Midnight Musings from our CEO
Last week, on the heels of a tremendous Tourism Industry Conference in Vancouver, I had the honour to be asked to a private dinner with Calin Rovinescu, President & CEO of Air Canada together with industry, education and sector leaders to discuss the BC economy’s challenges and opportunities. Being able to share the great work of our tourism industry here in the Thompson Okanagan and opportunities to grow the market was such an honour. Special thanks to Craig Richmond, CEO of the Vancouver Airport Authority and the entire Air Canada team for putting on such an inspiring and thoughtful evening.
Then with our TOTA Board Chair, Frank Antoine, and others from the region, I headed to ITB Berlin, widely considered to be the world’s preeminent Travel Trade Show. The predominance of the dialogue at the Show, from every corner of the globe, centred on the issues of responsible sustainable tourism, whether it be development, measurement, monitoring or management.
Throughout the course of the week, Frank and I attended many thought-provoking sessions and met with tourism leaders from around the world who are actively focusing on these important issues. We had many opportunities to put the Thompson Okanagan forward and underscore our commitments to sustainability and to recognize and showcase all of the hard work our collective industry partners and stakeholders are doing in this region. Our message is definitely being heard.
The Show had numerous highlights for us, far too many to outline here, however, there are some that definitely stood out. We were honoured to have an opportunity to meet one on one with Dr Dirk Glaesser, Director for Sustainable Development of Tourism for the World Tourism Organization (WTO). We discussed opportunities for our region to form a long term partnership and engage with research programs that will enable us to better measure the impact of sustainable tourism development activities that are currently underway.
Later in the week, we joined Lonneke de Kort, CEO of Bookdifferent.com to formalize our formal partnership agreement which will see our organizations working together to develop a series of pilot digital promotional and research projects. In addition, this relationship is designed to ensure the Thompson Okanagan Region and its Biosphere Adhesion committed communities and businesses will be featured on their site.
We then signed a formal Tourism Development and Cultural Partnership MOU between TOTA and the Emerging Tourism Enterprises Association of Namibia, Africa. This extraordinary opportunity will enable us to share best practices on sustainability, social development, and cultural tourism.
Frank was also a keynote speaker at the Berlin Economic Forum at the Institute of Cultural Diversity sharing the Region’s indigenous story and the power of cultural tourism in the reconciliation process.
And finally yes… there was an awards evening and we are very proud and pleased to share that the Thompson Okanagan Region ranked 2nd as the Top Green Destination in the Americas by the Global Green Destinations Organization. Our congratulations to Galapagos National Park, Ecuador who ranked first.
Believe me when I say just how honoured we were to be in such outstanding company.
Glenn Mandziuk, TOTA President & CEO
A few highlights from this week’s News Centre…
Congratulations to Big White’s Michael J Ballingall
We are pleased to congratulate our regions own Micheal J Ballingal who was announced last week as the new Vice Chairman of Destination BC’s Tourism Marketing Committee. Read More
As a welcoming and inclusive region, it is important to ensure our tourism industry understands how to effectively understand, value and serve the LGBT+ community of customers and employees. In partnership with Tourism HR Canada and the Government of Canada, a complimentary training session will be held in Kelowna on March 13th. Read More
Route 97 Guide …don’t miss your chance to be part of this regional piece
There is still time for you to book your advertising in this years Thompson Okanagan Route 97 Guide. The only regional piece of its kind it features road trips, maps, and planning suggestions and is widely distributed throughout BC, Alberta and North Central Washington, not to mention through our BC RV and Camping Coalition. Don’t miss out… Read More