Employer of the Year (L-R): Travis Byson, MNP; Michael Anderson, True Key Hotels & Resorts; Anthony Everett, Tourism Vancouver Island. Photo contributed

Campbell River and area businesses take home three of the top six VI tourism leaders awards

Each year, Tourism Vancouver Island (TVI) 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.”

three of the top six aawards were presented to Campbell River and area business (indicated by italics).

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 has long been an industry leader in innovation and sustainability, with a long-time goal being to reduce the company’s environmental impact, Harbour Air Seaplanes. 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 our boats and utilizes her network around the community to make sure the 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 was 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 tourism businesses that exemplify 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 (three of which are Nootka Marine Adventures properties).

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.

Tourism Vancouver Island is a not-for-profit destination management and marketing organization with a mission is to support Vancouver Island’s evolution into a globally preferred travel and getaway destination. The association represents tourism stakeholders throughout the region, including Vancouver Island, Victoria and the Gulf Islands, as well as a stretch of mainland coast between Moses and Bute inlets.

As one of six regional destination management organizations (DMO) in the province, Tourism Vancouver Island is an official representative of Destination British Columbia. TVI is also a non-profit association, governed by a board of directors that is made up of industry professionals from various parts of the Vancouver Island region. For more information, visit tourismvi.ca


Remarkable Experience of the Year (L-R): Lesley Anderson, Tourism Cafe; Laurel Sliskovic, Island Joy Rides; Nancy Arsenault, Tourism Cafe; Anthony Everett, Tourism Vancouver Island. Photo contributed

Employee of the Year (L-R): Trina Notman, Accent Inns; Sherry Heggie and colleagues from Campbell River Whale Watching, Anthony Everett, Tourism Vancouver Island. Photo contributed