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 Travel & Tourism ltd. has been in operation since 2010 and has built a reputation as a leading travel trade development, branding and storytelling, media relations and destination development consultancy specializing in experiential tourism and regenerative travel.

We are a small but mighty team with DMO, tour operator and destination clients spanning the globe. Our clients know that we are here as a solution to their unique challenges, like limited resources – time, money, sales networks, etc. – by providing tourism-specific, highly-specialized and well-researched support. The way we see it; our team is your team.

Bannikin was built on a love for travel and a great respect for destinations and entrepreneurs providing immersive, experience-driven travel experiences around the world. We work with destinations and travel companies at every stage of the tourism life cycle, from development, through to implementation, delivery to market and market management.

Our highly adaptable team also now offers consulting to DMOs on Covid-19 recovery measures that will help elevate local destinations and develop domestic tourism plans essential to the country’s short- and long-term economic resiliency.

  • Trevor Jonas BensonTrevor Jonas BensonCEO

    Trevor Jonas BensonTrevor Jonas Benson LinkedIn

    CEO

    Bachelor of Arts, Law and Human Rights, Carelton University
    Certificate, Sustainable Local Food Systems, St. Lawrence College

    Aspiring tourism changemaker operating at the interface of adventure, food, and culture, Trevor is a social-minded systems thinker, progressive project manager, and entrepreneurial extrovert.

    Since 2006, Trevor has been supporting the development of strongly sustainable businesses and flourishing destinations in Canada and abroad.. He is passionate about collaborating with others to create meaningful change in the way that visitors experience place, and he enjoys nothing more than working with the people that bring destinations to life.

    As CEO of Bannikin, Trevor oversees all aspects of the company’s operations, growth, and development. Having managed countless projects over the past 15 years, Trevor remains heavily involved in the development of business for the company and the delivery of its professional services, including scoping and managing highly participatory and asset-based tourism research, strategy, and development projects at the local, regional, and national levels. Trevor has a particular interest in the role that food and agriculture can play in creating meaningful connections between visitor and place, and he regularly speaks on developing food and agritourism in an inclusive and impactful way.

    Trevor has an academic background in Law and Human Rights and Sustainable Local Food, and he sits on the Advisory Board for the Institute for Hospitality and Tourism Research at the Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University. Trevor has also overseen research undertaken by the Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph and developed curriculum for North America’s first postgraduate certificate in Food Tourism studies at Centennial College, where he teaches Global Tourism Development & Social Justice.

    Want to get in touch with Trevor? Email: trevor@bannikin.com

  • Jillian DickensJillian DickensFOUNDER & PRESIDENT

    Jillian Dickens

    FOUNDER & PRESIDENT

    Bachelor of Journalism, Langara College, Vancouver

    Jillian Dickens brings more than 14 years’ experience in story-telling, product design and stakeholder engagement for sustainably focused destinations and tour operators to Bannikin. 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.

    As Founder & President, Jillian plays a vital role in supporting all departments and team members. She brings her wealth of experience in destination development, media relations, trade development and content creation, resulting in well-rounded oversight and leadership. She has built her business with intention, to work with small suppliers whose values, ethos and operations align with those of Bannikin; regenerative tourism development, transformative travel and overall, good people, are all part of the equation.

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

  • Camilo Montoya-GuevaraCamilo Montoya-GuevaraMANAGER, STRATEGY & DEVELOPMENT

    Camilo Montoya-GuevaraCamilo Montoya-Guevara LinkedIn

    MANAGER, STRATEGY & DEVELOPMENT

    Master's Degree - Cultural Heritage Studies: Policy, Management and Research, Central European University
    Bachelor's Degree - Art History and World Languages, Queen's University

    Camilo is passionate about co-creating value through the development of engaging, enriching, and meaningful tourism for destinations, locals, and visitors alike. With a multi-lingual background, being fluent in English, French and Spanish, and proficient in Italian and German, Camilo enriches his work through a diversity of languages and points of view. He has vast work and academic experience in tourism development, strategic planning, and experience design and development in the niche tourism sectors of cultural tourism, food tourism, and agritourism.

    Camilo oversees Bannikin’s strategy and development work, including the monitoring and evaluation of projects, as well as driving innovation. Through his past work at the Culinary Tourism Alliance, Camilo led the design and development of several monitoring and evaluation frameworks, including one for the organization’s professional services. Camilo has worked on over 25 tourism strategy and development projects of local and national scope, in Canada and internationally.

    Camilo is passionate about cross-cultural learning, and actively supports key developments in this space, mainly as a member of the Board of Directors at Ontario Culture Days, the Toronto Ward Museum of Immigration’s Programming Committee and as a volunteer for the Romero House Refugee shelter in Toronto. Camilo also teaches destination development and tourism geography in the Food Tourism and Tourism Studies post-graduate programmes at Centennial College in Toronto. Camilo obtained a Masters (Distinction) in Cultural Heritage Policy and Management from Central European University.

    Want to get in touch with Camilo? Email: camilo@bannikin.com

  • Zach VanasseZach VanasseINTEGRATED COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALIST

    Zach VanasseZach Vanasse Twitter

    INTEGRATED COMMUNICATIONS SPECIALIST

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

    Zach Vanasse is a branding and creative content specialist with a decade’s worth of experience in the travel industry. He leads the branding and storytelling department, spearheading content creation and branding strategy. He also works to connect travel organizations with sustainability leaders around the world and has worked to develop 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 insider’s appreciation for the inner workings of the travel industry. As a journalist, he developed personal relationships with many of the travel industry’s thought leaders, directors and 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

  • James ArteagaJames ArteagaTOURISM DEVELOPER

    James ArteagaJames Arteaga LinkedIn

    TOURISM DEVELOPER

    Local Economic Development Graduate Certificate, Toronto Metropolitan University, Toronto
    Master of Arts: Heritage Conservation, Carleton University, Ottawa
    Bachelor in Environmental Studies: Urban Planning, University of Waterloo, Waterloo

    James is a creative and analytical thinker, fluent in Spanish and an intermediate knowledge of French and Italian, with 7+ years of experience as a researcher and developer in Canada, Europe, and Latin America. He has worked in the fields of food tourism, agritourism, cultural heritage conservation, community development, and sustainability.

    His previous projects have included experience development, food tourism strategy development, agritourism & industry research, feasibility studies, workshop development, public policy research & development, cultural heritage research, and curriculum development for the Food Tourism Entrepreneurship graduate certificate program at George Brown College. He’s supported multiple projects through research scoping, tool design and development, research analysis, report writing and community engagement.

    James worked in the cultural heritage field with various levels of government including the City of Ottawa, the Region of Waterloo, the formerly known Ministry of Tourism, Culture & Sport, the National Capital Commission, and the Carleton Immersive Media Studio. Additionally, James has worked as a Sustainable Development Planning Assistant at the Municipality of Viacha, Bolivia, as well as a Tourism Development Advisor with the Nicaraguan coffee cooperatives PRODECOOP and Martires de Cantagallo in the rural villages of Palacagüina and Canta Gallo in Nicaragua. He has also worked as a Public Policy & Research Advisor focusing on inclusive employment practices at the Metropolitan Government of Barranquilla, Colombia, and as a Research & Engagement Coordinator at the Culinary Tourism Alliance, Canada.

    James holds a Bachelor in Environmental Studies in Urban Planning from the School of Planning, Waterloo, a Master of Arts in Heritage Conservation from the School of Indigenous & Canadian Studies, Carleton, and a Graduate Certificate in Local Economic Development from the Chang School of Continuing Education, Toronto Metropolitan University (Ryerson).  James is passionate about tourism development since he sees it as a means towards developing sustainable communities.

    Originally from Kitchener, Ontario, James grew up visiting the towns, villages, and farming communities around Waterloo Region. As a result, he is always ready to visit a destination to find and experience the peoples, foods, histories, stories, cultures, and natural landscapes that make that place unique and special.

     

  • Kerry SharpeKerry SharpeSENIOR ACCOUNT MANAGER, PUBLIC RELATIONS

    Kerry SharpeKerry Sharpe LinkedIn

    SENIOR ACCOUNT MANAGER, PUBLIC RELATIONS

    Bachelor of Journalism, Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University)
    Bachelor of Arts, English Literature, Dalhousie University

    Kerry has worked in the travel industry since 2002, getting her start as a staff writer for a Canadian travel trade magazine before moving over to the corporate communications world for Thomas Cook North America, where she drove awareness of the company’s various B2B and B2C brands, in addition to implementing internal communications initiatives designed to drive employee engagement and satisfaction. 

    From there, Kerry worked for one of Canada’s leading OTAs before returning to her trade media roots, working as editor for PAX Magazine and then as a contributor to the Open Jaw Network upon her return from mat leave in 2018. Before joining Bannikin, Kerry worked for three years in the PR agency space, representing a variety of destination clients in the U.S. and Caribbean. 

    At Bannikin, Kerry is responsible for the development and execution of ongoing media relations plans from conception through implementation to reporting, providing both management and hand-on involvement in all phases. Working closely with media, Kerry constantly works to keep her clients top-of-mind, promoting positive exposure  

    Born and bred in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and now residing in the city’s east end with her Glaswegian husband, young daughter, velcro dog, and eternally unimpressed cat, Kerry has taken full advantage of Pearson Airport’s direct access to the rest of the world, travelling extensively throughout Canada, the U.S., the Caribbean, Central and South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. Kerry has a strong passion for experiential travel, discovering hidden gems and wild places, and meeting the people that give each destination its own brand of magic. She looks forward to introducing her daughter to the wonders of the world through travel and as part of that places particular focus on sustainable and responsible travel initiatives, wanting to reduce her footprint whenever and wherever possible. 

  • Caroline MorrowCaroline MorrowTOURISM DEVELOPMENT SPECIALIST

    Caroline MorrowCaroline Morrow LinkedIn

    TOURISM DEVELOPMENT SPECIALIST

    Master’s in Urban & Regional Planning, Queen's University, Kingston
    Bachelor’s in International Development, McGill University, Montréal

    Caroline has worked on 30+ tourism projects for destinations around the world. Her experience includes national strategy planning, product development, and visitor experience design. Caroline believes that tourism can drive sustainable development and human connection. She takes great pleasure in connecting with the small businesses that make each destination unique. Whenever possible, she ties her tourism work to broader community development and sustainability goals.

    With a Master’s in Urban & Regional Planning and a Bachelor’s in International Development, Caroline’s interdisciplinary background inspires her systems approach to tourism development. She has a strong interest in connections between land management, food systems, tourism, and healthy ecosystems. Caroline focussed her fieldwork on Indigenous communal land management in Oaxaca, Mexico, and is keen to explore how agritourism can support sustainable agriculture, habitat conservation, and carbon sequestration. She is currently pursuing a second master’s looking into wine tourism as a tool for rural community development. The program is jointly run through universities in Spain, France, and Portugal.

    From several domestic and international moves, Caroline has worked in diverse environments and cultural contexts. Having lived in Saudi Arabia, Panama, Mexico, Canada, and Spain, she brings a global perspective to all her work. She has a special affinity from Northern Canada and lived in the Yukon and the Cree Nation of Wemindji. Caroline is passionate about involving local communities and partners in project work and knows that collaborative and participatory approaches lead to stronger results. She is always happy to apply her French and Spanish language skills to support meaningful engagement.

  • Rachelle MaynardRachelle MaynardDESIGN SPECIALIST

    Rachelle Maynard

    DESIGN SPECIALIST

    Brain Station - User Interface Design 2018

    Sheridan College:
    - Editorial Illustration 1999-2001
    - Graphic Design 1998-1999
    - Art Fundamentals 1997-1998

    Rachelle has 20 years of experience in the creative field; and during this time she has worked on some incredible projects. She started as a freelance illustrator, garnering such clients as The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Globe & Mail. She has continued to evolve, working as a graphic designer, art director, and video producer. Rachelle works in collaboration with our clients, producing a wide variety of products such as documentaries, video, web design, print, and digital design. She plans and directs all assigned video productions, with the sensitivity to act as a client liaison. Rachelle strives for excellence and never compromises the quality of her work, even on tight deadlines. She also happens to know every Dairy Queen location in Toronto.