A luxury Osoyoos resort and a unique sporting event that has become a “must attend” event for wine lovers across B.C. – and many other parts of Canada – have been nominated for prestigious national tourism awards.
The Watermark Beach Resort in Osoyoos has been nominated by the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) Canadian Tourism Awards for the prestigious Air Canada Business of the Year Award.
Meanwhile, the Half Corked Marathon, which is organized by the Oliver Osoyoos Wine Association, has been nominated for the Metro Toronto Convention Centre’s Event of the Year as part of the same awards.
Ingrid Jarrett, the general manager and vice-president of business development for the Watermark Beach Resort, said she and the entire staff are thrilled to have been nominated for the prestigious national award.
In a phone interview from England, where she is on vacation, Jarrett said this nomination is shared by every manager and employee at the Watermark Beach Resort.
“Every year we have an employee evaluation and consistently we have 90 to 95 per cent of our employees who say they love working at the resort,” she said. “This contributes greatly to an outstanding resort experience for our guests.”
Well-respected websites like Hotels.com and Trip Advisor have consistently praised the resort as one of the best in Canada and this surely caught the eye of the judges for the Canadian Tourism Awards, said Jarrett.
Management at the Watermark pledged when it opened almost a decade ago to invest in the community and the resort consistently supports community events and has staff commit volunteer hours, she said.
“Being named a finalist for the Business of the Year in the tourism industry in Canada certainly came out of the blue and we had no idea it was coming, but I can’t tell you how honoured, thrilled and humbled we are to be recognized by the Tourism Industry Association of Canada.”
The South Okanagan is truly one of Canada’s most beautiful regions and this nomination will send a message to the rest of Canada that we live in a very special and beautiful part of this amazing country, said Jarrett.
The annual Half Corked Marathon weaves racers through the beautiful vineyards of the Oliver Osoyoos Wine Country, sampling wines and fine food along the route.
Created by the Oliver Osoyoos Winery Association, and inspired by the legendary Medoc Marathon in Bordeaux, the Half Corked Marathon pays homage to one of Canada’s most decorated wine regions; a celebration of the Golden Mile and Black Sage Road benches connecting the communities of Oliver and Osoyoos.
“We take great pride in the Half Corked Marathon, our flagship event of the year and one of the hottest tickets in the country,” explains Tony Munday, Executive Director of Oliver Osoyoos Wine Association. “The race not only showcases our incredibly beautiful and diverse region but also shows what can be achieved, when tourism and wine industries collaborate to create an event that’s incredibly unique and special.”
The Watermark Beach Resort has been garnering rave reviews since it first opened its doors on the shores of beautiful Osoyoos Lake a decade ago.
Being nominated for Business of the Year, which many consider the most prestigious of all the awards that will be handed out in Quebec in November, is an honour, said Jarrett.
The other finalists in the Business of the Year category are the Brentwood Bay Resort and Spa in Victoria, B.C. and Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C.
The Canadian Tourism Awards are presented annually by TIAC to celebrate success, leadership and innovation in Canada’s travel and tourism industry and recognize those who go above and beyond to offer superior tourism experiences in Canada.
This year, there were over 130 submissions and a panel of expert judges narrowed down the list of finalists that were announced on Wednesday.
The awards will be presented at the dinner ceremony at the Hilton Hotel Lac Leamy in Gatineau, Quebec on Wednesday, November 30.
Since its inception in 2003, this gala evening has become a highlight of the TIAC Tourism Congress.
The Air Canada Business of the Year Award will be presented to a tourism business that exemplifies industry best practices in all aspects of its operations, and is thus an example of all-round business excellence in the tourism industry.
The Event of the Year Award will be presented to an event or festival that exemplifies industry best practices in all aspects of its operations, and thus serves as an example of excellence to other events and festivals and the greater tourism industry.
The nominee should be an event/festival that attracts visitors, participants and/or spectators, and may be (but is not limited to being) an event/festival of the following types: cultural, historical, musical, arts, sporting, culinary, literary, general interest, amusement, or other.
Alongside the Half Corked Marathon, the two other category finalists are: The Canadian Soccer Association: FIFA World Cup Canada 2016; and Winnipeg’s Folklorama.
“We are in fantastic company – congratulations to all finalists,” said Munday.
The Canadian Tourism Awards recognize those people, places, organizations and events that have gone above and beyond to offer a superior tourism experience to travelers in Canada. On November 30th, The Canadian Tourism Awards winners will be announced in Gatineau, Quebec, at the TIAC Tourism Conference.
For more details about 2017 Half-Corked Marathon, visit www.oliverosoyoos.com/events.
The Oliver Osoyoos Winery Association is a non-profit organization with a goal to develop the wine industry in Oliver and Osoyoos through education and promotion. Founded in 2007 as the South Okanagan Winery Association, the Oliver Osoyoos Winery Association (OOWA) was renamed in 2011 to better reflect its geographical boundaries and now has grown to include 39 member wineries.