For the second year in a row, the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA) has been named the 2019 World’s Responsible Tourism Award Winner at the 26th Annual World Travel Awards.
The announcement was made at the Grand Final Gala Ceremony held in Muscat, Oman, on November 28th, 2019.
President and CEO, Glenn Mandziuk, stated: “We are so honoured to be recognized for a second time with this prestigious global award for our commitment to sustainable growth and responsible tourism practices. This reinforces our collective focus on this critical component of destination development and marketing and would not be possible without the dedication and support of our board, staff, partners, and stakeholders.”
The World Travel Awards has become the international benchmark for recognizing excellence in the travel industry. Voting is conducted by industry professionals around the world. This announcement follows TOTA’s win of North America’s Responsible Tourism Award in January 2019.
“Sustainable tourism plays a vital part in Canada’s economy, creates good jobs for the middle class and builds a fairer and greener society. For the second time, TOTA’s initiatives bring honour not just to the organization and region but also to our entire country. Congratulations!” stated the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages
“British Columbia is a sought-after destination for visitors from around the globe, in large part because of its stunning scenery and breathtaking wilderness,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. “Our strategic framework for tourism seeks to responsibly grow the visitor economy by respecting nature and the environment, and making sure that everyone sees the benefits of this important industry. The Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association is a leader in putting these principles into action. I would like to congratulate them for winning this award and I applaud their continued leadership in responsible tourism.”
TOTA has been actively committed to being a sustainable destination, as a result of an ambitious strategic program launched in 2012, titled “Embracing Our Potential.” The 10-year strategy laid out the foundation for maximizing the economic benefits of tourism in the region, while simultaneously protecting its natural, social, and cultural resources. To date, it has seen the installation of more than 1,000 electric car charging stations; the establishment of regional Human Resources, Indigenous Tourism, and Accessibility strategies and specialists; hosted the largest Indigenous Tourism Conference in the world; organized specialized stakeholder workshops and tools for operating more sustainably; advanced regional rail trail initiatives; utilized leading research and data analysis techniques to manage and market the destination; launched an Indigenous Artisan Mobile Gallery; and prepared and unveiled a Regional Visitor Pledge.
Further, the Thompson Okanagan Region was the first destination in the Americas to become a Biosphere Certified Destination; recognized in the Top 100 Sustainable Tourism Destinations on the planet for three years and second in all of the Americas by Green Destinations; received the Tourism for Tomorrow Award for destination management from the World Travel and Tourism Council; received first runner up recognition in the United Nations Award for best non-profit organizations on the globe; and most recently, became the first Canadian destination invited to join the United Nations World Tourism Organization as an International Sustainable Tourism Observatory.
About the World Travel Awards
The World Travel Awards (WTA) was established in 1993 to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the tourism industry. Today, the WTA brand is recognized globally as the ultimate hallmark of quality, with winners setting the benchmark to which all others aspire. Each year, WTA covers the globe with a series of regional gala ceremonies staged to recognize and celebrate individual and collective success within each key geographical region. For more information, visit worldtravelawards.com.
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 totabc.org.