Thompson Okanagan region receives prestigious tourism designation

Kamloops This Week

Tourism is big business in the Thompson Okanagan region. The statistics prove it — more than 3.5-million visitors on average visit every year, creating an economic impact of about $2 billion, according to Glenn Mandziuk, president and CEO of Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA).

To bolster that attraction and spinoff economics, TOTA has been accredited by the Responsible Tourism Institute with a biosphere destination certificate. It puts TOTA in some elite company, as there are only 20 destinations in the world to receive the accreditation, TOTA is the lone association in the Americas with the designation.

“This is a fabulous day for the region and for the province and country,” Mandziuk said. “It was a heck of a lot of work, but it has been gratifying.”

That work involved meeting the 137 criteria in the certification program, benchmarks that are in line with the 17 United Nations sustainable-development goals and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Those include looking at standards for affordable, clean energy and water use; human rights and social justice; gender equality; cultural diversity and equality; labour standards, health and poverty standards and sustainable communities

The TOTA certification noted the region’s mountains, valleys, deserts, orchards, vineyards, beaches and other activities like golfing, hiking, biking and skiing, all creating a wide diversity of experiences.

“We are blessed with an extraordinary tourism region in Canada and it is imperative that we collectively work to ensure the long-term sustainability of our social, environmental, cultural and economic ecosystems,” Mandziuk said. “The opportunity to be the first destination in Canada and the United States to achieve such a prestigious international designation will be a tremendous honour for the region and recognizes our commitment to establishing a sustainability charter identified in the Thompson-Okanagan 10-year tourism strategy.”

Sustainability is key, Mandziuk said, because tourism needs to be managed in many aspects to avoid over-tourism or a decrease in quality. One benefit of the process TOTA followed during accreditation was the creation of a committee comprising representatives of many organizations that deal with life in the Thompson-Okanagan region, from poverty to health to entrepreneurship to tourism and more, Mandziuk said. Working together is helping TOTA solidify its planning for long-term tourism sustainability.

“What this does is position our region on the world stage,” he said.

Just Posted

TNRD seeks input on solid waste plan

Time to Talk Trash meeting planned for Nov. 27 at Dutch Lake Community Centre

Recchi of Kamloops joins Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto

Recchi racked up 1,533 points in 22 NHL seasons with seven teams

PHOTO: Elks give to Royal Purple

Saying thanks for the help with weekly pancake breakfasts this past summer

Lumber trade mission returns from China

Largest ever forest industry trade mission from B.C. also visits Japan

Royal Purple issues challenge to adopt a family for Christmas!

Clearwater Royal Purple #302 would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

‘An officer and a gentleman’: Const. John Davidson is laid to rest

Thousands attend memorial service for slain Abbotsford Police officer

VIDEO: Coquihalla closed both directions near Merritt

Detours are available via Hwy. 8 and Hwy. 1

VIDEO: The Last Jedi is going to be the longest ‘Star Wars’ movie yet

Newest movie in the franchise will beat Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week.

PHOTOS: Procession and funeral for Const. John Davidson

Thousands attended celebration of life for Abbotsford police officer

B.C. Liberal leadership candidates debate different paths for party

Third debate held Sunday, Nov. 19 at Nanaimo’s Vancouver Island Conference Centre

LIVE: BC Liberals kick off leadership debate in Nanaimo

Candidates’ forum is at noon at Vancouver Island Conference Centre

WATCH: Thousands gathering in Abbotsford for Const. John Davidson funeral procession

Celebration of life to follow at Abbotsford Centre at 1 p.m.

Most Read