Tourism BC Honours the Industry at 9th Annual BC Tourism Awards

    VANCOUVER, Feb. 22 /CNW/ - Held on February 21st at the Sheraton
Vancouver Wall Centre, the BC Tourism Awards recognized innovation and
excellence in the province's tourism industry. Presented by Tourism British
Columbia and the Council of Tourism Associations of British Columbia, a total
of ten awards were handed out during the evening event to individuals and
organizations representing a cross-section of the tourism industry.
    The Foresight Sustainability Award was given to the Vancouver Aquarium,
an industry leader in sustainable policies and programs. Operating with a dual
mandate, the Vancouver Aquarium fulfills its vision of a sustainable world,
where aquatic life is diverse and flourishing, while achieving success as one
of British Columbia's most popular attractions.
    Trudy Van Dop was recognized with the Best Tourism Marketing Campaign
Award for the Van Dop Arts and Cultural Guide to BC and the Annual BC Cultural
Crawl. The Cultural Crawl is a month-long celebration of the arts throughout
the province with over 70 communities participating in 2007, the Van Dop Arts
& Cultural Guide to British Columbia: a 128-page, full-colour, year-round
guide to the arts, culture and heritage of BC is now celebrating its tenth
    Kootenay Rockies Tourism was awarded the Technology in Tourism Award for
developing, a comprehensive, mobile-specific destination
website, the first of its kind in Canada. The website was built entirely in
Wireless Application Protocol (WAP), using simple navigation controls,
featuring on-demand download of images and audio ensures visitors the ultimate
mobile experience.
    The Employees First Award was given to The Exploration Place, at The
Fraser-Fort George Regional Museum. By developing a corporate culture that
values employees and recognizing that work is only a portion of their lives,
The Exploration Place has implemented major initiatives such as child care
programs, expansion of health benefits, feedback oriented reviews, higher
starting wages for entry level staff and flexible work hours.
    Air New Zealand was recognized with the Tourism Media Award for their
work in promoting a new direct flight from Auckland to Vancouver. A series of
strategic media visits offered by Air New Zealand took journalists throughout
the province, generating enormous media attention for British Columbia.
    The Vancouver Convention & Exhibition Centre was recognized with the
Environmentally Responsible Tourism Award for their active pursuit of an
environmental agenda, which includes facility-wide programs, addressing key
areas such as maximization of recycling and waste reduction, energy efficiency
and conservation.
    The Sport Tourism Community Legacy Award went to Initiatives Prince
George for their "Train in Prince George" program. Through developing a
comprehensive sport tourism plan, showcasing the unique attributes of their
community, Initiatives Prince George has become an exceptional sport host
    The SuperHost Customer Service Award was given to Sidney resident Tamara
Turcotte for her commitment to customer service in the face of challenging
odds. On July 28, 2007, when BC Ferries experienced an unfortunate bomb hoax,
Tamara came in to work at the Airport Travelodge on her night off and
immediately began to help those who were stranded and in need of a place to
stay for the night. In many ways for Tamara, it was just another day at work.
    The William Van Horne Visionary Award was presented to Walter Smith, who
for over 75 years, has been a visionary force for tourism in Northern British
Columbia. He saw the potential that tourism could bring to his home community
of Prince Rupert, and broadened that for his community, becoming Northern BC's
voice for tourism throughout a critical era in the development of the
    Lorne Whyte was recognized with the Tourism Industry Leader of the Year
Award. Recently retired, Lorne served as President & CEO of Tourism Victoria
since January, 1989. His 30 year tourism industry background includes owning
and operating successful companies throughout the Pacific Northwest in both
the publishing and distribution business. Under Lorne's 19 year tenure at
Tourism Victoria, the 2% hotel tax was implemented, and the local tourism
industry went from $500 million dollars in 1989 to more than 1.2 billion

    Tourism British Columbia is a Crown corporation that operates under an
industry-led board of directors and is responsible for marketing the Super,
Natural British Columbia(R) brand to the world. To access comprehensive
information about the business of tourism in British Columbia and Tourism
British Columbia's programs, visit
    The Council of Tourism Associations is the voice of the BC tourism
industry, representing BC's major tourism organizations and businesses.
Tourism contributes $10 billion annually to the BC economy, and directly
employs 118,000 workers. For more information on COTA please visit

    Backgrounder and photographs available upon request.

For further information:

For further information: Chandel Diebold, Corporate Communications,
Tourism British Columbia, (604) 660-3757,

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