The Kaatza Station Museum in Lake Cowichan won the “Resilient Business of the Year” award at the 2022 Vancouver Island Tourism Conference Industry Awards ceremony that was held on April 13 in Victoria.
This award celebrates the industry members who participated in the Vancouver Island Coastal Tourism Resiliency Program and demonstrated a keen ability to innovate, adapt and build during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Kaatza Station Museum has been faithfully engaged in the Vancouver Island Coastal Tourism Resiliency Program since its inception in April 2020,” said a press release from Tourism Vancouver Island which hosted the awards ceremony.
“They have leveraged program offerings to complete a website redesign, e-commerce set up, TripAdvisor optimization and more, including taking on an exciting new partnership to support reconciliation: a meeting place featuring Indigenous art, history and information displays in Lake Cowichan.”
Sue Lindstrom, a member of the board at the Kaatza Historical Society who led the museum’s engagement in the resiliency program, said she was very surprised and honoured that the museum won the award.
“We don’t get many awards, so this one will be prominently displayed in the museum,” she said.
“We’re all still in a daze. We never expected to win an award.”
Lindstrom said she’s thankful to Tourism Vancouver Island for involving the museum in the program as it helped it survive through the two years of the COVID-19 pandemic by assisting staff to set up webpages and give the museum an online presence, as well as other projects.
“They were really nice people who sent information to help us constantly during the pandemic,” she said.
“We really appreciated that and now we have won this award that we really never expected to win. It’s all pretty incredible.”
The Malahat SkyWalk won the “People’s Choice” award at the ceremony on April 13.
A statement from TVI said the award was conceived as a way to give kudos through the conference attendees.
“It’s all about sharing the love for an incredible experience on Vancouver Island,” TVI said.
“We asked participants to share what made it special and what it meant to them.”
The Malahat SkyWalk was also recognized in March with a 2022 BC Tourism & Hospitality Award in the category of Innovation.
TVI said the Malahat SkyWalk is thoughtful, well designed and accessible.
“The partnership with Malahat Nation, the mindful travel aspects and forest, history, and education… and that’s before visitors even reach the incredible spiral tower,” TVI said.
“The experience of climbing the tower is a slow build of breathtaking excitement, and the panoramic views at the top are unmatched. The slide down is a fun and fast way to get your adrenaline up on the way down.”
Anthony Everett, president and CEO of TVI, said the tourism and hospitality businesses and employees in the Vancouver Island region have shown incredible resilience through the pandemic.
“They are all deserving of an award and I wish we could recognize each and every one by name,” he said.
“The Vancouver Island Tourism Conference was an opportunity to come together as an industry in person and celebrate this resilience, dedication and innovation.”