The International Responsible Tourism Institute (RTI) announced today that the Thompson Okanagan Region is the first destination in the Americas to earn the prestigious Biosphere Destination certification, recognizing the quality, environmental sustainability and social responsibility of the Thompson Okanagan as a tourism destination.
Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA) and their members successfully met 137 benchmarks that contain sustainability measurements that track standards such as affordable, clean energy and water use; human rights and social justice; gender equality; cultural diversity and equality; labour standards; health and poverty standards; and, sustainable communities.
The Biosphere Destination certification is the only designation to incorporate the United Nations (UN) 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the main guidelines of the Paris Climate Agreement.
“In May, TOTA signed the Letter of Commitment in our effort to obtain the Biosphere Designation Certificate and today we are one of only 20 destinations globally to have reached this level of tourism excellency and the first in the Americas,” says President and CEO of the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association, Glenn Mandziuk. “This designation allows us to market the region globally as one of the most sustainable and responsible tourist destinations in the world.”
“Tourism is a global connector, contributing to reducing inequality within and between countries, promoting peaceful and inclusive societies, supporting environmental sustainability and creating opportunities for learning and prosperity for all,” says Patricio Azcarate Diaz de Losada, Director of the Responsible Tourism Institute. “We are pleased to be certifying TOTA with this rare and prestigious designation that accredits compliance with standards based on the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals.”
TOTA and its members see over 3.5 million visitors per year and generating nearly $2 billion in direct economic impact annually.
Image: Courtesy totabc.org