Midnight Musings from our CEO
It has been a tremendous year for our region and Association, not only being nominated for but shortlisted and even winning several prestigious awards around the world, against some very strong and, quite frankly, much larger in terms of budgets competition.
Our region “Thompson Okanagan” is being recognized as a leader in strategic vision in Sustainable / Responsible Tourism operation and development and this recognition is coming from organizations who are themselves Leaders in Tourism.
It began last February, not long after the Biosphere Certification where the region received the World Travel and Tourism Council’s “Tourism for Tomorrow Destination Award”. This was quickly followed by the 2018 World Tourism Award as North America’s Responsible Tourism Destination and finally this past Saturday we were proud to be named as the World Tourism Award’s Responsible Tourism Destination World Wide for 2018. Further, we have been Silver medalists or top finalists in a variety of award programs including SKAL, International Travel and Tourism Awards Planning Institute of BC, Land Awards finalist, and the list goes on.
Along the way I have been asked what all this means for the region, does it really matter, why bother, how can tourism stakeholders benefit and my answer is always the same:
“This is putting the Thompson Okanagan in the minds of industry partners and travellers worldwide and shows we are collectively heading in the right direction. These awards belong to our region, Province, and Country, and in turn to each one of you as tourism stakeholders. We are showing the next generation of guests that we are different, that we stand for something, and that we understand the value of the area we so proudly represent and do business in. These are difference makers for you and every resident who calls the Thompson Okanagan home.
Responsible / Sustainable tourism is what consumers both young and old are asking for at an increasing rate. Today’s research indicates that ¾ of all travellers say sustainability important in their travel decisions and in a 2015 report, 66 % of the US market indicated they would pay more for certified sustainable products ( a number that was from 55% the year prior).
Our guests are changing, but we are poised to meet that change and to let them know that these are issues we have been actively looking at for many years and more recently focused on everything we do and say. In the coming weeks, we will be launching a new and exciting initiative with organizations like the Responsible Tourism Institute and bookdifferent.com, which again we see as helping our stakeholders lead the way and communicate their commitment to long-term responsible thinking.
Awards…well you can say “well why bother” or you can get involved and get behind this movement to elevate the Thompson Okanagan on the world stage and invite them to visit.
A Few Highlights from this Week’s News Centre…
There are many reasons to be part of this coming year’s Route 97 Guide and Website and Early Bird pricing is in effect but only until December 20th, 2018 (read more); there is a lot happening at all our area ski resorts and in this week’s News Centre! Check out the details of the new Gondola that has opened at Silver Star Resort (read more); Celebration activities surrounding Mount Baldy’s 50th Anniversary (read more); and the plans for a Quad chair for Manning Park (read more). Our congratulations to our own Nancy Greene Raine who was inducted into the Tourism Hall Of Fame last week (read more).
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.