Email us at [email protected]
3-1 Taylor Road
Bracebridge, ON P1L 1S6
After completing a college diploma in Hotel and Resort Management, James went on to complete an undergraduate degree at the University of New Brunswick with a Bachelor of Applied Management in Hospitality & Tourism in 2004. In 2008 James received his Master of Arts, Recreation and Leisure Studies, Tourism Planning and Policy degree from the University of Waterloo. Post-graduation, James served as the general manager of SAVOUR Muskoka, a culinary tourism initiative aimed at bridging the gap between supplier and restaurant chef while at the same time creating a culinary identity for the region of Muskoka and Parry Sound.
During this time he was involved in tourism initiatives on a district level and provincial level as a board member with Muskoka Tourism, Ontario Culinary Tourism Association (OCTA) and the Muskoka Lakes Chamber of Commerce. James has also worked on projects with the Canadian Tourism Commission, Canadian Relais & Chateaux Association and Statistics Canada. His research has been published in the International Journal of Hospitality Management.
In 2020, as part of RTO12’s regenerative strategy, James undertook to obtain his TICO Travel Counsellor certificate, and the TICO Travel Supervisor certificate in order to establish a bona fide travel agency division at Explorers’ Edge. He is also a professor of Tour & Package Sales at Georgian College in Barrie, where he helped students obtain their own TICO Travel Counsellor certificates and introduced work-integrated Master Classes and Familiarization Tours participants.
James Murphy lead the RTO12 Business Case for Commercial Air Service at the Muskoka Airport, which successfully attracted Porter Airlines as a partner, commencing with seasonal service in 2019.
Kate Monk, Senior Director, Regenerative Tourism Development & Communications
Email: [email protected]
Kate Monk holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) from the University of Toronto, as well as post-graduate certificates from Humber College in Public Relations and Media Copywriting. She also earned her Professional Certificate in Sustainable Tourism from the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. She currently sits as a member of the Muskoka Watershed Council on behalf of RTO12, and has sat on the Advisory Committee for the Ontario Tourism Summit (TIAO) and on the Round Table Advisory for Ontario Culture Days.
She is responsible for developing innovative regenerative tourism strategies and programs for the organization, its stakeholders and the wider communities. She also oversees consumer and corporate marketing communications, product development, and workforce development at Explorers’ Edge. She is a guest speaker at many schools offering tourism programs, and developed the original curriculum for Georgian College’s 2019-20 Tour & Package Sales course, which featured “Master Classes” by tourism business owners and work-integrated opportunities for students.
Kate was a key contributor to the RTO12 Business Case for Commercial Air Service at the Muskoka Airport, which successfully attracted Porter Airlines as a partner, commencing with seasonal service in 2019. She leads the RTO’s commercial air service marketing team.
Erin Smit, Administration Manager
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (705) 646.0490
Erin holds a BA in Sociology from Laurentian University and a diploma in Hotel & Resort Operations from Georgian College in Barrie. She joined Explorers’ Edge under a one-year FedNor contract and then joined the team permanently as our Tourism Administrator.
Erin acts as the main regional industry liaison, as financial coordinator, as mar-com researcher, and as the lead project manager for the execution of many complex initiatives, including the long-standing and successful voucher programs.
Originally from Waterdown, Ontario, she is now settled in Bracebridge with her husband and twin girls.
Michael Simonett, Chair of the Board
Director of Rooms & Revenue, ClubLink Resorts
Email: [email protected]
Michael Simonett has a passion for tourism. Spending his entire life in the region – either seasonally as child at camp and for the past 35 years full time – he has a unique view of the possibilities for the area. His love of people and the relationships with both colleagues, guests, members and competitors drive him to improve their local tourism experience. Michael is a passionate basketball coach and official and loves the relationships with all participants in the game. He loves trying new things and ideas in growing the business at ClubLink Resorts and has been pleased to use that experience with Explorers’ Edge to further tourism in the region to the benefit of all stakeholders.
Michael became involved with RTO12 because he believes that creating opportunities through process and strategy will result in a significant, positive impact on tourism businesses and the communities in which they operate, now and well into the future.