Earlier this month, the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA) was named the Tourism Laureate and winner of the International Place Marketing Award at the Place Marketing Forum in Lille, France for its leadership work in Sustainable Responsible Tourism.
The awards “recognize the most emblematic achievements of place marketing worldwide” and projects are selected based on the following criteria:
- Innovation or idea bringing a major improvement in one or more areas
- Remarkable Results with unquestionable qualitative and quantitative results
- Emblematic Projects practice or realization that is emblematic of current trends and new practices in place marketing
TOTA is committed to creating a strong and healthy tourism economy while minimizing the impact on our natural and cultural resources by promoting sustainable business practices and responsible travel. The Association is guided by “Embracing Our Potential,” a 10-year Regional Tourism Strategy, working to strengthen seasonality, territorial cohesion, preservation of the environment, and enhancing local culture.
TOTA CEO Glen Mandzuik spoke to Q101 last month about the key work they’re doing with regards to sustainability.
“When you look at it, it positions BC as a world leader when it looks at this early and puts sustainability at its core,” said Mandzuik. “Destinations like Iceland and Barcelona and the Philippines didn’t put sustainability at the core initially and they’re paying the price now for that. Places like BC are taking this to heart and making sure we protect our own first, before we try to attract new visatation.”
Here in Merritt, Economic and Tourism Manager Will George spoke to few sustainable practices the city undertakes.
“We try not to produce out tonnes of just paper brochures and just things that people will throw away,” said George. “When we purchase things for Tourism Merritt to give out at the music festival and different events, we purchase guitar picks that people use, phone cases, bags, thing we see that people are using instead of throwing directly in the trash.”
One new item that fits perfectly into the suitability mandate are the new trail guides.
“The material we’re printing this trail guide on, leads back to the sustainable tourism practices. We’re not just printing it on a normal piece of paper that gets wet in the rain and then people throw it away,” said George. “We’re printing it on stone paper and we’re super excited about this because it’s water proof, it’s tear resistant. It’s a multi-use trail guide than people can use over and over again when they go out and explore the Nicola Valley. So, we’re keeping those sustainable practices in mind.”
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