Thompson Okanagan Earns WTTC Accolades

British Columbia’s Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association has won the World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) Tourism for Tomorrow Destination Award.

The WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards showcase business practices of the highest standards within Travel & Tourism. The 2018 Awards winners are industry leaders who promote inclusive growth, and work toward a greener future as a result of their proactive contributions to sustainable development and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Following a rigorous 5-stage judging process, which includes an onsite evaluation, winners of the 2018 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards were announced at a special ceremony during the 18th WTTC Global Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

In 2012, the Thompson Okanagan region in British Columbia launched a 10-year regional tourism strategy and put sustainability across all measures at its heart. Projects range from a campaign to keep invasive Zebra mussels from its waterways, an urban wildlife corridor study, the installation of over 1000 electric car charging stations, and the creation of free online webinars to help the region’s 4,500 tourism stakeholders operate more sustainably. At the end of 2017, the region was officially certified as the first location in the Americas to have successfully achieved the Sustainable Tourism Destination accreditation from Biosphere International and the Responsible Tourism Institute, measured across all 17 of the SDGs.

Fiona Jeffery, OBE, Chair, WTTC Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, stated: ““Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association in British Columbia took very brave steps to change their business model from Destination Marketing to Destination Management- engaging with all stakeholders across an area the size of Ireland. The outcomes resulted in many firsts including extending their seasonality, managing the movement of tourists through the use of big data and engaging with indigenous communities- their commitment to improving and developing tourism within their destination is an outstanding example to us all.””

Glenn Mandziuk, president & Chief Executive Officer, Thompson Okanagan Tourism Region, commented: ““This award is a huge support for our Association, partners and stakeholders who are collectively committed to advancing Destination Management Practices and that strive to ensure the sustainable and responsible development of tourism throughout our Region. A tremendous thank you to the entire team at the WTTC for having the vision to invest and celebrate the great work occurring across the globe in sustainability through this program. After having the opportunity to meet all the award finalists I can safely say the Tourism Industry can make a powerful and positive difference in this world.”

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