The winners of Travel Manitoba's 17th annual Manitoba Tourism Awards, presented by Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries, were announced this afternoon at a gala lunch at the Club Regent Event Centre. 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 Ron Lemieux, Minister of Tourism, Culture, Heritage, Sport and Consumer Protection along with Travel Manitoba Board Chair Bob Sparrow presented the awards to the winners of each category. The winners are:
Aboriginal Tourism Award
Royal Winnipeg Ballet: Going Home Star - Truth and Reconciliation: This original ballet uses the power of dance to connect and engage audiences with the many experiences - told and untold - of survivors and their families from the Indian Residential School System.
Aspiring Youth Award
Sylvie Fouasse: As the tourism officer for CDEM and assistant at Rivers West, she is going above and beyond to promote Franco-Manitoban tourism destinations and attractions as well as tourism development of the Red River Corridor.
Event of the Year Award - under $5,000
Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre - Unveiling of Suzy Mosasaur: This special event saw the unveiling of the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre's most significant exhibit in 10 years, resulting in major media coverage.
Event of the Year Award - over $5,000
Virden Indoor Rodeo & Wild West Daze: As one of the biggest events of its kind in rural Manitoba, a change in venue, retrofitted sound system, upgraded website, and the addition of Family Day contributed to this event's major economic impact.
Assiniboine Park: Journey to Churchill: The zoo's signature exhibit is the most comprehensive northern species exhibit in the world. Rooted in real places and landscapes, the exhibit - including its stars, the polar bears - has dramatically increased visitation and revenue.
Marketing Excellence Award
Festival du Voyageur: To celebrate the festival's 45th anniversary, this campaign combined archived photography and witty copywriting to show the festival is "Woven in Time".
Parks Canada & Variety, the Children's Charity of Manitoba: This partnership resulted in the creation of Lower Fort Scary - an accessible, inclusive, and immersive Halloween program for children and caregivers of all abilities at Lower Fort Garry.
Sustainable Tourism Award
Churchill Wild: Providing customized adventures in the arctic ecosystem without disturbing its inhabitants, Churchill Wild promotes conservation of native wildlife and vegetation while creating social and economic benefits for local communities.
Volunteer of the Year Award
Jane Graham: For 40 years Jane has volunteered with the Winnipeg Folk Festival, including
positions in Liaison Crew, Site Office Crew and even as Chair of the Board of Directors.
Award of Distinction - Individual
Gerry Turenne (posthumous): For more than 40 years, Gerry was a passionate contributor to tourism development in Manitoba, including the Festival du Voyageur, Fort Gibraltar, Folklorama, Travel Manitoba, and Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge.
Winnipeg Airports Authority Award of Distinction
Folklorama: Attracting more than 400,000 visits every year, Folklorama is the largest and longest-running multicultural festival of its kind in the world. The festival, along with its travel, talent, and teaching divisions, is a leader in promoting Manitoba's ethno-cultural communities.
"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 56 nominees, 30 finalists and 11 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.