TOTA and Community Futures partner together to support local business

Glenn Mandziuk, President and CEO of TOTA (TOTA photo)

The Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA) and nine Community Futures Offices across the Region have for the first time signed a formal agreement to strike a task force committing to develop an active and meaningful relationship on the path to rebuilding a resilient tourism industry in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The negative impact of the pandemic on the Tourism Industry has been unprecedented, “ cited Glenn Mandziuk, President and CEO of TOTA. “Building the industry back requires strong and collaborative partnerships that can provide foundational support and out of the box thinking.”

TOTA and Community Futures announced July 7, 2020, that their efforts and strategies will be focused on tourism growth, development, sustainability, and long-term resiliency. Ongoing exchange and discussion will facilitate further advancement of best practices relating to the development of sustainable communities and destinations. Specific joint strategies will target identification and support of business funding opportunities as well as advancing knowledge on the visitor experience, training, employment, and innovation.

“We are pleased to be working in collaboration with other Regional Community Future’s offices and the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association, to help move the Tourism Resiliency Program forward and assist our tourism industry in overcoming the challenges presented by the current COVID-19 crisis,” commented George Caismar Executive Director for the Central Interior First Nations Community Futures Office.

“The partnership between TOTA and Community Futures is very timely. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a dramatic and devastating effect on Tourism Businesses in the Thompson Okanagan. Helping industry recover and become more resilient for the long term is imperative, noted Rob Marshall, Executive Director for Community Futures Shuswap and Community Futures Provincial Board Member. “Our two organizations have come together to implement projects, access needed resources and share best practices to revitalize, support, and grow our tourism sector, during the pandemic and beyond. In short order, valuable synergies have been developed and will certainly result in successful outcomes.”

“This new agreement is a positive sign for people working in the tourism sector who have been adversely affected by the pandemic,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. “It will take everyone continuing to work together to build our economy back up and this partnership is an excellent example of the teamwork needed to help tourism rebound in B.C.”

The Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association is a non-profit society, governed by an elected Board of Directors, which represents business and community tourism interests throughout the region, and is supported by the British Columbia Ministry of Tourism, Arts, & Culture. It is an industry-led organization that represents and supports all business and community tourism interests in the region, while also helping to implement provincial tourism policies. For more information, visit totabc.org.

Community Futures is a non-profit organization supporting small businesses through a range of services and tools. With experts offering local assistance from 34 offices throughout rural B.C., they are committed to helping business owners achieve their goals and withstand challenges.

Community Futures Thompson Country serves the communities of Avola, Barriere, Blue River, Chase, Clearwater, Kamloops, Little Fort, McLure, Pritchard, Sun Peaks, Vavenby, and Westwold. They can be found at: www.Communityfutures.net

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