By Angelica Ingram
Published Nov. 29 2016
Barrie Martin is a champion. The tourism advocate for Haliburton County walked up to the stage on the evening of Nov. 22 with the Queen anthem We are the Champions blaring over the loudspeaker as he accepted the Tourism Champion of the Year Award at the Ontario Tourism Awards of Excellence.
Held in Ottawa the ceremony celebrated some of the best achievements in the tourism sector and Martin was named one of three finalists for one of the top awards presented by the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario.
The event was hosted by the CBC’s Heather Hiscox and had approximately 400 people in attendance said Martin.
“It was a great honour it was a great evening. Lots of energy lots of emotion” said Martin.
The tourism advocate said he felt “tingly” when his name was announced as the winner.
“I didn’t really expect to win it” he said. “Compared to the other nominees I’m the little guy.”
A resident of Haliburton County for more than 40 years Martin was nominated by Rick Whitteker for his dedication to the area and involvement with many initiatives and events.
He is involved with the Ontario Highlands Tourism Organization the Haliburton County Folk Society Hike Haliburton and more. He also runs an experiential tourism business called Yours Outdoors.
Martin joked that the only way to follow up the win was to retire.
His wife Patricia was in attendance to offer support and was proud of her husband’s accomplishment.
On Nov. 24 OHTO issued a press release congratulating Martin on the honour recognizing him as a true leader who is making an impact on the tourism industry.
“We are all lucky to have such a committed and enthusiastic tourism partner” said Nicole Whiting executive director for OHTO in the release. “Congratulations from the entire team at OHTO.”
Martin hopes the award will mark a boost in awareness of what his local community has to offer the world he said in the release.
“This is a big win for Haliburton Highlands and Ontario’s Highlands because it draws attention to the vitality and significance of our tourism offering. This is one more award for our region with more to come.”