Midnight Musings from our CEO
On behalf of all the Board and Staff at the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association, we are so very proud to let you know that at the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) in Argentina late last week, the Association was named the 2018 Tourism for Tomorrow Award Winner in the category of Destinations for our Region’s work on Destination Management practices and Sustainable Tourism initiatives.
Not taking heed of those that said it was not possible, our Association embarked on a journey in 2010 to develop what would ultimately become the region’s 10 Year Tourism Industry Strategy. Together with all of our industry stakeholders and communities, the dream of a collaborative, cohesive and aligned strategic direction for the Thompson Okanagan became a reality under the banner “Embracing Our Potential”.
Since its adoption in late 2012, this industry-led strategy has provided the roadmap for all of the activities of our association and supporting partners. With a focus on tourism initiatives which supported – Building Authenticity, Expanding Personal Horizons, Identifying the Iconic, Enriching Local Flavours and Revealing the Story, and all underpinned with a commitment to sustainable and responsible tourism development.
This commitment was further elevated in late 2017 with the successful achievement as the first destination in the America’s to achieve the Biosphere Sustainable Tourism Destination designation (one of only 21 world-wide) through the Responsible Tourism Institute. This designation commits the Thompson Okanagan to achieving the 17 Sustainable Tourism Development Goals as outlined by the United Nations and supported through the Paris Climate Accord. These initiatives collectively assisted in moving the region forward in a distinct direction and with a strong mandate of Sustainability under the pillars of Economic, Social and Environmental Priorities.
When the WTTC acknowledged the Association was selected as one of three finalists for the awards was already a huge achievement. Originally, there were over 175 contenders from 63 countries for this prestigious award and TOTA was advised in early January that we had been shortlisted together with the Riverwind Foundation in Jackson Hole Yellowstone, Wyoming and Corporacion Parque Arvi, Columbia for consideration. Ultimately, we were the proud award recipient!
Throughout the process, there were many who believed that what this region was trying to achieve was impossible. That others worldwide were more capable, more advanced, more progressive, more knowledgeable, and in fact, more worthy. We refused to believe those comments then, as we refuse to believe them now! A huge thank you to all the community and industry leaders in this region that truly led the way for this recognition – but more importantly to all the tourism operators in this region that rise to the challenge each and every day to deliver a quality experience in a sustainable way. We truly are all winners and share this recognition together.
Believing it is possible, we are half way there……and we are collectively determined to go the full distance to make this region the best tourism destination in the world in every way possible.
Reminder to Save the Date…
TOTA ANNUAL GOLF TOURNAMENT SAVE THE DATE: It may seem a bit soon to be planning for the Annual TOTA Golf Tournament, but it is time to save the date as this year’s event is going to be one that you won’t want to miss. We are thrilled to announce that our annual tournament will be held on August 30th at Black Mountain in Kelowna. Clear your Calendar and make plans to join us. Registration opens soon!
Read all of this week’s News Centre stories at news.totabc.org
Keep following and contributing to TOTA’s Facebook and Twitter sites throughout the week; send us your stories, photos, events and remarkable experiences. Make sure the industry knows what is happening around our region. Be sure to use #route97 and #explorebc when posting your tourism shots and stories.