Thompson Okanagan Invited to Join the UNWTO as International Observatory

October 30, 2019
For Immediate Release

The Thompson Okanagan Region is the first Canadian destination to join the World Tourism Organization’s (UNWTO) International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories (INSTO), joining 27 committed partners across 5 continents.

The network was established 15 years ago to “support destination stakeholders to take focused and coherent action to accelerate the shift towards sustainable consumption patterns, thus turning the goals proposed by the international community into reality.”

Through a lengthy application process, destinations are required to meet the criteria outlined in the INSTO framework and commit to the ongoing monitoring and reporting of 9 core issue areas including Tourism Seasonality, Employment, Local Satisfaction, and Energy Management.

The Thompson Okanagan Tourism Observatory was recognized last week at the UNWTO Global INSTO Meeting in Madrid, Spain, and is the first Canadian destination to join the network.

“We warmly welcome the new sustainable tourism observatory of Thomson Okanagan, which has demonstrated already at this early stage its strong commitment to advance sustainability based on evidence and participatory processes, key elements of successful sustainability strategies,” said Dirk Glaesser, the UNWTO’s Director, Sustainable Development of Tourism.

Glenn Mandziuk, President & CEO of the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association spoke to the recognition: “We are honoured to be selected as Canada’s first destination to join a network of leading organizations from around the world as part of the UNWTO‘s INSTO program that will help us share, measure, and understand the economic, social and cultural implications of tourism. We believe this important announcement continues to showcase our Region’s strong commitment to developing tourism in a responsible and sustainable manner.”

Lisa Beare, British Columbia Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, added: “This international recognition of the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association showcases years of innovative work towards sustainable tourism management. Our vision for tourism in British Columbia is one of responsible growth, where the benefits of tourism are shared with everyone. Successful tourism practices have evolved beyond focusing solely on economic returns, and today also consider the social, cultural and environmental impacts as well. Congratulations to everyone involved in achieving this designation in the Thompson Okanagan and thank you for your leadership.”

About the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association
The Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA) is a non-profit society, governed by an elected Board of Directors, which represents business and community tourism interests throughout the region, and is supported by and representative of Destination British Columbia. It is an industry-led organization that represents and supports all business and community tourism interests in the region, while also helping to implement provincial tourism policies. For more information, visit

About the UNWTO International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories
The UNWTO International Network of Sustainable Tourism Observatories (INSTO) was created in 2004 with the main objective to support the continuous improvement of sustainability and resilience in the tourism sector through systematic, timely and regular monitoring of tourism performance and impact and to connect dedicated destinations in order to better understand destination-wide resource use and foster the responsible management of tourism.

Through the systematic application of monitoring, evaluation and information management techniques, the initiative provides policy makers, planners, tourism managers and other relevant stakeholders with key tools to strengthen institutional capacities to support the formulation and implementation of sustainable tourism policies, strategies, plans and management processes. Visit for more information.

Media Contacts:
Glenn Mandziuk
President and CEO
Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association

Ellen-Walker Matthews
Vice-President Destination Development
Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association
(236) 361-4433

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