Who We Are

BAN-NI-KIN (noun)

1. Slang. Small tin cup.
2. Niche travel and tourism group enhancing the business of small operators, emerging destinations and hotel properties.

Small cup. Big ideas.

Bannikin is a Toronto and Hong Kong-based travel and tourism consultancy dedicated to enhancing the businesses of niche-focused tour operators, destinations and lodging providers worldwide. We define ‘niche’ as unique and experiential travel, ranging from active and outdoor adventure to culinary and cultural experiences.

Our clients appreciate that we solve their problem of limited resources such as time, money, sales networks, etc. by providing tourism-specific, highly specialized support in four key areas: Media Relations, Trade Representation, Marketing and Experience Design & Destination Development. We act as your in-house team, working with you to reach your business goals. The benefit to you? Having your product development, marketing, B2B sales, and media relations needs handled by one sharp company.

With our first-hand knowledge of both the experiential North American and Asian markets, we can secure and nurture relationships between you and tour operators, design jaw-dropping press trips, create killer website content, build your social media network, market your business at trade shows and industry events, create evergreen sustainable tourism plans and policy – and the list goes on.

Bannikin was built on our great respect for travel-minded visionaries who provide the utmost experiences in the wildest parts of the planet. In a worn-out, dog-eared copy of the Newfoundland dictionary somewhere, you would discover that Bannikin simply means ‘small tin cup.’ But to us, it represents experiencing travel in a real way, with a local perspective. With our combined 50+ years of experience, Bannikin knows what needs to come together to turn a travel company into the travel company, and a place into a destination.

Learn more about what we do!

  • Jillian DickensJillian DickensCEO

    Jillian Dickens

    CEO

    Bachelor of Journalism, Langara College, Vancouver

    Jillian Dickens is an experience-driven tourism development specialist with more than 14 years’ experience in story-telling, product design and stakeholder engagement for sustainably focused destinations and tour operators

    A newspaper reporter by trade, Jillian got her start in tourism at the Canadian Arctic DMO Nunavut Tourism, designing and implementing the destination’s marketing and media relations strategies. Since this time Jillian honed an expertise in remote, adventurous and responsible tourism development while building a strong network of travel journalists, outbound tour operators and travel professionals.

    Jillian is CEO of Bannikin Travel & Tourism Ltd., co-founding the niche-tourism development consultancy in 2011. Since this time Bannikin has earned a reputation for delivering thoughtful and effective full service tourism development support from product building, marketing, content creation, media relations and B2B sales for tour operators, and research, sustainable tourism management, market entry strategies and strategic planning for destinations.

    Jillian is also a former freelance travel writer, and has been published in enRoute, Frommers, the Globe and Mail and The Toronto Star.

    Board Positions:

    Women In Travel, Current Committee Member

    Want to get in touch with Jillian? Email: jillian@bannikin.com

  • Natasha MartinNatasha MartinMANAGING DIRECTOR - DESTINATION DEVELOPMENT & ASIA

    Natasha Martin

    MANAGING DIRECTOR - DESTINATION DEVELOPMENT & ASIA

    Concordia University - BA Honors in African History
    Master of Tourism Administration - George Washington University

    Natasha is a senior marketing consultant with a decade of experience in the adventure tourism sector. She has worked for destinations, associations and tourism companies around the world from Greenland to Namibia, to help create inspiration at each stage of the customer journey – and ensure that tourism development supports environmental conservation, cultural heritage preservation and enhances the lives of local residents.

    As the Managing Director – Asia, Natasha leads Bannikin’s outreach to the adventure trade and consumers in Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong and mainland China, helping our clients reach new, high-value markets from the biggest tourist emitting countries in the world.

    Prior to joining Bannikin, Natasha worked in development consulting on projects for donors such as the World Bank, Millennium Challenge Account, the Office of the Quartet, DFID and USAID, as well as directly for national and regional governments including Myanmar, Peru, India and industry associations.

    She is an AdventureEDU educator, and frequently lectures on the topic of social media for tourism. She has delivered marketing workshops in Namibia, Myanmar, Peru, Ethiopia and Uganda on tourism marketing.

    Before entering the world of adventure tourism, Natasha was an English Teacher in Japan, an assistant to a Canadian senator and an intern at OCHA in Nairobi.

    Natasha speaks English, French and Spanish and is based in Hong Kong.

    Want to get in touch with Natasha? Email: natasha@bannikin.com

  • Terrilyn KunopaskiTerrilyn KunopaskiDIRECTOR & TRADE DEVELOPMENT

    Terrilyn Kunopaski

    DIRECTOR & TRADE DEVELOPMENT

    Bachelor of Journalism, Ryerson University

    Terrilyn is a seasoned travel industry professional, with nearly 10 years’ experience building partnerships with travel trade.

    She kicked-off her career with a B2B-facing travel media platform, where she developed a deep knowledge of the industry – understanding the various facets, establishing key relationships and evolving the publication to become one of the most-read in the Canadian marketplace.

    She was most recently the editor-in-chief of Canadian Traveller (B2C) and CT magazines (B2B). During her tenure, she worked on brand & business development and content strategy, laying the path to record-sales success. She was part of the team to launch Canada’s first travel-focused subscription box, Experience The World, and also helped spearhead the launch of the innovative B2B platform, Key Notes On Travel.

    Terrilyn has been a contributing travel expert to various major television and radio programs in Canada, and continues to be called upon for her expertise.

    In October 2018, she was an event organizer for “Let’s Get Uncomfortable: Discussing Gender Equity and Equality in Canada’s Travel Industry” and she continues to advocate for greater diversity and equality in tourism.

    Want to get in touch with Terrilyn? E-mail: terrilyn@bannikin.com.

  • Zach VanasseZach VanasseMANAGER, CREATIVE & MARKETING

    Zach VanasseZach Vanasse Twitter

    MANAGER, CREATIVE & MARKETING

    Bachelor of Arts, Professional Writing & Translation, Université de Sherbrooke

    Zach Vanasse is a marketing and creative content specialist with a decade’s worth of experience in the travel industry. He spearheads the marketing department’s content creation, branding and storytelling strategy. He also works to connect travel organizations with sustainability leaders around the world and develops sustainability programs and initiatives for travel companies.

    Before joining Bannikin, he served as an editor with PAX News and PAX Magazine where he worked with industry leaders and innovators, gaining deep insight into the inner workings of the industry. As a journalist, he developed personal relationships with many of the travel industry’s thought leaders, directors and industry influencers. In his role as editor, he collaborated with a variety of industry organizations ranging from tourism boards to tour operators.

    He is a founding board member of PropelTO and served as a founding board member and president of the Young Travel Professionals – Toronto chapter.

     

    Want to get in touch with Zach? Email: zach@bannikin.com

  • Britney HopeBritney HopeMANAGER, MEDIA RELATIONS

    Britney Hope

    MANAGER, MEDIA RELATIONS

    Bachelor of Fine Arts, Ryerson University

    Britney is a media relations specialist and award-winning travel writer with communications experience in B2C and B2B travel markets.

    After kicking off her career as a travel trade reporter for news outlets in Canada and the U.S., Britney began developing her ever-evolving understanding of the tourism industry while covering international conferences around the globe, where she forged lasting connections with media and travel professionals alike.

    In addition to serving as the editorial and communications associate for Logimonde Media, Britney has contributed tourism analysis features to TravelAge West and ASTA Magazine, and established her own column on sustainable tourism for CT Magazine. She has also served as the editor for Ensemble Travel Group’s collection of aspirational family, wedding and luxury travel-focused marketing materials. As a consumer-facing travel writer, Britney’s work has appeared in Canadian Traveller, NUVO and America, Yours to Discover.

    Britney’s work in media relations has been similarly varied; she has collaborated as a PR and content consultant with brands such as The Curtain London, Gaansevoort Meatpacking New York, Tradewinds, Silversea cruises, Travel Professionals International and TravelEdge.

    Britney is also active in the tourism industry, as a member of both Young Travel Professionals’ Toronto chapter and My Passion Media’s progressive collaboration group, Blazers. In October 2018, she was an event organizer for “Let’s Get Uncomfortable: Discussing Gender Equity and Equality in Canada’s Travel Industry” and plans to continue her advocacy for greater diversity and equality in tourism.

    Want to get in touch with Britney? Email: britney@bannikin.com

  • Choy TehChoy TehACCOUNT MANAGER, MEDIA RELATIONS

    Choy Teh

    ACCOUNT MANAGER, MEDIA RELATIONS

    Bachelor in Marketing and Public Relations, Griffith University
    Bachelor in Asian Studies, Griffith University

    Choy is responsible for public relations in Asia. Previously, she managed the public relations division for The Travel Corporation brands in Asia. This portfolio included Trafalgar, Insight Vacations, Contiki, Uniworld, The Red Carnation Hotel Collection and Thompsons Africa. During this venture, she successfully cultivated and managed media and influencer campaigns throughout Asia. Her work included brand partnerships, curating story ideas, organizing media familiarisation trips, conceptualising PR launch events, and managing destination filming for TV programmes.

    Choy looks to secure long-term relationships for her clients. As an example, she brokered a 12-month PR partnership with Style magazine in Singapore for The Red Carnation Hotel Collection, where she negotiated monthly coverage, two magazine covers and 24 pages worth of fashion editorial photographs featuring the hotel properties. Her work has also been featured in top publications such as The Straits Times, The Business Times, The Star, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Tatler Singapore, Buro 24/7 Singapore, Silverkris, Conde Nast Traveller China, Expat Living HK and The South China Morning Post, including TV interviews on CNBC, BBC Asia and Channel News Asia.

    Choy is an active member of the entertainment and media industry in South East Asia and has had over 10 years of experience working as a TV presenter, actor and Radio DJ, predominantly in Singapore. From there, she has amassed a wide range of networks with top key media, editors, influencers, and local celebrities within the region.

    She speaks English, Cantonese, Malay, Indonesian, basic Mandarin and basic Spanish. She is based in Hong Kong.

    Want to get in touch with Choy? Email: choy@bannikin.com

  • Erin MorawetzErin MorawetzACCOUNT MANAGER, MEDIA RELATIONS

    Erin MorawetzErin Morawetz Twitter

    ACCOUNT MANAGER, MEDIA RELATIONS

    Bachelor of Arts Honours, Queen’s University
    Master of Journalism, Carleton University

    Erin is a skilled communications and media relations professional with extensive experience in influencer marketing, social media marketing, and media relations in the tourism industry.

    After several years working in government communications, Erin kicked off her career in the travel industry leading content and strategy at an Asia-based boutique travel PR agency, promoting tour operators, hotels, and local businesses over social media and in the press from her office on a Thai beach.

    Erin went on to lead all marketing and PR efforts for the Women in Travel Summit (WITS), working closely with Visit Milwaukee and Québec City Tourism to promote their destination in the media and to attendees, and increasing both earned media and delegate ticket sales. During this time, Erin also managed brand relationships for Wanderful, the women’s travel community behind WITS, developing strategic partnerships and managing multi-influencer campaigns for clients including Hostelling International, Visit Ann Arbor, Roadtrek, and Flightbucks.

    While working around the globe for nearly four years, Erin lent her expertise in the travel industry to various other projects, including facilitating a social impact trip to Zambia with Unearth the World, leading social media marketing for an influencer trip to Romania, and giving guest lectures to hospitality and tourism college programs on influencer marketing. Erin also writes about travelling the world with a life-threatening peanut allergy, with the goal to help others with a peanut allergy to do so, as well.

  • Megan HonanMegan HonanACCOUNT COORDINATOR

    Megan Honan

    ACCOUNT COORDINATOR

    Bachelor of Journalism, Ryerson University

    Megan Honan is a public relations and media relations specialist with experience in the editorial and travel trade industry. Megan received her undergraduate degree in Journalism and minor in Public Relations from Ryerson University, and at this time held various internships in the travel industry.

    Prior to joining Bannikin as an Account Coordinator, she served as a staff writer for Canadian Traveller and CT Magazine where she developed a deep understanding of the industry, made key relationships and had the pleasure of travelling the globe in search of the next big adventure. She then began her career in PR at a Canadian-based agency, where she was an Account Executive for American tourism boards. Megan used her enthusiasm, creativity and tenacity to assist her clients with all their PR needs, while expanding her knowledge of the North American Market.

    Megan’s love for adventure has taken her to all the corners of the globe. From completing a year of school in Perth, Australia to tackling an editorial position in London, England, there is nothing she loves more than living out of a suitcase.

  • Giselle D’souzaGiselle D’souzaTRADE DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR

    Giselle D’souza

    TRADE DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR

    Indo-German Training Centre-Post Graduate degree in Business Administration
    Mumbai University-B.A. Business Management

    Giselle D’souza is a Marketing and Sales expert with over 5 years of work experience in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry. She holds a Post Graduate degree in Business Administration from Indo-German Training Centre and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management with a major in Marketing from Mumbai University.

    Preceding her journey at Bannikin, Giselle was responsible for marketing and sales of tourism boards, luxury hotels and lifestyle clients to the travel trade and end consumers in India. She managed clients including NYC & Company, Macy’s and AMAN where she worked with a number of tour operators, OTAs and luxury travel agents for product placements and helped achieve incremental business for each client. Her work also included planning and conducting familiarization trips, sales missions, multi-city roadshows, webinars, training workshops, airline programs and consumer activations.

    Her passion for outdoor activities and new adventure brought her to Canada, where she now plans to build a strong and successful mark in the travel industry.

    Want to chat with Giselle? Send her an at giselle@bannikin.com.