Media Release | Thompson Okanagan to Host 2020 Global Sustainable Tourism Conference

Media Release
December 6, 2019

For the first time, the 2020 Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) Global Conference will be hosted in Canada.

The conference will be hosted at the Delta Hotels by Marriott Grand Okanagan Resort in Kelowna, British Columbia, from November 19 – 22, 2020. The announcement was made in Terceira Island, Azores, on December 6th, 2019 by GSTC CEO Randy Durband and Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA) CEO Glenn Mandziuk.

“GSTC is proud to be hosted for our 2020 Global Sustainable Tourism Conference by TOTA and their family of supporters,” says Randy Durband, CEO of the GSTC. “They have been winning many awards for good reason, having put in place and sustainable very sound tourism management practices. They are a model for destination management on many counts, especially in our view for meaningful stakeholder engagement and long-term planning.”

TOTA CEO, and new GSTC Board Director, Glenn Mandziuk recognizes the impact the conference will have on the region as a whole. “We could not be more excited to welcome the GSTC Global Conference to the Thompson Okanagan and look forward to hosting sustainable tourism leaders in Kelowna from around the world. It is truly a privilege to share our destination with the world as we work toward a more sustainable future for us all. It is an opportunity to showcase the region and our sustainable commitment on a global stage to professionals actively involved in the development and promotion of sustainable tourism.”

The annual event will see Kelowna and the Thompson Okanagan welcome over 300 international leaders together with up to 200 local and national delegates specializing in sustainable tourism including destination management and marketing professionals, airlines, travel agents, tour operators, the hospitality sector, and international media.

The conference brings together industry professionals to discuss key challenges and opportunities surrounding smart destination management and sustainable tourism development by featuring a series of panels and presentations from an array of speakers from around the world.

“Kelowna is proudly located in a Biosphere accredited region and hosting the GSTC annual conference will showcase our commitment to local responsible tourism as well as the 17 global Sustainable Development Goals,” says Lisanne Ballantyne, President and CEO of Tourism Kelowna. “Industry reports tell us that more travelers than ever are seeking sustainable destinations, with 87% wanting to travel sustainably and 67% of travelers willing to pay more for travel that impacts the environment less.”

“Every Thompson Okanagan resident should be proud. This event won’t just benefit your region, with its amazing climate, golf courses, wineries, and scenery. It will also remind world travellers that Canada offers an exciting and diverse range of sustainable tourism experiences. Bravo!” said the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages.

“I’m thrilled that Kelowna was selected to host the Global Sustainable Tourism Conference for the first time in Canada in 2020,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. “British Columbia looks forward to hosting the world next year to continue the important dialogue on responsible tourism. This will be an incredible opportunity to showcase how we are prioritizing sustainability, environmental protection, and making sure the benefits of tourism are shared with everyone in our province.”

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About the Global Sustainable Tourism Council
The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) manages the GSTC Criteria, the global baseline standards for sustainable travel and tourism; as well as acts as the international accreditation body for sustainable tourism certification. The GSTC is an independent and neutral organization that represents a diverse and global membership, including UN agencies, NGO’s, national and provincial governments, leading travel companies, hotels, tour operators, individuals and communities – all striving to achieve best practices in sustainable tourism.

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.

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