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Hospitality instructor honoured at provincial tourism awards

October 15, 2014

IMG_1605A recent addition to the College’s Hospitality and Tourism Management program has been honoured by Travel Manitoba for her contributions to the provincial tourism industry.

Laura Wiebe, RRC Hospitality instructor and former head of marketing for The Fort Garry Hotel, received the Aspiring Youth award at the 16th Manitoba Tourism Awards, co-presented by the province and Travel Manitoba.

Held Sept. 26 as part of the latter’s annual tourism conference in Winnipeg, the awards recognize outstanding contributions to the industry. The Aspiring Youth honour goes to an individual under the age of 29 who’s made a significant impact.

“Manitoba’s success as a tourism destination is linked directly to the achievements of [these] business and individuals,” Travel Manitoba President Colin Ferguson said of this year’s honourees.“What all of the nominees, finalists and winners have in common is the ability to offer exceptional service and engaging and distinctive experiences that are the core of our province’s tourism industry.”

Wiebe, who joined the RRC team in June, spent 12 years at The Fort Garry Hotel, starting when she was 15 — as a table-busser during the famed Sunday brunches — and working her way up to the position of sales/catering administrator, and later, director of marketing.

While there, she designed and implemented the hotel’s frequent guest program, organized a year-long trivia hunt to help celebrate its 100th anniversary, and marketed the launch of downtown spinoff Yoga Public, which opened to great fanfare in 2012.

Along the way, Wiebe (shown above at far left, with students from RRC’s Hospitality program) also managed to squeeze in a year abroad at Mexico’s Universidad Latina de America, and to complete her master’s in Tourism Policy and Planning at the University of Waterloo.

While a grad student, she received a number of prestigious scholarships, including the university’s Peter F. Bronfman Graduate Scholarship and the province’s Ontario Graduate Scholarship.

She also presented at the 2012 Travel and Tourism Research Association Annual Conference, where her thesis work — conducted in Cuba, on the impacts of tourists’ gift-giving on developing nations — earned her a Graduate Researcher Award sponsored by the Destination Marketing Association of Canada.