March 2016 BCATW Buzz

President’s Message

ruth in spainThe BCATW’s very first symposium was held at the Abercorn Inn, Richmond in February 2003, with the theme of “What Editors Want.”

Each year following that, BCATW has held a symposium and each one has been grander than the last.

This year’s symposium at the fabulous Anvil Centre in New Westminster, on April 10, 2016 with the theme British Columbia: Too Beautiful for Words is going to be one of the very best yet.

We invite everyone, members and friends to attend and enjoy this wonderful day of sharing and learning more about our beautiful province as well as how to be a better travel writer/blogger.

Ruth Kozak, President

BCATW 2016: British Columbia – Too Beautiful for Words

Time to sharpen those pencils and pop a new memory card into the camera for the BC Association of Travel Writers (BCATW) annual symposium.

BCATW 2016 banner

The event will be held at the iconic Anvil Centre in New Westminster on Sunday, April 10, from 10-5pm, with an afterparty planned nearby.

This year’s event is themed, “British Columbia: Too Beautiful for Words,” and will cover a lot of ground in our home province.


Lucas aykroydOur keynote speaker is Lucas Aykroyd is an award-winning writer, national newspaper columnist, and public speaker specializing in travel and sports.

In his speech, “Crafting Successful Stories – On Your Own Terms,” Aykroyd will reveal the top ten keys to impressing editors at publications like the Washington Post, the Globe and Mail and the Vancouver Sun.

Industrial Panel

The industrial panel is stacked with tourism representatives from some of BC’s most popular travel destinations.

Aboriginal Tourism – Paula Amos is the Director, Partnerships & Corporate Initiatives for Aboriginal Tourism Association of BC. Paula is currently the Marketing Manager – in this capacity, she oversees the Marketing and Media activities for AtBC.

Vancouver Island – Heather McEachen is the Trade and Media Specialist with Tourism Vancouver Island. For the past eight years she has hosted more than 250 journalists to discover the untold stories of Vancouver Island.

BC Wine – Laura Kittmer is the Media Relations Manager at British Columbia Wine Institute which represents the interests of British Columbia wine producers (BC VQA) in the marketing, communication and advocacy of their products.

Editorial Panel

Once again, the BCATW symposium will feature a panel of editors to discuss the best ways to sell stories. The panel features editors of both print and digital magazines.

Jennifer Elliott, Vancouver magazine. As producer, she manages the editorial content for Vancouver and the adjoining website ( as well as all social media platforms.

Brad Liski, My Passion Media. As President and Group Publisher, Liski oversees publication of Explore, Outdoor Canada, BC Outdoors, Canadian Traveller, Pacific Yachting, British Columbia Magazine, their online variants, and the all-encompassing e-zine

Anicka Quin, Western Living magazine. Quin has served as editor-in-chief since 2010, having previously been its executive editor, and she oversees all the magazine’s departments, including travel.

Pitching Sessions

New this year are Editor Pitching Sessions. Think speed dating for writers. After the editorial panel, Elliot, Liski and Quin will offer 5-minute one-on-one pitching sessions with the travel writers.

The writers will sign up for one editor during registration and should come prepared with an elevator pitch targeted to that publication. Pitch Sessions are great learning and networking opportunities for the editors and writers alike.

Drawings and Contests

In between regular programming, there will be drawings for travel-related prizes.

Photo Contest

The Photo Contest will be held in advance on Facebook and the winner will be announced at the end of the symposium. The theme is British Columbia, of course!

Brian K. Smith photo

Brian K. Smith photo

This year, you can enter in either the Pro or Writer category, as stated in your image’s caption. A 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prize will be given in each category. Symposium attendees may enter up to two images in only one category.

All entries will be displayed in a slideshow at the symposium. The winners of each category will be announced at the symposium and must be in attendance to accept their prize.

1st Place winner of the Writer Photographer category will also have their image complimentarily enlarged and framed, and displayed in the window of Peppa Martin’s Truth and Beauty Gallery, 698 W. 16th Avenue, from May 12-28.

Winners will chosen by BCATW member and art dealer, Peppa Martin.

The Photo Contest begins on March 2, and ends at midnight on April 7, 2016. Contest winners will be announced at 4pm on April 10. After you’ve registered for the symposium, please enter at the Symposium Facebook Page where there are more contest details.

Twitter Contests

Two Twitter Contests will be held: before and during the event.

The attendee who tweets the most “#bcatw2016” hashtagged tweets from March 2 to April 8 will win one prize.

And the attendee who tweets the most“#bcatw2016” tweets during the symposium will win another prize.

You can now follow all BCATW 2016 attendees at BC Travel Writers Lists 

Blog Contest

To celebrate our new Travel Blogger Membership, there will also be a Blogging Contest. Attendees who blog about the conference, the Anvil Centre, and/or New Westminster can compete for 1st and 2nd Place prizes.

To enter, post on your blog and email a link to BCATW with the subject header, “BCATW 2016 Blog Contest” by May 31st. The winner will be announced in mid-June.

If you are new to blogging or wonder what the criteria will be, please read, Mastering the Most Essential Elements of Perfect Blog Posts.


The prize for each winner in our Photo, Twitter, and Blog Contests is a zipline experience with SuperFly Ziplines in Whistler, BC, who have generously donated 10 free tickets! With the exception of the Blog Contest – which awards in June – all winners must be in attendance to accept their prize.

Register Soon!

“We invite everyone, members and friends to attend and enjoy this wonderful day of sharing and learning more about our beautiful province as well as how to be a better travel writer/blogger,” says BCATW President, Ruth Kozak.

If you love to travel and like to write, BCATW 2016 is the conference to attend for sharpening your skills and doing some networking.

The early-bird ticket rate of $65 ends today, March 1st, at 11.30 pm. For more details, visit the BCATW 2016 Home Page. Or, go ahead and Register now at Picatic!

The Promo Code for BCATW members is “ziggystardust”

See you in New West!

Renew Your Membership!

Members must renew their membership today to get the same $48 rate. If you wait until tomorrow, the rate will be $72. And you must be a member in good standing to get the member rate at our upcoming symposium.

Please go to our Payments page to pay your dues via PayPal now!

If you want to wait, you may pay by check to: BC Association of Travel Writers, c/o K. Cullen, BCATW, 1153 56 Street, PO Box 19029, Delta, BC, V4L 2P8

But seriously, now’s the time!

Media Member News

Joan Boxall has blogged on as part of the research for a piece on cross-country skiing for ‘Senior’ Living, Fall 2016. A Spring piece on bicycling and Slow Food Pemberton/Victoria appears in April. Joan has also been rustling up prizes for the upcoming BCATW Symposium.

All eyes were on Panama from February 19 to 28 when the country hosted some of the World’s Top Foodie Bloggers, Travel, Lifestyle, Fashion and Extreme World. Jett & Kathryn Britnell of the Nomadic Tribes Travel & Lifestyle Blog were invited as speakers to the first annual Panama Blogger Influencer Week.

Jett britnell

This conference will be held every year in Panama, bringing together bloggers and influencers from around the world and also companies that publish content, and technologies that are used to create the content. The event also promotes the viability of Panama as a worthy tourist destination, as the visiting bloggers this year are considered to be among the most influential and recognizable members of their field on both a national and international level. Jett, represented their travel blog as well Matador Network and gave a presentation to a roomful of Latin bloggers & travel enthusiasts. Jett will be writing about several of the adventures he participated in. 

Winner of the BC Ferries gift certificates at the 2015 BCATW Symposium, luxury travel writer Edward Quan shares his magnificent Winter Storm Watch Season offers the wild side of Long Beach tourism experience story published in Blush Vancouver magazine. “It is the perfect Canadian west coast holiday destination,” says Edward.

Ruth Kozak has published an article about a trip in Tabarca, Spain she made along with BCATW member Darlene Foster. Ruth has been busy working on an ebook guide of the GREEK ISLANDS for Hunter publishing, US. She’ll soon be starting final edits on her second volume of SHADOW OF THE LION, subtitled THE FIELDS OF HADES. And meanwhile she’s busy moving house. Ruth hopes you’ll be attending her workshop on TRAVEL WRITING BASICS at our next BCATW meetup.

New Member Spotlight

yilin wangYilin Wang is a journalist and blogger who specializes in writing about travel, culture, lifestyle, urban issues, the arts, and education. She is particularly passionate about writing in-depth profiles and narratives that draw on her love for meeting interesting people and exploring the world.

As a journalist, she has written for publications such as Business Insider, Matador Network, The Tyee, Asian Traveler Magazine, Canadian Newcomer, and Ricepaper Magazine. Furthermore, Yilin is a contributor to the Vancouver Neighborhood Guidebook recently produced by Vancouver Magazine and Yellow Pages Next Home.

As a blogger, she maintains a blog on her personal site, Her content is regularly syndicated on the College Tourist website and on My Green Lens, an award-winning Chinese travel and photography blog. Yilin also serves as a Specialty Travel Blogger for CopyPress and has worked on projects such as the Hipmunk #CityLove campaign.

In addition to her writing work, she also works as a freelance editor, content strategist, translator, and writing coach. Yilin is bilingual in English and Mandarin Chinese.

Industry Member News has a new look! To celebrate the launch of their new website, they are offering a limited time promotion on some of their most popular tours.

bestway new site

They would love to have your comments and suggestions on the new website!

Meetup News

BCATW meetupThe March 2nd BC Travel Writers Meetup – Travel Writing Basics with Ruth Kozak – is booked solid including the waiting list. If you are signed up but cannot attend, please change your RSVP now so that someone else may take your place.

Ricky Shetty, founder of, is holding a Travel Mastery Workshop on Saturday, March 5 from 9 am – 5 pm at Kickstart Business Catalyst in Tinseltown Mall. Get more details and grab your ticket here.

On March 9th, Mari Kane and Ricky Shetty are teaming up for the WordPress WorkshopThe Why and How of Monetizing Your Blog. Ricky will describe all the ways a site can be monetized, and Mari will expound about the tools and techniques for making monetization work on your WordPress site. Space is available, so register now!

See you at the Symposium!

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