Thompson-Okanagan nabs prestigious tourism award

·2 min read

Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA) has been named the 2020 World’s Responsible Tourism Award Winner, netting the prestigious title from the World Travel Awards for the third year running.

According to an announcement video in which TOTA is named the winner of the award, “The World Travel Awards is the most prestigious honours program in global travel and tourism.”

Considered a benchmark for recognizing excellence within the tourism and travel industry, voting is open to industry professionals around the world.

"We are honoured and grateful to be recognized for a third time with this prestigious global award for our continued commitment to responsible destination management and stewardship," said Glenn Mandziuk, TOTA President and CEO.

"I would like to sincerely thank the World Travel Awards for this recognition, as well as our board, staff, partners, and stakeholders, without whom this would not have been possible.”

TOTA also won North America’s Responsible Tourism Award in November.

With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, which hit tourism and tourism-based businesses hard, ‘responsible tourism’ has taken on a dual meaning. It is no longer only a matter of protecting and respecting the environment, but people as well.

TOTA launched a ‘Tourism Resiliency Program’ which was designed to help those affected tourism businesses navigate the pandemic by providing one-on-one support, education, training and advocacy.

"It has been a truly challenging year for the travel and tourism industry,” said Mandziuk. “Through new trials and tribulations, the well-being and resiliency of our natural, social, and cultural environment remains at the core of our efforts. The tourism operators of the Thompson Okanagan region have displayed impressive resiliency."

The Thompson Okanagan will now be holding the World Travel Awards North America Gala Ceremony at Predator Ridge Resort in Vernon, in the autumn of 2021. This will be the first time the World Travel Awards will be hosted in Canada. Originally, the 2020 Travel Awards were to be held in the Thompson Okanagan in November of this year, but due to COVID-19 they were moved to a virtual format.

Morgan Hampton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Merritt Herald