Anyone who has visited Vancouver, Canada will quickly realise that AGSM Graduate, Ty Speer, has a very easy job.  As CEO and President of Tourism Vancouver, Ty's top priority is to give people reasons to travel to this remarkable area.   And Vancouver's ecological footprint, spectacular surroundings, convenience and friendly locals offer so many great reasons to visit this iconic city.

Scratch the surface and you'll see there's more to the area than stunning scenery; Vancouver's focus on shipping, commitment to the natural environment and respect of indigenous cultures also place it high on the list of desirable business and holiday destinations.

Ty, who completed his Graduate Diploma in Management and a Graduate Certificate in Change Management at AGSM in 2003, began his senior role at Tourism Vancouver in 2014. The organisation, with more than 111 years proud history, now employs more than 60 people and acts as the lead national and international sales agency for the city. It also represents all the small businesses in the local tourism sector.

According to Ty, the development of a new convention centre overlooking Vancouver Harbour, five years ago, has elevated the area's appeal to the international conference market.  The impressive Convention Centre structure was one of the key reasons Ty and his team were successful in their bid to host a 45,000 visitor conference, Alcoholics Anonymous in 2025.

Globally recognised events, such as the TED Conference, have also been hosted in the city, which, according to Ty, has been instrumental in raising its international profile.

Despite the long hours and competitive nature of the industry, Ty loves the tourism sector and all the moving parts within. Most of all he enjoys segmenting the distinct tourist markets and formulating clever strategies to appeal to diverse audiences.

After moving from Atlanta, USA to Sydney in 1995, Ty began working at a sports marketing agency Octagon Worldwide where he developed a real love for the world of big sporting events. Over the next seventeen years, he held various strategic, marketing and operational roles with the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, and Olympic Games in London. Prior to accepting the Vancouver role he was Deputy CEO of the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

For London 2012, his responsibilities included leading all client partnerships (55 sponsors) and managing commercial relationships with the British Olympic Association, the British Paralympic Association, and various public sector partners such as Greater London Authority, Visit London and UK Sport.

The tourism gig is somewhat of a diversion from his previous roles although Ty says there are many similarities between the two. He admits these roles certainly jump out when looking at his CV, but his advice to others is not to select a job simply because of how others may perceive it.

"Sure, these jobs had a lot of prestige because of the Olympic brand and the hype that surrounds international events of this nature but these are really temporary point-in-time projects. I tell people to work in a job that they really like, not one that looks good on paper.

"The Olympics in particular have artificial business cycles. They are great laboratories but they don't always reflect how the real world works. For example, you need to build culture really quickly from nothing when you start working on a committee, whereas an organisation like Tourism Vancouver comes with a long, proud history and runs on the board that employers and other stakeholders can identify with.

One of the reasons Ty chose to pursue a new industry was to take on a big new challenge and expand his repertoire. 

"One of the things I enjoyed about my time studying with AGSM was learning about change and how to put innovation into action. In this role, I have a huge amount of stakeholders to manage. I have to represent the local industry while complying with the best needs of the city, the province and the country and that is a challenge that excites me.

Ty says tourism is really an entrepreneurs' business. "If you take away airlines and big hotel chains, there are many small-sized hotels, transport companies and local tourist attractions that are SMEs trying to make a mark in a very crowded market. There is an element of risk involved so obviously they need entrepreneurial people to get them off the ground and keep them moving. There are a lot of start-ups in this business too.

"Selling a destination is not like selling soap powder. I have more than 25,000 competitors around the world that I have to put on a better show than. That's a great creative challenge to have to get out of bed and address every day.

"Tourism Vancouver's focus is on building exceptional customer relationships with meeting planners, travel influencers, travel media and independent tourists. Its brand essence is about exceeding visitors' expectations."

As we've said, an easy job indeed.