Hugh Mackenzie, Kingston Destination Group, receives 2023 TIAC Lifetime Achievement Award
November 8, 2023
The Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) is proud to announce the recipient of the 2023 TIAC Lifetime Achievement Award, Mr. Hugh Mackenzie. This prestigious award, sponsored by Destination Toronto, recognizes the remarkable contributions and dedication of individuals who have significantly impacted the Canadian tourism sector, and Hugh Mackenzie's outstanding achievements in the industry make him a deserving recipient.
“Throughout his 43-year career, Hugh Mackenzie has dedicated his professional life to the tourism sector, demonstrating unparalleled commitment and passion for the industry,” said Beth Potter, President and CEO of TIAC. “Hugh has played pivotal roles in the success and growth of various tourism operations, including his work as General Manager of Kingston & the Islands Boatlines where he transformed the company into the Kingston Destination Group, a conglomerate comprising nine operating brands, each contributing to the destination's unique charm.”
Early in his career, Hugh Mackenzie had a leadership role in Wilderness Tours’ substantial growth, moving from a river experience to a full-fledged resort, complete with major capital projects and a large team. In Kingston, he reinvigorated the iconic 1000 Islands tour, steering the community toward new experiences and markets, with a focus on culinary and entertainment offerings.
Innovation has been a hallmark of Hugh Mackenzie's career. He introduced creative tourism programs, shifting the focus to dining cruises, the "hop-on, hop-off" Trolley model, and the K-Pass to enhance the visitor experience. His influence has not been limited to Kingston; he has shared best practices with operators and communities, fostering industry growth and collaboration across North America.
Hugh Mackenzie's commitment to the greater good is evident through his involvement in initiatives like Kingston Accommodation Partners and the creation of the Municipal Accommodation Tax model. He advocated for regulatory changes and successfully influenced government decisions to support tourism during the pandemic.
Moreover, Hugh Mackenzie's passion for nurturing talent is reflected in his support of career pathways for new recruits and his mentorship, leading to the growth and empowerment of many employees within Kingston Destination Group and beyond.
"Hugh's remarkable career in the tourism sector is an inspiration to us all," said Potter. "He has not only left a significant mark on Kingston's tourism landscape but has also shaped the way the industry thinks about tourism. We are proud to honour him with the 2023 TIAC Lifetime Achievement Award."