The winners of Travel Manitoba’s 18th annual Manitoba Tourism Awards, presented by Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries, were announced at a gala dinner at the Viscount Gort Hotel on October 4. 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 Cliff Cullen, Minister of Growth, Enterprise and Trade and Travel Manitoba Board Chair Bob Sparrow presented the awards to the winners of each category. The winners are:

Aspiring Youth Award – TIE

Remi Foubert-Allen: Growing up in Churchill, Remi is dedicated to showcasing all the area has to offer with dedication to interpretation, safety, customer service and continued education.

Lisa Woods: With a focus on partnerships in both her previous position at FortWhyte Alive and now at Festival du Voyageur, Lisa is innovative and fully committed to being an ambassador for Winnipeg and Manitoba.

Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries IMPACT Event of the Year Award

Grey Cup Festival: With four days of events leading up to the 103rd Grey Cup, the Festival included street festivals, tailgate parties, a concert series, an alumni luncheon, a gala dinner and a post-game party, creating an environment that all Manitobans could take part in with a mix of ticketed and free programming for both fans and families alike.

Indigenous Tourism Award

Aboriginal Day Live: The largest National Aboriginal Day celebration in Canada, reaching 1.25 million Canadians, showcases the land, people and culture through music, storytelling, art and games.

Innovation Award

Gimli Film Festival: Marking its 15th anniversary, the festival adapted to changing technology which allowed for a positive impact on visitor satisfaction, better engagement with public, industry and volunteers, all while becoming more environmentally friendly.

Partnership Award - TIE

Clear Lake Country Destination Marketing Organization: The need for a joint destination marketing organization was identified and Clear Lake Country DMO was formed to promote the area as a year round destination, increase visitation numbers and revenue by engaging with the area businesses and tourism partners in a common marketing approach.

RAW:churchill: In an effort to differentiate Churchill as a destination for northern lights tours this successful pilot project pop-up restaurant sitting within a 250 year-old stone fort was born to three partners inspired by remoteness and a spirit of adventure.

Marketing Excellence Award

C4 – Central Canada Comic Con: Capturing an identity and encouraging fans to celebrate the community, this social media campaign engaged with guests and saw a surge in attendance over previous years.

Sustainable Tourism Award

Assiniboine Park Conservancy: Through a multitude of operational, educational and outreach programs, Assiniboine Park Conservancy strives to protect and actively foster appreciation of natural and cultural heritage resources.

Volunteer of the Year Award

Gerry Arbez: With unselfish dedication, passion and commitment to conservation Gerry makes Lac du Bonnet and surrounding area a better place to live, play and enjoy all aspects of nature and wildlife.

Award of Distinction - Individual

Jacques Bourgeois: Jacques champions Oak Hammock Marsh, the Interlake region and the province of Manitoba by welcoming both residents and visitors with a willingness to share his passion and knowledge.

Winnipeg Airports Authority Award of Distinction – Business or Organization

Churchill Wild: Providing an opportunity to experience the Arctic across a variety of seasons, Churchill Wild’s mission is to give guests the opportunity to discover an authentic once in a lifetime experience, while minimizing the impact to the environment.

“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 75 nominees, 30 finalists and 12 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. Travel Manitoba thanks this year’s judges: Jenny Dupas of Eastman Tourism Association, Tracy Turner of Fort la Reine Museum, Kevin Bachewich of Riding Mountain National Park, Vania Gagnon of St. Boniface Museum, Mike Roziere of Victoria Inn, Barb Nepinak of Summer Bear, and Loretta Dykun.