From the very first chord of the folksy tune written exclusively for Travel Manitoba's 16th
Annual Manitoba Tourism Awards by Master of Ceremonies Curtis Newton, it was clear that the afternoon was going to be filled with special pride and celebration of the achievements of the very best in Manitoba's tourism industry.  

"Manitoba is a place to be immersed in experiences you can't find anywhere else in the world,"said Colin Ferguson, President and CEO of Travel Manitoba, adding that this couldn't be accomplished without the hard work and commitment of our dedicated tourism partners. After a lovely gala lunch, the awards were presented in eleven categories representing the vast array of tourism organizations, individuals and products that help to advance and elevate Manitoba's tourism industry.

The Manitoba Tourism Awards, presented by Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries, 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.

Travel Manitoba congratulates all the nominees, finalists and winners at this year's awards.
The winners are:

APTNAboriginal Tourism Award presented by Riding Mountain National Park
APTN Aboriginal Day Live & Celebration: An annual celebration at The Forks that recognizes and includes all First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples with its Celebration Village and Cultural Stages.


Laura WiebeAspiring Youth Award - presented by The Winnipeg Free Press
Laura Wiebe: An award-winning tourism researcher who led the Fort Garry Hotel's marketing department before taking a position as hospitality instructor at Red River College.


Actif EpicaEvent of the Year Award - under $5,000
Actif Epica: A one-day active living celebration that involves communities along the Crow Wing Trail in southeast Manitoba.


Icelandic Festival of ManitobaEvent of the Year Award - over $5,000 - presented by McKim Communications Group
Icelandic Festival of Manitoba: Gimli's annual signature summer event features diverse programming along with cultural events that keep the Icelandic culture strong.


WAG: 100 Masters - Only in CanadaMarketing Excellence Award - presented by Air Canada
Winnipeg Art Gallery - 100 Masters: Only in Canada: A creative marketing campaign by Doowah Design to promote this "once-in-a-lifetime" exhibit resulted in record-breaking attendance.


Frontiers North AdventuresPartnership Award - presented by Calm Air
Frontiers North Adventures: Collaboration with Polar Bears International brought polar bears to people around the world via Google Street View.


RAW:almondProduct Development Award - presented by the Manitoba Hotel Association
RAW:almond: The first of its kind in the world, this pop-up restaurant combined cultural and culinary tourism with winter, architecture and philanthropy.   


Dwight AllenService Excellence Award - presented by Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries
Dwight Allen: Operating tours in Churchill for almost 30 years, Dwight currently operates the Polar Inn & Suites and Sea North Tour.


Second Nature Adventures in DiscoverySustainable Tourism Award - presented by Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries
Second Nature, Adventures in Discovery: Dedicated to reconnecting visitors to the world around them through custom travel and group experiences, interpretive planning and design, and experiential tourism development training.


Diane DubeVolunteer of the Year Award
Diane Dubé: Coordinates and manages many tourism events and attractions in St. Georges, including Musée de St. George, Festival des crèches, and the local 4P Festival.


Philippe MailhotWinnipeg Airports Authority Award of Distinction
Philippe Mailhot: Director of the Musée de Saint-Boniface Museum since 1989, a long-time ambassador for tourism and expert on the history and heritage of St. Boniface and Manitoba.  

Watch for information on the newly revised and shortened nomination forms for the 17th Annual Manitoba Tourism Awards next year.