It took three years, but Thompson Okanagan has won its bid to host the World Travel Awards at Predator Ridge Resort in Vernon, which will welcome more than 300 international delegates at the North American gala ceremony in October 2020, as part of the World Travel Awards Grand Tour.
The event will place the Thompson Okanagan region and its communities firmly on the world stage as delegates from global airlines, tour operators, travel agents, international media and hospitality professionals gather for the award ceremony.
After a joint application was put forward by the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association, Predator Ridge Resort and the City of Vernon earlier this year, the World Travel Awards announced the successful bid at the European Gala Ceremony in Madeira, Portugal. Previous host cities include New York, Montego Bay, Orlando, as well as Turks and Caicos, the Bahamas and Antigua.
The association is a two-time recipient of North America’s Responsible Tourism Award (2018 and 2019), and was named the winner of the esteemed World’s Responsible Tourism Award at the 25th Annual World Travel Awards last year in Lisbon, Portugal.
Association president and CEO Glenn Mandziuk recognizes the impact an opportunity like this affords the region as a whole.
“We are so honored to welcome such a prestigious event to the Thompson Okanagan and look forward to hosting international tourism industry leaders in Vernon,” Mandziuk said in a press release. “This would not have been possible without the support of our stakeholder and community partners and it is a privilege to share our region with the world.”
Graham Cooke, founder of the World Travel Awards, said the organization is “deeply honoured to host our North America Gala Ceremony 2020 in Thompson Okanagan.”
“This fascinating region of British Columbia, Canada is leading the way in sustainable tourism practice and serving as a benchmark of how to preserve Mother Nature for the benefit of future generations,” Cooke said in a press release. “Thompson Okanagan is blessed with overwhelming beauty that ranges from towering waterfalls and soaring mountains to verdant valleys and glacial lakes. I look forward to welcoming the most senior decision-makers of North America’s travel industry for what promises to be a most memorable ceremony in this phenomenal region.”
Claus Larsen, chair of the Tourism Vernon Commission, shared a similar sentiment.
“As an emerging four-season tourism destination, being selected to host the World Travel Awards is an amazing opportunity for Vernon to be recognized as an attractive destination for international conferences and events.”
Predator Ridge, home to a thriving year-round community and two award-winning golf courses, is proud to have attracted such a high-profile event.
“We are thrilled to be host to this international gala and very pleased to be once again partnering with TOTA and the City of Vernon. All of us who live here realize how special this region is and know that we have iconic tourism assets and it will be great to host the WTA awards that recognize leadership in the category,” said Brad Pelletier, senior vice-president of Wesbild Okanagan, owners of Predator Ridge Resort.
The World Travel Awards was established in 1993 to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the tourism industry. Today, the World Travel Awards is recognized globally as the ultimate hallmark of quality within the industry. Each year, the organization covers the globe with a series of regional gala ceremonies staged to recognize and celebrate individual and collective success within each key geographical region.