative MP for Souris-Moose Mountain, Robert Kitchen 



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Short Term Rentals; Long Term Problems

Further to news related to unlicensed Airbnb’s, the Saskatchewan Hotel & Hospitality Association is very concerned about short-term rentals, and its effects on communities and the lodging industry.

Home sharing appeals to certain travellers and to homeowners wanting to boost their income.  Platforms that support short term rentals, like Airbnb, maintain that the revenue generated helps people to stay in their own homes.  But the reality is they are corporations that encourage real estate investors who operate short term rentals on a commercial scale. This…

  • Creates conflicts in residential neighborhoods by operating without regard for zoning.
  • Negatively impacts neighbors’ enjoyment of their properties as a result of increased noise, garbage, demand for parking, and partying. 
  • Negatively affects  neighbors’ property values, and
  • Jeopardizes public safety by increasing the risk of criminal activity, such as human trafficking, sexual exploitation, and the drug trade in the neighborhoods where they operate.

The SHHA believes that anyone operating a Short Term Rental Business should be...

  •  Limited to principal residences only
  •  Registered and comply with municipal bylaws
  •  Licensed.

While the SHHA supports a homeowner occasionally renting out a room, we do not support individuals acting as commercial operators and not being subject to the same regulations and taxes as hotels. That is not home sharing, that is a business and it should be recognized as such.


GETTING ON BOARD with the Saskatchewan Palate

Gemma Reichel,  Doug Reichel Wine Marketing   

A few weeks ago at a restaurant I had the pleasure of witnessing a customer’s observation about wine. I was sitting with six of my peers at a table looking at the wine list when one of them looked up, sighed, and said, “Why does every restaurant’s wine look the same? I just want to try a good glass of wine that works!” I couldn’t help but smile and thank my friend as it confirmed what I have known for years…

Saskatchewan palates are waking up to the world of good wines.

I see this evidence everywhere these days; in-store samplings, sales data, store promotions, wine events etc. Saskatchewan wine lovers want new wines from many different regions and countries.  Wines that introduce a new angle and flavour profile.  Wines to enjoy with the daily meal. (Think medium bodied reds from Italy, versatile grape varieties from Portugal, dry style roses from France). All at a price point that allows them to experience these new tastes.   

They are increasingly interested in food that pairs well with wine, and wine that compliments the food. This no longer means buying the cheapest, sweetest or thickest wines available, or bringing the same wine everyone knows to a dinner party. 

My hope with these new Saskatchewan consumer preferences is that it will motivate liquor stores and restaurants to grow their selection of wines. With a wider selection comes better quality. (Hint: It doesn’t always have to do with the price tag!) Good wine will always bring the customer back.

Restaurants and liquor stores all over this province are starting to lean into this new type of Saskatchewan wine consumer, and that is something to celebrate!

Questions? Comments?  Send us an EMAIL 


A WIN FOR HOTELS in Airbnb Regulations

The City of Vancouver recently passed legislation to regulate short-term rentals, allowing rentals only in one’s principal residence. This is great news for the hotel industry as this will eliminate the commercial side of Airbnb’s business (and other similar platforms) in Vancouver, which competes directly with hotels. 

This legislation is critical because it sets a precedent for other Canadian cities. The City noted that enforcement is critical and it is their intention to ensure platforms are held accountable. The Saskatchewan Hotel & Hospitality Association will continue to work with our members to advocate for similar legislation in communities around Saskatchewan.

“We would like to commend the City of Vancouver in their recent move to restrict short term rentals to operator’s primary residences. These regulations are an important measure towards curbing the commercial activities of company’s like Airbnb and sets a direction that creates a level playing for all operations that work in this space.

We have recommended to our provincial and municipal governments that they recognize the precedent set by the City of Vancouver and implement similar regulations and legislation”. Jim Bence, SHHA President & CEO


SHOTZ ON ELEVEN owner finds home in hospitality industry

By Jonathan Hamelin

When you examine Herman Zentner’s background, you would assume it was an easy decision for him to enter the hotel and hospitality industry.

His grandfather purchased a hotel in Chamberlain in 1960 and ran the business until he passed away in 1992 after a battle with cancer. Zentner’s grandmother and father then headed up operations. As he was growing up, however Zentner didn’t originally plan to follow in his family’s footsteps.

 “I never really had anything to do with the hotel growing up". Zentner said. “I was a welder by trade and never imagined I’d be involved withthe hotel.”

In 2006, Zentner’s family went through a difficult year as Zentner’s father and then grandmother passed away after battles with cancer. The business was willed to Zentner and his brother and suddenly the future of the hotel was up in the air.

“The big question was ‘what do we do with this?’ “Zentner said. “We both had great fulltime jobs; we were home every night and had decent pay and benefits. We had to determine whether we should sell it or open it.”

To Read The Complete Article CLICK HERE



Laura Bence, left, Service & Hospitality Safety Association (SHSA) Safety Advisor, and, Lisa Chavady, SHSA Senior Advisor

Offered exclusively to the hospitality industry, the Hospitality Safety Leadership Certificate (HSLC) is designed to support your efforts in building an effective health and safety management system.  The HSLC focuses on the need for Senior Management’s commitment to achieve real results. Committing to the program means committing to training, development and review of your Safety Management System, and excellence in safety in the hospitality industry.

To Find Out Why the HSLC is Right For You CLICK HERE


PROPOSED BUSINESS TAX Changes are big Trouble

By Todd MacKay, Prairie Director – Canadian Taxpayers Federation

The federal government’s proposed business changes could be big trouble for independent hotel and restaurant owners.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he wants to close so-called tax loopholes and make sure everyone is paying their fair share of taxes. In reality, it appears the changes will force many small businesses to pay more. And many of the changes are themselves unfair.

For example, the government wants to limit income sprinkling. This happens when a business owner pays family members with lower incomes who therefore pay less tax. The government is suggesting there needs to be a reasonableness tax to make sure those family members actually deserve the money.

Which raises the question: how does the government know what’s reasonable and who’s deserving?

First, small businesses are often a family affair. People who grow up in entrepreneurial families always have funny childhood stories about stuffing envelops for mailers or cutting limes for the bar. How will the government put a value on having everyone pitch in?

Second, the small business life is full of both risks and rewards. Even if one spouse isn’t directly involved in the business, they’ll feel the pinch if hotel rooms are empty or the catering orders don’t come in. Is it fair for the government to limit rewards provided to family members while ignoring the risks they inevitably accept?There’s always room to improve the tax code. But the federal government is focused on the wrong things. And it’s doing it the wrong way.


PARLIAMENT HILL DAY Supporting the Hotel & Hospitality Industry

From left: Tracy Fahlman, President & CEO, Regina Hotel Association; Jim Bence, President & CEO, Saskatchewan Hotel and Hospitality Association; and, The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Federal Minister of Small Business & Tourism meet on Parliament Hill on Thursday October 5, 2017

Since the inception of "Parliament Hill Day" by the Hotel Association of Canada (HAC), this event has become HAC’s most successful government relations activity.  This day draws hotel leaders from across the nation and has become the cornerstone of HAC’s national advocacy program. "Parliament Hill Day" is dedicated to meeting Members of Parliament and raising awareness of the issues affecting the hotel & hospitality industry. 

35 hoteliers held 65 meetings on Thursday October 5th to speak with Ministers and Senators. Airbnb regulation and taxation, and, labour shortages, were recognized as areas of profound concern, and all ministers understood their role in supporting the hotel & hospitality industry in Canada.

This year, Regina Hotels Association President and CEO Tracy Fahlman and Saskatchewan Hotel and Hospitality Association President and CEO Jim Bence were invited to Ottawa to participate in this incredibly worth-while event. Our message, and the voice of Saskatchewan’s hospitality industry, was very well received, with every meeting producing commitments from the government to support our efforts. 


CEO MESSAGE: Provincial Update Fall 2017

Jim Bence, President & CEO

With Premier Brad Wall’s sudden resignation in August, the political landscape in Saskatchewan saw an immediate shift.  A leadership race was triggered, and a number of candidates threw their names into the proverbial “hat”. The rules say that if you announce your intention to run for party leadership, you must relinquish your current portfolios, which is exactly what Minister Harrison did, upon announcing his candidacy. His responsibilities, including minister for the Saskatchewan Liquor & Gaming Authority (SLGA) and Ministry of the Economy were distributed to a number of other cabinet members.

The idea being that once a new leader for the Sask. Party has been chosen in January 27, 2018, he or she will decide who makes up cabinet, and portfolios could once again be shuffled. The ministers that were handed new responsibilities may, or may not continue to hold them once the premier has made choices for key positions. These interim postings are considered “custodial”, and I suspect that not many political decisions will be made during this time of transition.

The new Minister of the Economy (Tourism and Immigration fall under this ministry) is Steven Bonk and the Minister of SLGA is Gene Makowsky, both having served for many years in the Sask. Party.

I immediately requested meetings with both after they received their new portfolios’ and subsequently I have had the opportunity to meet with Minister Bonk and Minister Makowsky.  In each case we had lengthy discussions regarding the significant challenges currently facing our industry. 

To Read the Complete Column CLICK HERE


SAFETY Begins With Teamwork

SHSAtv’s Lisa Chavady talks hot topics with Jim Bence, SHHA President & CEO

Teamwork and partnerships are a great asset to any organization. When people come together to work towards a common goal, great things can be achieved. 

To read the complete article click here 



THANK YOU For Your SHHA Membership

Dear SHHA Members: 

I would like to wish you and your family a Happy & Prosperous New Year, and thank you for your membership in theSaskatchewan Hotel & Hospitality Association (SHHA). 

We are your voice and the support that your business needs to operate effectively and profitably. We have a reputation of being an extremely effective lobby and advocacy group because of the activities we engage in and the strength of our membership.  We are YOUR voice with government ministries, MLA’s and bureaucracy. 

For example,

·         WCB:  Our work with WCB had a direct impact on YOUR bottom line. Because of the efforts of the SHHA, the Workers’ Compensation Board reversed their decision to withhold surplus funds and returned the entire $281 million. You would have received a cheque in July and another one in December 2016. 

·         LIQUOR:  Among the many activities related to this file, The SHHA launched a petition calling for fairness in pricing, selection and regulation for liquor retailing. This lobbying had a direct, positive effect, and, “leveled the playing field for everyone” 

·         IMMIGRATION:  The SHHA entered into an unprecedented agreement with the government of the Solomon Islands, witnessed and endorsed by SK government Minister of Immigration and Tourism Jeremy Harrison, which will provide temporary foreign workers from the island nation.  

Belonging to the SHHA is an important business decision that pays you dividends throughout the year. I would like to personally thank you again for your membership in the SHHA. 

If you have any questions, please contact me directly at (306) 291 - 3031 

Warmest regards,

Jim Bence, President & CEO

CEO MESSAGE: “Never Ask a Question Unless You Really Want to Hear the Answer”

Jim Bence, President & CEO 

“Never ask a question unless you really want to hear the answer” were the sage words of wisdom given to me by my mother many years ago and ones that I never forgot.  Mainly because I continue to follow her lead and always try to ask tough and respectful questions.  It seems to be a great approach because I certainly get my fair share of very direct and specific answers and advice.  

Attempting to correct a wrong, as it had been a while since we asked any questions of our membership, we scheduled opportunities to ask questions about what was affecting you, impacting your bottom line and keeping you awake at night.  So Warren Nerby & I hit the road and held Members Meetings in 8 cities and towns across Saskatchewan over a three-week period. We very much appreciated the two hours the attendees gave us as we detailed the activities of the SHHA over the past 2 years.  These presentations were informal forums in which we asked a lot of questions while soliciting member feedback and suggestions. And we definitely heard you loud and clear.  

Although rural and urban properties had some differing areas of concern, you all shared many issues and challenges relating to the hotel sector in the province. Topics ranged from employment, the WCB, our H.I.P. program, immigration and liquor.  As there has been a tremendous amount of change to SLGA, much of the conversation was related to how we now buy and sell booze.  

To read the complete column click here

DAN CARDINAL Receives Triple Honours in 2016

Photo by Darrell Noakes, Tourism Saskatchewan

Dan Cardinal is one of the first people to greet guests arriving at the Sheraton Cavalier Saskatoon Hotel. For more than 47 years, Cardinal has been an employee of the property. 

In 2016, his dedication and service were given due recognition. Cardinal was awarded the title Employee of the Year at the Saskatchewan Tourism Awards of Excellence in April, by Starwood Hotels and Properties of North America in September and at the Canadian Tourism Awards in November. 

In an interview with Tourism Saskatchewan, Cardinal reflected on his career.

Read the complete interview here

THE ICE HOUSE Takes Advantage of New Liquor Regulations

SHHA Member Profile 

A conversation with owner Joel Kish 

For over 25 years, The Ice House in Emerald Park has been a great spot to grab a bite to eat, attracting customers from all over the surrounding area. The Ice House is home to the original Iceberg burger -- loaded with pickles, lettuce, onion, tomato, sauce, bacon, cheddar cheese and Swiss cheese melted into sautéed mushrooms over a beef patty – which can be ordered in an extremely large version called the Glacier Burger.

“It’s been a landmark in the community for a long time,” said owner Joel Kish. “It’s been a great meeting hub in the community"

With The Ice House recently completing a six-month renovation project, the establishment is looking to provide customers with an even greater experience. 

To read the complete article click here

WINSTON'S PUB delivers authentic English experience

A conversation with Chris Beavis, Owner, Hotel Senator, Saskatoon

On any given day, you’ll find a large crowd gathered at Winston’s Pub in the Hotel Senator in Saskatoon. They come to enjoy the authentic English style pub experience by having a cold beer, satisfying their taste buds with a slice of Shepherd’s Pie or a deep fried dill pickle, and catching up with friends.

“At Winston’s Pub, we like to have fun,” said Hotel Senator Owner Chris Beavis. “We’re centred around beer, but we also offer drinks such as martinis, cocktails and bourbon, an excellent food menu, and we round out the whole experience with themed menus to make it a pub for all ages.”

As Beavis explained, there’s always been a beverage room in the Hotel Senator. The hotel was originally opened on April 17, 1908, by James Flanagan. While people thought he was crazy for building the hotel on the outskirts of town, the hotel ended up in the centre of the city as it has developed today.

For the longest time, the drinking spot was simply known as the Senator Beverage Room. In 1967, Beavis’ father and uncle purchased the hotel and in 1980 changed the name of the establishment to Winston’s Pub in an effort to recapture the boutique European hotel style the Hotel Senator once had.

Through Winston’s Pub, Beavis the family has been able to re-establish the pub as a place to bring people from the community together, much like in the olden days in England when pubs were the ultimate meeting spots for all types of cultures. People would go downtown to do their shopping and then visit the pub to catch up with friends.

“It’s become essential; it’s the most important part of the hotel and has really helped round out everything else we’re doing here over the years,” said Beavis, who took over as hotel manager in 1987. “It has served as a focal point of the Hotel Senator, complementing Flangan’s Steakhouse and our newer vintage wine bar. The success of Winston’s helped us fix up our guest rooms and become and three-and-a-half-star property.”

Winston’s offers 72 taps of the best selections of craft beer from across the world and over 20 single malt scotches. Beavis noted that the pub has recently launched the 21st Street Brewery by Winston’s, where it will be brewing small batches of beer.

“We’re working collaboratively with other breweries across the province to brew some crazy and wild things,” he said. “Some will be garbage and go down the drain, and others will be more interesting styles that will appeal to people who want to be on the adventurous side.”

Led by its flagship establishment in Winston’s Pub, the Hotel Senator has been able to both capture the hotel’s glorious past while positioning itself to be prosperous in the future. The hotel is close to completing its newly renovated guest rooms and has already completed significant wifi enchantments by placing a mini router in each room.

In keeping with tradition, Beavis has also ensured that the Hotel Senator remains involved with the Saskatchewan Hotel and Hospitality Association (SHHA). He said his family has been involved with the SHHA since the early 50s and he even has an old hotel association picture with his parents in it.

“Being a member of the SHHA gives you a sense of community,” Beavis said. “You help each other out with buying efforts and lobbying with the government. You can also get together and just disucss common interests like hotel, food and beverage and liquor trends. It’s definitely advantageous to be a member and certainly a tradition I wanted to keep.”  

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