Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association officials, including CEO Glenn Mandziuk (front row, second from left) with the two World’s Responsible Tourism Awards it has won. (contributed)

TOTA tops in responsible tourism again

Thompson Okanagan Tourism Assciation wins second straight World’s Responsible Tourism Award

For the second year in a row, the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association 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 Nov. 28.

“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,” said TOTA president and CEO Glenn Mandziuk

“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.”

READ MORE: Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association wins international award

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 winning the North American Responsible Tourism Award in January.

“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!” said federal Economic Development Minister Mélanie Joly.

The win also brought congratulations from the province.

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,” said B.C.’s Tourism Minister Lisa Beare.

READ MORE: Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association cited for responsible tourism again

TOTA launched an ambitious strategic program in 2012aimed at 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, the recent hosting of the largest Indigenous tourism conference in the world, organization of specialized stakeholder workshops and tools for operating more sustainably, advanced regional rail trail initiatives, leading research and data analysis techniques to manage and market the destination, the launch of an Indigenous artisan mobile gallery and the unveiling of a regional Visitor Pledge.

The latest award caps a successful last few years for TOTA , which was the first destination in the Americas to become a biosphere certified destination, recognized in the top 100 sustainable tourism destinations in the world for three years and second in 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 was first Canadian destination invited to join the United Nations World Tourism Organization as an international sustainable tourism observatory.

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