TORONTO, Nov. 14, 2014 /CNW/ - The Tourism Industry Association of Ontario is happy to announce the winners of the Tourism Industry Award of Excellence for Innovator of the Year: Ripley's Aquarium of Canada and the Elgin Military Museum!
Accepting the award in the large business category, Ripley's Aquarium of Canada is Toronto's newest attraction in over 20 years. Showcasing 16,000 marine animals and open all year round, it is Canada's largest indoor aquarium and houses the largest collection of sharks in North America. In its first seven months of operation, the aquarium welcomed over 1.5 million visitors — exceeding expectations by over 50 per cent. Furthermore, since its opening in October 2013 many restaurants, businesses, attractions and other tourist destinations close to Ripley's Aquarium of Canada have reported increases in business.
The Elgin Military Museum/Museum of Naval History is the recipient of the Innovator of the Year Award in the small business category. In June 2013, the museum opened HMCS OJIBWA, Canada's first Oberon Class Cold War submarine available to tourists. In her first season, OBJIBWA welcomed about 30,000 guests and marked the only guided tours of a submarine in the country. Mixing Cold War history with general submarine intrigue, the Elgin Military Museum has crafted a tourism experience that attracts visitors from across Canada, the US and beyond by developing authentic, innovative tours and programs that have grown into a multi-faceted plan for the future that will turn OJIBWA into an attraction of national calibre.
New innovations and the development of new tourism products are vital to keeping Ontario's tourism industry fresh and attractive to visitors. Ripley's Aquarium of Canada and the Elgin Military Museum are two fabulous examples of how tourism operators are working hard to make Ontario a desired tourist destination for visitors around the world. Congratulations!
The Tourism Industry Association of Ontario is recognized as the umbrella organization for leading associations, destination marketing organizations and regional tourism organizations serving Ontario's diverse tourism industry. Collectively representing 149,000 businesses and 305,000 employees dedicated to promoting and operating the province's powerful tourism infrastructure, TIAO provides a strong, unified voice for the sector and advocates the importance of tourism to all levels of government in order to help the industry grow and prosper. The Tourism Industry Awards of Excellence recognize leaders in innovation, events, volunteering, sustainability and accessibility within Ontario's vibrant tourism industry.
"It's great to see newly-developed Ontario tourist attractions met with such success! Congratulations to Ripley's Aquarium of Canada and the Elgin Military Museum. On behalf of Ontario's tourism industry, we wish these organizations all the best for future innovations."
Beth Potter, President & CEO, Tourism Industry Association of Ontario
Image with caption: "Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (CNW Group/Tourism Industry Association of Ontario)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20141114_C6879_PHOTO_EN_8047.jpg
SOURCE: Tourism Industry Association of Ontario
For further information: Catarina Xhuli, Manager, Executive Office, Membership & Industry Relations, Tourism Industry Association of Ontario, 416.305.8249, [email protected]