Yours Outdoors is very honoured to take home the Sustainable Tourism Award presented at the 2017 Ontario Tourism Awards of Excellence in Niagara Falls. Thanks to Abbey Gardens for nominating us . Here is a portion of the information that was submitted with the nomination:
Yours Outdoors also strives to “live” the principles and practices of sustainable and green tourism. In particular, Yours Outdoors is committed to:
Supporting local economies, businesses and communities to ensure economic vitality and sustainability by purchasing local goods and services
Providing work for local people and businesses;
Helping to make tourism development a positive experience for all stakeholders;
Maintaining small-group sizes to limit negative social and environmental impacts;
Offering low impact non-motorized recreational activities;
Reducing impacts by providing vans or carpooling to transport customers to activity locations;
Avoiding use of disposables and recycling whenever possible ;
Being aware of and avoiding environmentally sensitive areas;
Contributing time and financial contributions to local environmental initiatives; and
Respecting and appreciating cultural diversity.
Over the years Yours Outdoors and Barrie Martin has undertaken a large number of projects that contribute to ecological sustainability. In 2016 Yours Outdoors accomplished the following:
Planned and delivered unique learning experiences to over 300 travellers. These experiences provided opportunities for travellers to learn about and engage with the local community – scenic spaces, friendly folks, remarkable heritage, and the amazing art of Haliburton Highlands. Many of the experiences helped make connections with the natural world. It is hoped this greater awareness and understanding of ecosystems, biodiversity, and green living will help people develop a set of values and beliefs and commit to living more sustainably on this earth.
Worked with numerous partners (individuals, businesses, and organizations) to package and promote learning experiences and employ a community of local guides, artists, environmental/cultural/outdoor professionals, personalities, accommodators, restaurateurs, and other service providers committed to delivering high quality memorable experiences, and excellent customer service.
Increased the number of experiences being offered to travellers (and seasonal and permanent residents) by creating new adventures and by brokering and selling experience offered by other tourism businesses.
Initiated a successful Telling Our Stories speaker series featuring local and guest speakers sharing their stories of adventure in nature and other endeavours. Each month a portion of the proceeds go to a local conservation organization. To date , approximately $1500 has been donated to half a dozen organizations .
Continued as project coordinator to enhance and grow the 14th Annual Hike Haliburton Festival (www.hikehaliburton.com), Canada’s largest hiking festival, with new features including more themed hikes and events. In 2016 Festival offered over 80 guided hikes and 14 events and attracted people of ages and abilities to explore and discover the natural and cultural heritage of the Highlands .
Planned and coordinated the first annual Hardwater Festival - a Celebration of Ice . The objectives of this event are to foster protection and wise use of our lakes; promote fun and safe use of lakes; and to include and promote other community events Provided leadership in the development of culinary tourism in the Haliburton Highlands by including local food in the meals served as part of various YO adventures; offering wild edible experiences; developing the Sip Swill and Savour tour to showcase two local breweries and winery; the participating in the First Impressions Community Exchange’s first local food exchange with Prince Edward County; and serving on steering committee/task force for the County’s Culinary Tourism Strategy.
“At the table” for several organizations to facilitate collaboration and sustainable tourism development and encourage a positive approach. These organizations include Haliburton Highlands Tourism Stakeholders Committee (co-chair), Adventure Haliburton (founding member and co-chair), Ontario’s Highlands Tourism Organization (local advisor/facilitator and travel trade partner), Haliburton County Folk Society (President ), Haliburton County Community Cooperative (Vice President), Steering committee for SPARC - Supporting Performing Arts in Rural Communities (member) . YO also initiated a series of industry fam tours where local operators visit other local tourism businesses, attractions, and experience providers. These tours foster greater awareness of what area has to offer, cross promotion and collaboration
Awarded TIAO’s Tourism Champion of the Year in November of 2016
And that is our story!