September 22, 2017
Embracing our Roots at Tourism Vancouver Island’s 54th Annual Conference
For immediate release: Each year Tourism Vancouver Island has the pleasure of recognizing stakeholders who have demonstrated innovation and excellence in the tourism industry over the past year. The annual Tourism Vancouver Island Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony showcased the best of Vancouver Island tourism representatives and businesses. The awards were presented at the Mary Winspear Centre on September 20th, 2017.
“Creating repeat visitation and word of mouth referrals is the most effective way of marketing our destination which happens organically if we provide our visitors with a remarkable experience at every touch point of their journey.” says Dave Petryk, Tourism Vancouver Island’s CEO, “Our annual awards recognize those that have gone above and beyond to ensure the visitor’s experience exceeds their expectations.”
Sponsored by Tourism Café, The Remarkable Experience of the Year Award was presented to Maple Leaf Adventures. The remarkable experience was the “Salish Sea Spring Expedition with Florence James and Canadian Geographic”, which took place aboard the MV Swell ship, April 15 – 19, 2017 in celebration of 150 years of Canada and 15,000 years of humans and nature. Customer testimonial supported the fact that this trip transformed their lives and gave them a new appreciation of Canada’s history and the stories and traditions of the local first nations. Guests not only appreciated the beauty of the place but also had an epiphany that changed them and their actions for good upon their return home.
Sponsored by Page One Publishing, the Innovator of the Year Award recognizes a tourism stakeholder that has developed or renewed a tourism product, package, or initiative that captures the attention of visitors and increases the desirability of the Vancouver Island Region as a destination. This year the award was presented to the Southern Gulf Islands Tourism Consortium for their innovative collaboration on bringing the five islands together for the first time and marketing them as a year-round destination. Catchy taglines such as Explore the Island Next Door have created quite the buzz in target markets such as Vancouver/Lower Mainland and Vancovuer Island.
Sponsored by Tourism Vancouver Island, the Tourism Employee of the Year Award was presented to Captain Wayne Garton of Stubbs Island Whale Watching. Captain Wayne Garton is the oldest and longest serving member of Stubbs Island Whale Watching. Wayne was nominated by his staff for his passion for his role as captain, marine wildlife ethical practices and creating the best experience for his customers. Customers from 16 years ago are now returning with their families to re-live the experience they had with Wayne. Captain Wayne has become so popular among visitors that his name is now a search criteria in its own right on TripAdvisor. Wayne’s dedication to the industry and creating ethical and responsible whale watching practices exceeds all expectations.
The Marketing of the Year award, sponsored by Stubbs Island Whale Watching, recognizes a business or organization for its innovative use of various forms of social media and traditional marketing mediums. The result is a specific and targeted campaign that was successful in attracting visitors to their business and the Vancouver Island Region. The award was presented to “The Real West Coast – Canada’s Surf Highway” a collaboration between Tourism Tofino, the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce, Tourism Ucluelet and Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. The multi-faceted campaign builds awareness for the unique historical, cultural and natural experiences available along “Canada’s Surf Highway” – the stretch of Highway 4 beginning and ending at Cathedral Grove, with photo-worthy stops of interest en-route to Ucluelet, Long Beach and Tofino.
Sponsored by Hot House Marketing, the Tourism Sustainability Award recognizes a tourism business that has set out to minimize their environmental impact, conserve natural resources, respect local cultures and benefit local communities. Their commitment to environmentally responsible tourism and changing the way they conduct business serves as an example to the industry. This year Harbour Air Seaplanes was presented this award for their focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions through high quality carbon offsets which effectively neutralizes emissions. An in-house waste reduction and recycling program has been implemented throughout all departments making it a core value in how they do business. A focus on improving the local environment was a key driving factor in the construction of the newly-built 5,000 square-feet Victoria floating terminal.
The FortisBC Award recognizes a business or organization that utilizes natural gas in their tourism related operation. This year, FortisBC presented the award to BC Ferries for its implementation of the new Salish Class ferries and the use of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). The Salish Class Ferries use of LNG will reduce 9,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.
The Employer of the Year, sponsored by go2HR recognizes a company that exemplifies best practices in all areas of operations and human resource management. This year, the award was presented to Arbutus Ridge Golf Club. for their proven track record of excellence in skills training and workforce development, community involvement and support of tourism education. Employee testimonials support the positive culture and atmosphere of Arbutus Ridge.
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Tourism Vancouver Island is one of five regional destination management organizations in British Columbia that represent Destination British Columbia through the delivery of co-operative marketing and community development programs. In December 2011, Tourism Vancouver Island received accreditation from the Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP) by demonstrating a commitment to quality programs and services. To access information about Tourism Vancouver Island and marketing initiatives, please visit www.tourismvi.ca. For general travel information on Vancouver Island, Victoria and the Gulf Islands, please visit www.hellobc.com/vi or www.FindYourElement.ca
President & CEO
Tourism Vancouver Island
Trade and Media Specialist