The 2024 Big Applause Awards

Nominations are now open for the Future of Tourism Awards – recognizing exceptional tourism and hospitality students from regional secondary schools.

To nominate a student, please read the Nomination Guidelines (see below) and then click here to submit a name(s).


  1. The 3rd Annual Big Applause Awards will honour nominees who currently work in this specific regional tourism industry. Students from each high school in the catchment area enrolled in a tourism & hospitality program who demonstrate a keen interest in the sector and positively contribute to the class environment can also be nominated.
  2. The current annual awards will be relative to a period of employment from June 2023 to September 2024.
  3. The region consists of six sub-regions, including: Algonquin Park, the Almaguin Highlands, Loring-Restoule, Muskoka, West Parry Sound District and South Algonquin.
  4. All award categories pertain to employment in this region only, and only at an establishment that considers tourism a main revenue source for operations. The student award category pertains to high schools in the region only as well and those institutions that have tourism and hospitality courses or components in their curriculum.
  5. A Nominee may be entered in more than one category.
  6. Nominators may enter only ONE nominee in each category (with the exception of the Future of Tourism Awards).
  7. Only one Nominee per category will be judged winner of the category award.
  8. Nominations must be filled out in full using the dedicated online link in order to be considered for judging by the Nominations Review Committee.
  9. Nominations must be submitted on or before September 8, 2024 by Noon (12pm) to be considered.
  10. Nominations will be screened for adherence to the guidelines by the Explorers’ Edge Administration Manager, and then successfully completed nominations will be submitted to the Nominations Review Committee, whose members will use a ranking system to select the winner in each category.
  11. The Nominations Review Committee consists of: One (1) RTO12/Explorers’ Edge Board Member; the RTO12/Explorers’ Edge Chief Executive Officer; One (1) Independent HR Consultant; and One (1) representative from the tourism business community.
  12. Winners will be announced at RTO12’s Rural Tourism Summit that will take place in the Fall of 2024 (date and location to be confirmed). Students will receive their awards before the Summer 2024 break.
  13. Category winners will be informed of their award prior to the ceremony, and details of the awards luncheon will be relayed.

If you have any questions about the Big Applause Awards and would like to recognized employee excellence, please email [email protected].