Brrrr!!!! Yes it’s cold in BC this week but imagine what it was like for me to step off a plane in Kamloops on Wednesday to high winds and a temperature of minus 12 degrees after vacationing in Mexico where I wore nothing but t-shirts, shorts and flip-flops for the better part of a week.
I recognize that no one is feeling sorry for me but I did take one for the team where within 15 hours of returning home from the beach I was on stage at the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA) Summit at Thompson Rivers University talking about BC’s Tourism Emergency Management Framework to business operators, DMOs and other TOTA stakeholders.
Although it had little to do with the outside temperature, all of the TOTA staff at the Summit were wearing sweatshirts with the number ‘7’ emblazoned on the front reminding delegates of the Thompson Okanagan Regional Pledge that is built around values inspired by Indigenous philosophy, sustainable and mindful practices, preserving the lands for others to continue to enjoy, and recognizing that what we do today will impact generations to come.
The 7 Affirmations Pledge was inspired by former TOTA board member Frank Antoine a few years ago out of a need to develop guidelines for sustainable tourism and conscious travel based on the seven generations principle that suggests the decisions we make today will have an impact for as many as seven generations to come.
The pledge includes the following tenets:
Discover the soul of a place in its history
As of this moment, you are deemed a guardian of the land, air and water
Whether you’ve journeyed near or far, we invite you to feel at home in this place and value it as we do
Follow the map of your heart but venture wisely
Let a life outside bring you happiness inside by learning the laws of wilderness living
Choose to buy locally and you’ll transform riches into enrichment
Anything worth knowing is worth sharing
The pledge serves as a guide for companies, locals and visitors to incorporate the philosophy of sustainable tourism into their operations, day-to-day lives, and travel. I think it’s brilliant but don’t take my word for it…look it up on TOTA’s website for yourself.
I mentioned my friend Frank Antoine earlier. He’s not only Chief of the Bonaparte First Nation, but also co-founder of Moccasin Trails, and on the boards of both Indigenous Tourism BC and the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada. Frank also happens to be our opening keynote presenter at next week’s BC Tourism & Hospitality Conference in Prince George and is undoubtedly going to reference the 7 generations concept.
I’m sure that within a few days I’ll be acclimatized to the colder weather in our province…thankfully just in time to enjoy and appreciate the great hospitality that all conference delegates will enjoy courtesy of our friends in Northern BC. While I’ll be sure to pack my long johns and toque, I hope to see all TOTA delegates wearing their ‘7’ gear to stay warm and remind us of why the 7 Affirmations Pledge is so important.