Our region’s commitment to sustainability continues to grow thanks to several initiatives that are being led by our regional tourism organization, the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA).

Recently, TOTA became a founding signatory with the Future of Tourism Coalition. The coalition is comprised of six non-governmental organizations, who have invited destinations, businesses, and organizations to join them in support of 13 Guiding Principles that will shape the future of tourism. The coalition was formed in part to guide the tourism industry through COVID-19 recovery, providing the guiding principles as a roadmap to further responsible, sustainable tourism, where environmental, social, and economic impacts in a community are positive.  

"TOTA is committed to transforming recent challenges into positive change as we navigate the way toward long-term recovery and resilience," said Glenn Mandziuk, TOTA President and CEO. "We are truly honoured to be part of this international coalition. Healthy, inclusive communities and environmental stewardship are the keys to realizing our collective success."

Becoming part of the coalition builds on TOTA’s ongoing efforts to strengthen our region’s sustainability efforts, which include Indigenous tourism and accessibility. The organization facilitates the Biosphere Adhesion Program, which Tourism Kelowna and 30 of our stakeholders are committed to. This internationally recognized certification is aligned with the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris COP21 Accord to Fight Climate Change. Recent support for Biosphere Committed Companies include an Eco-Efficiency Program, which will help businesses reduce costs associated with their utilities, and an occupational health and safety initiative created in partnership with go2HR. The go2HR Occupational Health and Safety (OGH) Biosphere Framework will assist Biosphere Committed Companies to “establish and maintain an effective health and safety program” through consultation, training, webinars, and more.

“The importance of health & safety cannot be overstated, in the interest of workers, communities, and guests. go2HR is very pleased to partner with TOTA to support tourism employers in the region create and maintain safe workplaces, especially during these challenging times,” said Krista Bax, CEO, go2HR.

For more info on TOTA’s sustainability efforts and for additional resources, click here.  For more information on the Biosphere Adhesion Program or on becoming a Biosphere Committed Company, please contact Jennifer Horsnell at jennifer@tourismkelowna.com or (250) 861-1515 ext. 205.