Laughs and appreciation were given during the 10th annual Tribute to Tourism Awards Gala at the Royal Oak Inn and Suites on Wednesday night.
The Brandon Jazz Festival won for marketing excellence at the Tourism Westman event.
"I was surprised actually," said festival director Brent Campbell. "We’re really honoured to receive the award — it brings recognition to the festival."
Seven awards were presented; the others were for service, partnership, product development, aspiring youth, volunteer of the year and event of the year.
The awards are a way to say thank you for a business, group or individual’s impact on building tourism in Manitoba.
"When visitors come to the Prairies, they are offered the Prairie experience — great fresh food, friendly people ... culture and recreation. Bed and breakfasts ... allow guests to feel that they are not just visiting, but actually a part of the community," said Pat Graham, whose bed and breakfast, Tilson Place in Minnedosa, won for service excellence.
More than 150 people attended the gala, which was emceed by CJRB radio’s Barry Lamb. Comedian Big Daddy Tazz from Winnipeg provided entertainment.
Campbell said there is a great tourism industry in Manitoba, but sometimes it takes an outsider to appreciate it.
Campbell and a school group recently visited Nova Scotia for a week, and then a group from the Maritime province visited Manitoba the following week.
"We loved it there and thought it was beautiful, and then we thought, ‘What are we going to show them, they’ll be bored,’ but they loved it here, they thought it was beautiful," he said.
A total of 20 groups, individuals and businesses were nominated for tourism awards, including the Brandon Global Market Committee and the Brandon Folk, Music and Art Festival.