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Tourism Richmond head retires

Martin van den Hemel   Mar-02-2018

Bruce Okabe


Less than a year after taking the reins at Tourism Richmond, Bruce Okabe is stepping down as chief executive officer.

“If I was 45, I would not be leaving,” Okabe told The Richmond Sentinel.

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As it happens, Okabe spent 40 years helping build his family’s small-to-medium-sized business, and when that was recently sold, the opportunity surfaced to start the next chapter in his life.

Although he hadn’t planned to retire, he’s now 62, and plans to spend more time with his family.

Looking back on the past 12 months, Okabe believes he’s accomplished the three main goals he set out for the organization:

• put Tourism Richmond on a solid strategic path

• build the Richmond destination brand

• assemble the right team

“I think I’ve done all that,” Okabe said.

Okabe credited the team that was already in place when he arrived for making his job much easier.

“It wasn’t difficult to take the organization from where we were to where we needed to be,” he said.

Tourism Richmond’s vision was shaped during a two-day session with board members, where the group looked at where the organization was heading, among other things, he said.

Earlier this month, Tourism Richmond launched its new identity: Pacific. Authentic. Richmond BC

That new identity stresses who Richmond is vesus what Richmond is, Okabe said.

Central Richmond is vibrant, Steveston is historic, there’s a working harbour, and people from all over the world helped build Richmond, Okabe said.

And that remains the case, he said, with people from all parts of the world now calling Richmond home.


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