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2021 Ontario Tourism Resiliency Awards



Resiliency is in our Tourism Industry's DNA


2020 was a year like no other, requiring determination and perseverance. 

In a year fraught with innumerable operating obstacles, exceptional tourism businesses rose to the challenge

and continued to innovate and engage with partners and their communities, even when unable to open for regular business.

A year that was so very different for the tourism industry calls for an award reflective of the times:

An award that fairly recognizes the achievements of tourism businesses regardless of operating status.


The Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO)

in partnership with Attractions Ontario, The Culinary Tourism Alliance,  Indigenous Tourism Ontario and OTEC

is proud to present the 



These special awards are unique to this year and have been designed to reflect resiliency through innovation, collaboration and partnership.  

Our partners have joined together this year in collaboration to present this year's awards.  The trophy will reflect this collaboration or partnership while embracing our unique role within our industry.  Partners working together, like that of the ribbons of a DNA helix.


Attractions Ontario

The Culinary Tourism Alliance

Indigenous Tourism Ontario

and OTEC


Because Resiliency is in our Tourism Industry's DNA



Awards will be presented by business category in each of the following three areas:



Consider outstanding examples of innovation, collaboration and sustainability that tourism businesses undertook in 2020 in order to survive or even thrive.

Share these stories in the form of award nominations, and recognize and celebrate the resiliency of the Ontario Tourism industry.


Application Details:

You can nominate another business or apply on behalf of your own business.

You can nominate or apply for an award in each of the three areas:  Innovation, Collaboration &/or Sustainability.  (A separate application must be made for each area)  All nominees will be featured on TIAO’s website as a legacy to the resiliency of our industry.  

All finalists will be featured in a Globe & Mail full promotional page. 


Key Dates:

  • Nominations for Tourism Champion of the Year and Lifetime Achievement Award Close - August 20 (See Ontario Tourism Awards of Excellence below.)
  • Nominations for Resiliency Awards Close - August 31
  • Finalists Announced - October 9 
  • Winners Announced in person at the GALA Awards - October 27 


Innovation Award Criteria

  • For activities between January 1-December 31, 2020
  • For a product, venture or campaign that directly benefited the Ontario tourism sector and/or your direct community
  • Had a positive impact on quality of life in Ontario during the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Provide examples of how this innovation positively impacted others in your community outside of your organization.

Collaboration Award Criteria

  • For activities between January 1-December 31, 2020
  • For one initiative whether products, ventures or campaigns that brought together two or more businesses/organizations to better Ontario's tourism sector          during the effects of COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Entries should clearly showcase the roles and responsibilities of all partners.
  • Not about "sponsorship".

Sustainability Award Criteria

  • For activities between January 1-December 31, 2020
  • Recognizing businesses within the tourism industry who have demonstrated sustainable practices/initiatives along with support for their local                               communities, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Should have a holistic approach to sustainability (not just environmental) - human, economic, etc. .
  • Focus on local Ontario products and service providers

Application Process:

Step One: Prepare your nomination document detailing how your nominee meets the award criteria. Include any supplementary files (such as photos).

Step Two: Select the award you are applying for and click on the Award Application link below.

Step Three: Complete the Nomination Form, being sure to select your business category (ies).  

Within each of the three award areas, applicants may select from the  17 categories listed below.

You can select more than one category, where applicable. (For example, a business may select Marine, Indigenous Tourism and Resource-based Tourism as applicable to your nominee's business.)

The business categories are:

  1. Accommodation (i.e. hotel, motel, inn, boutique – roofed accommodation)
  2. Attractions (i.e. amusement, water park, museums, tours) 
  3. Beverages (i.e. Wineries, Craft Breweries, Craft Cideries, Distilleries) 
  4. Convention, Conference, Event Planner  
  5. Cycling (i.e. tours, independent led, group led, events) 
  6. DMO - Destination Marketing Organization
  7. Festivals & Events (i.e. live events, annual, or one-off)   
  8. Food Services (i.e. restaurants, culinary experiences) 
  9. Francophone Tourism Operator
  10. Independent Business (i.e. travel agency, tour operator, consultant)
  11. Indigenous Tourism Operator  
  12. Marine (i.e. boating, cruising, rentals & accommodation)  
  13. Outdoor (i.e. campgrounds, trails, parks) 
  14.  Resource-based Tourism Operator
  15.  RTO - Regional Tourism Organization
  16. Transportation (i.e. air, rail, nautical, motor coach) 
  17. Winter (i.e. snow, ski, skate winter-based activity) 

Step Four: Complete the form and press submit.


Innovation Award Application Collaboration Award Application Sustainability Award Application



Ontario Tourism Awards of Excellence

Some awards are still classics, and we want to honour this.

TIAO will also be presenting a Tourism Champion of the Year Award and a Lifetime Achievement Award.

To learn more about award criteria and to submit an application, please click on the links below.


Tourism Champion of the Year Award

This award is given to an individual who embodies the spirit of tourism in Ontario. This person should be directly involved with the industry (as an employee, business owner, volunteer, advocate, etc.) and be able to give evidence of their contributions.


Tourism Champion of the Year Criteria & Award Application


Lifetime Achievement Award

This award is presented to an individual that has made significant contributions to the development and promotion of Ontario’s tourism industry, and established a visible, long-term record of accomplishment that merits special attention.


Lifetime Achievement Award Criteria & Application


Join us in recognizing our tourism industry partners exhibiting excellence through collaboration, innovation and sustainable practices. 

Because Resiliency is in our Tourism Industry's DNA



Next year, we will return to the Ontario Tourism Awards of Excellence, with the awards categories and trophies as established in years past. 

You can view these awards categories, and last year's winners, by clicking the link below. 


See Last Year's Award Winners