Tourism is a powerful driver of economic growth, job creation, and cultural exchange. However, tourism can also have negative impacts on the environment, local communities, and cultural heritage if not managed sustainably and responsibly. Recognizing the importance of sustainable and responsible tourism, the Edmonton Tourism Awards have created three award categories that celebrate tourism businesses and initiatives that prioritize sustainability, community development, and cultural preservation. In this blog post, we will introduce the finalists of the Sustainable Tourism Award, Outstanding Contributor to the Community Tourism Award, and Cultural Experience Tourism Award, and highlight their initiatives that demonstrate how tourism can be both socially responsible and economically viable.
Sustainable Tourism Award
The Sustainable Tourism Award recognizes tourism businesses that have made significant efforts to minimize their environmental impact, promote conservation, and support sustainable tourism practices.
The finalists of this award are:
- The Edmonton Radial Railway Society, for its sustainable preservation of historic streetcars and its eco-friendly, carbon-neutral operations. The society’s efforts include the use of solar power and rainwater collection, as well as educational tours that promote environmental awareness and conservation.
- River Valley Alliance, for its dedication to conserving and preserving the natural beauty of the North Saskatchewan River Valley through sustainable development and management practices. The alliance works closely with local communities and businesses to ensure that tourism activities are conducted responsibly and with minimal environmental impact.
- Prairie Gardens, for its sustainable farming practices and its focus on agritourism. The farm uses organic and sustainable methods to grow a variety of fruits and vegetables, and offers farm-to-table dining experiences that showcase local and seasonal ingredients.
These finalists demonstrate that sustainable tourism practices can be both innovative and effective in reducing the negative impact of tourism on the environment and local communities. By adopting sustainable tourism practices, these businesses have not only reduced their carbon footprint but also contributed to the development of sustainable tourism practices in the region. Furthermore, their initiatives have the potential to inspire and influence other tourism businesses to adopt sustainable practices, ultimately contributing to the development of a more sustainable and responsible tourism industry.
Outstanding Contributor to the Community Tourism Award
The Outstanding Contributor to the Community Tourism Award recognizes tourism businesses that have made significant contributions to the local community through job creation, volunteerism, philanthropy, and community engagement.
The finalists of this award are:
- The Edmonton Elks, for their involvement in community outreach and philanthropic efforts, including the support of local charities and organizations, as well as their commitment to providing opportunities for youth engagement in sports and recreation.
- OEG Sports & Entertainment, for their support of local community events and initiatives, including charitable donations and volunteering efforts, as well as their commitment to promoting Edmonton as a vibrant and inclusive city for all.
- Marriott Hotels, for their dedication to supporting and empowering local communities through philanthropic initiatives, sustainable business practices, and volunteerism efforts, as well as their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of their business.
These finalists demonstrate the importance of tourism businesses being actively involved in the local community, not just as economic drivers but as contributors to community development and social well-being. Through their initiatives, these businesses have not only contributed to the local community but also showcased the value of responsible tourism practices that prioritize community development and engagement. Furthermore, their initiatives have the potential to be replicated and scaled up in other destinations, contributing to the development of more responsible and community-oriented tourism practices globally.
Cultural Experience Tourism Award
The Cultural Experience Tourism Award recognizes tourism businesses that have made significant contributions to the preservation, promotion, and sharing of local culture and heritage through tourism.
The finalists of this award are:
- Edmonton Radial Railway Society, for their dedication to preserving and promoting Edmonton’s railway heritage through their vintage streetcar tours, streetcar restoration efforts, and educational programs.
- Fort Edmonton Park, for its immersive living history exhibits that showcase Edmonton’s history from the fur trade era to the 1920s and its Indigenous Peoples Experience, as well as its educational programs and cultural events.
- Edmonton International Airport (YEG), for its public art installations and exhibits that showcase local artists and cultural heritage, as well as its efforts to promote Indigenous tourism through partnerships with local Indigenous businesses.
These finalists demonstrate the value of cultural tourism that prioritizes the preservation and promotion of local culture and heritage, while also contributing to the development of sustainable tourism practices. Through their initiatives, these businesses have not only provided visitors with a unique and authentic cultural experience but also contributed to the preservation and promotion of local culture and heritage. Additionally, their initiatives have the potential to contribute to the development of sustainable and responsible tourism practices by showcasing the importance of cultural preservation and promoting community engagement and empowerment.
The Edmonton Tourism Awards finalists of the Sustainable Tourism Award, Outstanding Contributor to the Community Tourism Award, and Cultural Experience Tourism Award are prime examples of how tourism can be both socially responsible and economically viable. Through their initiatives, these businesses have demonstrated the importance of sustainability, community engagement, and cultural preservation in the tourism industry. As travellers, it is important to prioritize responsible tourism practices and support businesses and destinations that prioritize sustainability and community development. By doing so, we can all contribute to the development of a more sustainable and responsible tourism industry.
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