KELOWNA – The Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA) has been awarded North America’s Responsible Tourism Award 2018 at the 25th Annual World Travel Awards. The Awards Gala, which was hosted in Montego Bay this past weekend, is highly regarded as one of the most important hospitality events of the year, with government officials, industry leaders, and international media in attendance.
The World Travel Awards is a renowned global initiative, founded in 1993, that celebrates distinction and recognizes collective success in the travel and tourism industry. Throughout the past 26 years, the coveted Awards have grown to set the benchmark for excellence across the globe.
This recognition comes on the heels of another international accolade, with TOTA taking home the Tourism for Tomorrow Destination Award at the World Tourism and Travel Council’s Global Summit in Argentina earlier this year.
“We are so very honoured to be receiving this international award for the work we are doing in this important area of tourism management”, said Glenn Mandziuk, President and CEO of TOTA. “This recognition does not come without a great deal of effort and collaboration from industry, communities and partners who have come together with a common belief in the critical nature of protecting our economic, environmental, cultural and social systems for future generations”.
TOTA’s commitment to sustainability was established in 2012, when the region’s 10-Year Regional Tourism Strategy, “Embracing Our Potential,” was completed. The strategy, the first of its kind in North America, was officially endorsed by the 90 communities and hamlets, and 33 Indigenous communities in the region, and has provided the roadmap for tourism development since then.
In 2017, the Thompson Okanagan Region was officially certified as the first destination in the Americas to have successfully achieved the Biosphere Sustainable Tourism Destination accreditation from the Responsible Tourism Institute, an international accreditation body that maintains a Memorandum of Understanding with UNESCO, is affiliated to the World Tourism Organization, and is a member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council.
TOTA has also been nominated for the prestigious World’s Responsible Tourism Award 2018, which will be awarded in Portugal on December 1, 2018. Voting is now open and can be found on the World Travel Awards website.