The Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association board of directors and senior staff members met this week at the Summerland Waterfront Resort for their first in-person board meeting since October 2021 and only their second in-person meeting since February 2020.
“While the board has continued to meet virtually and work tirelessly over the past two years, nothing can replace the dynamics and creativity of face-to-face dialogue,” said TOTA Board Chair Michael J. Ballingall.
“The challenges the tourism industry has faced and continues to deal with are immense and will take innovation, collaboration, and partnership to help deal with post-pandemic recovery, supply shortages, and labour challenges. It has never been more important to come together to build a resilient and sustainable industry,” said Ballingall. “We have to recognize that things are not going back to “how they once were” nor, in fact, do we want them to. We must incorporate a new way of thinking to build forward and better for the long term.”
TOTA has been a leader in encouraging the implementation of sustainability plans and practices since the release of its 10-year Regional Strategy “Embracing Our Potential” in 2012. In 2017, the Thompson Okanagan region became the first Biosphere Certified Destination in the Americas, a program that is part of the Responsible Tourism Institute and built around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Since then, the other regions that form the British Columbia Regional Tourism Secretariat (BCRTS) including Kootenay Rockies Tourism, Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourism, Northern BC Tourism and 4VI (previously Tourism Vancouver Island) have all become Biosphere Certified Destinations, as well as Destination Greater Victoria.
Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association was recipient of “World’s Responsible Tourism Award” at World Travel Awards.