Eddie Friel, an expert-in-residence in Niagara University's College of Hospitality & Tourism Management, will be a keynote speaker during the 64th annual Canadian Museums Association Conference taking place April 11-15 in London, Ontario.
Friel's presentation is slated for 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 13, as part of the conference, titled "Evolve or Die!" to reflect the idea that museums are looking for new ways to remain attractions as the future continues to bring new technology into our lives.
A native of Londonderry, Northern Ireland, Friel has spent more than 35 years in both the public and private sectors of the tourism industry in the United Kingdom, the U.S. and in Canada. He is recognized as one of the key figures in transforming Glasgow, Scotland, from a perceived decaying industrial city to a major tourist destination.
Appointed the first chief executive of the Greater Glasgow Tourist Board, Friel developed the policies that helped transform Glasgow, once a world shipbuilding capital, into an arts and cultural center that now employs twice as many people in the tourism industry as it did in shipbuilding.
Among Friel's many degrees and honors is his designation as an officer of the Order of the British Empire, bestowed upon him in 2004 by Queen Elizabeth II for services to tourism in Scotland.
Dr. Gary Praetzel, dean of Niagara's College of Hospitality & Tourism Management, brought Friel on board in January 2007 largely because Buffalo currently faces many of the same challenges that Glasgow did before Friel arrived.
"Eddie offers us a road map to economic growth through tourism," Praetzel said. "What was done in Glasgow is the perfect strategy to follow here. On the world stage, Eddie is one of the great experts in destination marketing. It's like bringing a Nobel Prize winner to campus."
The Canadian Museums Association, established in 1947, is the national organization for the advancement of the Canadian museum sector, representing Canadian museum professionals both within Canada and internationally. Today, the CMA has nearly 2,000 members, and supports them with training and professional development programs, conferences, publications, networking opportunities, a body of knowledge and a dedicated staff. CMA members include non-profit museums, art galleries, science centers, aquaria, archives, sport halls of fame, artist-run centers, zoos and historic sites across Canada.