It’s a sweep for the Southwest with nominations in six out of 12 categories for the Tourism Saskatchewan Awards.
Cypress Hills Destination Area Inc. (CHDA) is nominated in three categories; Fred Heal Tourism Ambassador Award, Tourism Employee of the Year Award and the Gil Carduner Marketing Award.
This marks the third year the CHDA is nominated for the marketing and ambassador awards.
Gail Kesslar, executive director with the CHDA, says it is an honour to be recognized for the third year in a row.
“We won the ambassador award in 2015 and we were nominated for the marketing award in 2014 and ’15 but never won. Maybe this year is our year,” she said.
This year Kesslar was specifically pointed out in the ambassador award, something that hasn’t been done in past years.
“I really think of it more as an organization award than an individual one,” Kesslar explained.
While Kesslar is honoured by the awards for the organization she is most excited for Kristine Scheller, finance manager for the CHDA, who is a finalist for the Tourism Employee of the Year Award.
Scheller goes above and beyond her job description, according to Kesslar, who said she really deserves to win the award.
“If you looked at what her job description actually entails you would see that she does so much more,” Kesslar said. “She does things you would never expect someone in her position to do.”
Of course the Cypress Hills Destination Area isn’t the only organization or business to be recognized from the Southwest.
Businesses from the Southwest have swept the Rookie of the Year category with all three finalists being from the area.
Cafe Terra from Eastend, Grotto Gardens Country Market and Cowtown Kids Toy and Candy have all been listed as finalists in the category.
“It’s a clean sweep!” said Kesslar.
Nominated for Business of the Year is The Resort at Cypress Hills and Harvest Eatery and Fresh Market – over 20 employees and under 20 employees, respectively.
The Resort works hard to create an atmosphere where people want to work and come to. Not only do they create a unique atmosphere but they work hard to make the stay of every guest unique and different.
“They don’t sit back and ride on their laurels. They are innovative,” said Kesslar.
She believes that is why both Southwest businesses were honoured with the finalist nomination of Business of the Year, because they aren’t afraid to try new ideas.
Kesslar says her job to promote the Southwest is easy, and the awards are a testament to what is new and interesting in the Southwest.
“My job is really easy because there are so many great businesses here that are doing great things,” Kesslar said.