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 showcases the best of Vancouver Island tourism representatives and businesses. TVI presented the 2019 awards at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre on October 9, 2019.
“Our annual awards celebrate tourism businesses and individuals who collaborate, innovate and go above and beyond to help grow tourism in the Vancouver Island region,” said Anthony Everett, Tourism Vancouver Island’s President & CEO. “The quality of experiences and industry professionals that visitors come to expect in our region is reflected in the nominations we received. This year’s winners have truly captured the essence of remarkable.”
Sponsored by Tourism Cafe, the Remarkable Experience of the Year Award recognizes tourism businesses that have enhanced or transformed our customers’ experiences in the Vancouver Island region. Laurel Sliskovic accepted this year’s award on behalf of the always remarkable, Island Joy Rides.
Sponsored by BC Ferries, 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’s winner is Harbour Air Seaplanes, an industry leader in innovation and sustainability, with a long-time goal being to reduce the company’s environmental impact. With the development of the world’s first all-electric commercial fleet, this company will be able to connect BC’s coastal communities with clean, efficient and affordable electric air travel.
The Tourism Employee of the Year Award, sponsored by Accent Inns, recognizes a front-line tourism employee that has demonstrated exemplary work performance, thereby enhancing business or customer satisfaction. This individual is valued for their outstanding commitment to improvement and consistently going above and beyond the scope of their assigned responsibilities. Day after day, this employee fills up the boats and utilizes her network around the community to make sure that company she works for is top of mind for anyone looking for an adventure while visiting! The winner for the 2019 Tourism Employee of the year is Sherry Heggie of Campbell River Whale Watching.
Sponsored by Prince of Whales Whale & Marine Wildlife Adventures, 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’s recipient is Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, for their incredible commitment to their local ecosystems, their devotion to guest education, and their strong moves to becoming ever more sustainable.
This organization has been a leader in sustainability since 2001 when they forged strong relationships with both the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the First Nation of Ahousaht to mitigate and repair some of the historic, human-caused environmental damage and habitat depletion in Clayoquot Sound. Their organization focuses on creating new salmon spawning habitat channels and restoring native stocks to river systems on and around their property with the help of organizations like the Tofino Salmon Enhancement Society.
The Employer of the Year award, sponsored by MNP, recognizes a tourism business that exemplifies best practices in all areas of operations and human resource management. The winner of this award is chosen based on the quality of the workplace and work atmosphere, as well as leadership in recruitment, performance management, and career advancement. This year’s award was presented to True Key Hotels & Resorts.
This organization works tirelessly to recruit the best talent by offering competitive wages, benefit packages with discounted travel, recognition for achievements, an annual policy and procedure review, employee referral programs, employee exchange programs, and meaningful opportunity for advancement. Many members of the leadership team started as front-line employees, and have grown into new roles as they were given opportunities to expand their skill-set.
Sponsored by Eclipse360, the Marketing Campaign of the Year Award recognizes a business or organization for its innovative use of social and traditional marketing mediums. It is a targeted campaign, which was successful in attracting visitors to a company or an organization and the Vancouver Island Region. This year’s recipient was Tourism Cowichan for their Iconic Cowichan Campaign.
The main goals of the campaign were to encourage travellers to spend more time in the region, to collect user-generated images of locations throughout the entire region, and promote the use of their branded hashtag while building online buzz. By travelling to and posting images of all seven locations, visitors are entered to win a grand prize of a shoulder season weekend getaway in the region. The campaign combines physical travel with digital travel as it not only keeps visitors in the region longer but also produces more awareness for the region and user-generated content.