BUILDING A RESPONSIBLE AND SUSTAINABLE TOURISM INDUSTRY
On April 19, 2018, the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association was named this year’s winner of the prestigious Tourism for Tomorrow Destination Award during the World Travel and Tourism Council Summit in Argentina. The Awards recognize and celebrate inspirational and world-changing initiatives in tourism taking place all over the globe.
The Thompson Okanagan’s 10-Year Regional Tourism Strategy, “Embracing Our Potential” was completed in 2012 and officially endorsed by our 90 Communities and Hamlets together with the 33 Indigenous Communities located in the Thompson Okanagan Region. This strategy, the first of its kind in North America, has been the roadmap for regional tourism development since that time.
From the outset of the project, which saw numerous workshops and industry input sessions take place throughout the region, there was overwhelming feedback on the importance of tourism development that was both sustainable and thoughtful. As a result of this work with communities, underpinning the entire strategy is a commitment to responsible and sustainable tourism with a focus on the 3 pillars of responsibility: Environmental, Economic and Social. As a first step in the implementation of the strategy, TOTA aligned with Green Step Solutions, through a Memorandum of Understanding committing the organizations to work in a coordinated effort towards assisting our stakeholders understanding and implementing green practices.
In 2016, we initiated a worldwide search for an organization that could assist us in pursuing accreditation as a Sustainable Tourism Destination. Through a committee selection process, TOTA signed an agreement with the Biosphere International and the Responsible Tourism Institute (Spain) and embarked on the process of Regional Sustainable Tourism Certification.