Thompson Okanagan is home to rich and diverse landscapes featuring the highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies, bountiful orchards and vineyards, warm freshwater lakes, as well as the only arid desert to be found in Canada. Resident population is spread across 90 cities, towns, and villages and 33 Indigenous Communities. Thompson Okanagan’s long-term sustainability strategy has established a 3% increase in revenue whilst having significant positive effect on its inhabitants and fauna and flora. The destination was the first in Canada to commence a regional tourism strategy committing to responsible and sustainable tourism; examples include 1,000 electric car charging stations at key tourism locations, the establishment of an Indigenous Tourism Specialist position to advance authentic indigenous products and services, projects for industry employee attraction and retention, investment in long-term sustainability of trail infrastructure. At the end of 2017, the Region was officially certified as the first location in the Americas to have successfully achieved the Biosphere Certified Destination accreditation from the Responsible Tourism Institute, supported by the UNWTO, and measured across all 17 of the SDG’s.
This destination participated in the 2019 Sustainable Top 100 Destination Awards at ITB Berlin by submitting a sustainable tourism story. Keywords: responsible tourism, biosphere