Winnipeg, Manitoba, September 11, 2012 - The winners of Travel Manitoba's 14th annual Manitoba Tourism Awards, presented by Manitoba Lotteries, were announced yesterday at a gala event at the Radisson Downtown Winnipeg. The Manitoba Tourism Awards recognize outstanding contributions to the provincial tourism industry, including promoting Manitoba as a destination, providing memorable service to visitors and developing the tourism industry.
The Honourable Flor Marcelino, Minister of Culture, Heritage and Tourism, along with Travel Manitoba Board Chair Bob Sparrow presented the awards to the winners of each category. The winners are:
Aboriginal Tourism Award
Manito Ahbee Festival Inc. was recognized for raising awareness and appreciation of Aboriginal culture and heritage through its annual festival that showcases a wide range of Aboriginal music, art and culture from across Canada, the United States and internationally.
Aspiring Youth Award
Steve Langston was recognized for his passion for the province and telling the Manitoba story as the owner/operator of Dirty T-Shirt productions, which produces videos and web-sites for a wide array of tourism organizations and events.
Event of the Year Award
Folklorama was recognized for being the largest and longest-running multicultural festival of its kind in the world and for its commitment to partnering with other Manitoba tourism businesses to create opportunities for visitors to experience many activities while visiting the province.
Winnipeg Folk Festival was recognized for its multi-generational musical festival that, for the last 35 plus years, has encapsulated the organization's values of inclusiveness, artistic excellence, creative expression and commitment to community.
Event of the Year Community Innovation Award
City of Winkler - Beach Boys Concert was recognized with this special award for demonstrating true community spirit by staging a successful event brought to life through the efforts of dedicated volunteers.
Marketing Excellence Award
Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre was recognized for increasing awareness about the importance of wetlands and the programming being offered at the centre through a variety of different marketing initiatives, including social media, email campaign and new partnerships.
Leigh Cochrane Memorial Visitors Centre/Fisher River Cree Nation were recognized for their innovative partnership that showcases the Fisher River community's unique history and relationship with the land, fostering an environment where the Fisher Community is viewed as a favourable destination for visitation, investment and business development.
Product Development Award
Adrenaline Adventures was recognized for introducing a new, year round and first of its kind outdoor adventure park, whose activities include wakeboarding, climbing walls, three ziplines, beach volleyball, zorbing, tubing and snowboarding.
Service Excellence Award
Goldwing Ambassadors – Winnipeg Airports Authority was recognized for providing assistance to passengers and other airport visitors as well as helping to create a positive impression of Winnipeg through this volunteer run program.
Sustainable Tourism Award
Churchill Northern Studies Centre was recognized for providing opportunities in educational tourism to the general public over and above its mandate to provide logistical services to scientific researchers as well as for adopting numerous environmentally friendly practices in its new facility.
Volunteer of the Year Award
Tim Lewis was recognized for his commitment to Manitoba's only professional rodeo, the Manitoba Stampede. Among his many roles, Tim has served with the Manitoba Stampede & Exhibition for over 35 years, implementing policies and procedures as well as a constitution to ensure the event was always a top quality success.
Winnipeg Airports Authority Award of Distinction
Doug Webber was recognized for playing an integral role in the development of the Manitoba hunting and fishing product inventory. For the past 45 years, Doug has set industry benchmarks for service and quality and has always been focused on continuous improvement of his products and facilities.
"Manitoba's success as a tourism destination is linked directly to the achievements of those businesses and individuals who have been recognized by the Manitoba Tourism Awards," said Colin Ferguson, Travel Manitoba President and CEO. "What all of the nominees, finalists and winners have in common is the ability to offer exceptional service and engaging and distinctive experiences that are the core of our province's tourism industry."
Nominations for the Manitoba Tourism Awards are submitted by industry peers and finalists and winners were selected by an industry-based judging panel. Winners received a trophy and the right to use the Manitoba Tourism Award symbol for advertising and promotion as well as promotion on Travel Manitoba's website.
14th Annual Manitoba Tourism Award Winners Release