The Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association has been recognized for its work on an international stage.
TOTA, a not-for-profit society which represents business and community tourism interests throughout the region, won the World’s Responsible Tourism Award at the 25th annual World Travel Awards last weekend in Lisbon, Portugal.
The award was accepted by Glenn Mandziuk, president and CEO of TOTA, along with Frank Antoine, TOTA’s chairman of the Board, and Ellen Walker-Matthews, the association’s vice-president of destination and industry development.
“We, as a tourism industry, need to take a strong leadership role to ensure our destination — which we all call home — is not negatively impacted by its developments and activities,” said Mandziuk.
“The honour of our association and our region receiving this important international recognition shows we are on the right track with our collective focus on responsible and sustainable tourism.”
This award follows TOTA winning the WTA North America’s Responsible Tourism Award in September and the World Travel and Tourism Council’s Tourism for Tomorrow Award in April. It has also received numerous other commendations in the past year.
“Such positive outcomes do not happen without a great deal of help and leadership,” said Mandziuk.
“Without the support of Destination Canada, BC Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Destination BC, the community, non-governmental organizations, corporate partners, and our 4,500 industry tourism stakeholders, this recognition would not be possible.”
Since its establishment 25 years ago, the WTA has become the international benchmark for recognizing excellence in the travel, tourism and hospitality industries. Voting is conducted online by tourism industry professionals around the world.
The Thompson Okanagan attracts more than four million visitors annually, generating more than $2.2 billion in direct revenue.
That makes tourism the region’s top economic driver.
TOTA says its aim, through a focus on responsible tourism, is to ensure that for decades to come, the region will have a healthy and sustainable economic, social, environmental, and cultural future.
The WTA grand final gala ceremony on Saturday took place at Lisbon’s historic Pátio da Galé.
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