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New Project for British Columbia to Measure Community Happiness

New Project for British Columbia to Measure Community Happiness - TRAVELINDEXKelowna, BC (October 8, 2020) – The Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA), Planet Happiness  and Thompson Rivers University (TRU) have partnered to measure the happiness and well-being of residents and communities within the Thompson Okanagan region.

As part of a long-term partnership focused on strengthening the well-being of TOTA’s communities, the Happiness Index survey will be deployed to engage local residents and demonstrate that measuring happiness is as important as tracking profits and visitor arrivals. It also supports responsible destination management.

“The long-term viability of destinations depends on tourism improving the quality of life of local communities. Over time, the Happiness Index will help measure how well this is being done by engaging with residents directly,” said Glenn Mandziuk, President and CEO of TOTA.  “These findings will assist TOTA in assessing how the region is meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals, as well as inform our ongoing efforts toward tourism recovery and resiliency,” he said.

Planet Happiness works with tourism organizations and universities, such as TOTA and TRU, to deploy the Happiness Index and focus the attention of all stakeholders on using tourism to improve the quality of life in destinations.  “We support destinations to move beyond the narrow tourism dollar and GDP agenda,” said Dr Paul Rogers, co-founder and director of Planet Happiness. “TOTA is promoting sustainable and quality tourism objectives in the region. We are delighted to join with both TRU and TOTA on the journey to happiness and well-being.”

The Happiness Index is well established as part of a global initiative to measure well-being in tourism destinations linked to UNESCO World Heritage Sites, with partners in 15 tourism destinations across ten countries. Indicators include satisfaction with life, access to nature and arts, community engagement, standard of living, life-long learning, and health. The Thompson Okanagan region includes Mount Robson Provincial Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring the highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies. Through this partnership, Planet Happiness will bring the Happiness Index to this region of Canada for the first time.

“Planet Happiness will support TRU and TOTA by deploying what is perhaps the best, most progressive, adaptable, and easy to use Happiness Index survey on the planet,” said Laura Musikanski, author, lawyer, and co-founder of Planet Happiness, a project of the Happiness Alliance.

TRU tourism faculty member Dr. John Hull will assist with the project in the Thompson Okanagan region. “Sustainability is a core value at TRU, where the university has been recognized as Canada’s first platinum-ranked sustainable university and where the new vision for the university places priorities on community partnerships, lifelong learning, and research,” said Doug Booth, Dean of the Faculty of Adventure, Culinary Arts, and Tourism at TRU.

About the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA)
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.

About Planet Happiness
Planet Happiness is a non-profit grass-roots big data project of the Happiness Alliance to introduce happiness and well-being science, policy and practice to local communities, governments at all levels and businesses. Its target audiences and collaborators are individuals, local communities, businesses and governments connected to the travel and tourism industry. Dr Paul Rogers is the co-founder and director of Planet Happiness. He has over 20 years’ experience as a tourism advisor to national and local governments and has worked in more than a dozen countries in Asia, Africa and Australia.

About Thompson Rivers University (TRU)
Since 1970, TRU has taken pride in providing an excellent education to students from a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives, serving more than 25,000 students on campuses in Kamloops and Williams Lake, and via distance or online courses and programs through Open Learning. From traditional academics to trades, from certificates to graduate degrees, TRU offers over 140 on-campus programs and 50-plus Open Learning programs. Research, creation and innovation thrive in TRU’s open, flexible learning environment.

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