Oct. 18, 2012 – Victoria, BC – Ecotourism in British Columbia received national recognition this month, as the Victoria-based adventure sailing cruise company Maple Leaf Adventures was named one of three finalists for the Parks Canada Sustainable Tourism Award.

Maple Leaf’s nomination highlighted its mission to create economic and spiritual wealth from intact coastal rainforest ecosystems, wildlife, and coastal culture. Maple Leaf operates multi-day expeditions aboard a 92-foot schooner on the BC and Alaska coast – cruises in the Inside Passage and Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands).

“Tourism is often wrongly considered the poor cousin of resource extraction,” said Maple Leaf’s president, Kevin Smith. “This award and its nominees illustrate the bright future for eco-adventure tourism in Canada. We are grateful to have been included in the list of finalists.”

The award is part of the Canadian Tourism Awards, managed by the Tourism Industry Association of Canada and presented by the Toronto Star and Visa Canada. They were designed to recognize those people, places, organizations and events that have gone above and beyond to offer a superior tourism experience to travelers in Canada.

“The finalists for the Canadian Tourism Awards represent an inspiring group of people and organizations that consistently create extraordinary tourism experiences,” said David Goldstein, TIAC President & CEO.

“They are veritable Canadian business leaders that actively drive economic growth and create jobs each and every day through their hard work and dedication. The industry congratulates them on this outstanding achievement.”

Maple Leaf Adventures, which has been operating conservation travel since 1986, shares the remote, unroaded parts of our coast with guests from BC, as well as from across Canada and around the world. Expert naturalists and guides take just eight guests at a time on richly experienced, but unhurried, explorations of land and sea. Plenty of shore time – often in national and provincial protected areas – engaging interpretation, and authentic interactions with local people create a rich learning experience. Gourmet food and comfortable accommodations aboard the classic, restored schooner round out the award-winning trips.

Maple Leaf’s innovative shareholder agreement legally enshrines a triple bottom line (as opposed to only enshrining the need to increase shareholder value, without consideration of environmental or social costs unregulated by law). The company is proud to be acknowledged as an outspoken advocate for thoughtful conservation of Canada’s natural resources.

Maple Leaf donates at least 1% of sales (not profits, but sales) to coastal conservation, and also has operating policies that inject almost all revenues into British Columbia’s economy, much of it in remote coastal communities. Economic protocol agreements with First Nations on the coast recognize traditional territory and provide economic benefit from it.

About Maple Leaf Adventures

Maple Leaf Adventures has provided conservation travel experiences aboard a classic sailing ship since 1986. With a reputation as one of Canada’s top sustainable tour operators, its multi-day excursions give guests one-of-a-kind experiences in some of the most beautiful and rare places in the world, often in areas that were once under threat of destruction or in dire need of protection. As a long time practitioner of ecotourism, Maple Leaf Adventures pioneered travel in BC’s Great Bear Rainforest and northwestern Vancouver Island and has made significant contributions to conservation. National Geographic Adventure has rated Maple Leaf one of the “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth”. For more information, visit www.MapleLeafAdventures.com.

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Sample tweet: BC eco-cruise company @MapleLeafAdvent a finalist for Parks Canada sustainable tourism award. Info http://bit.ly/QwYwG7

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Media Contacts:

Maureen Gordon, Maple Leaf Adventures: 250 386-7245, 250-881-6143 (cell) or Maureen@MapleLeafAdventures.com

Deirdre Campbell, Tartan Group: 250-592-3838, 250-882-9199 (cell) or deirdre@tartangroup.ca