Prior to this year, Tourism Week has been used to raise awareness of the value of our industry, and give a boost of energy to those that work in it, as the pace quickens with increased visitors over the summer months. While this year is drastically different, it’s still important to draw attention to the numerous economic and social contributions of tourism, and send encouragement to those who are currently weathering the storm brought on by the most significant disruptor our industry has ever seen. While travel remains at a near stand-still, we continue to look close to home for now as we ready our community to slowly welcome visitors, and the spending they bring to local businesses, once again.
Push to Save Summer
In the coming days and weeks, and as restrictions and recommendations on non-essential travel are lifted or eased around the province, Tourism Kelowna will begin to re-activate our marketing efforts. This will be done slowly, region-by-region, and based on reviewing inputs and advice from provincial health leaders as well as local businesses and residents. As restrictions are lifted and recommendations on travel begin to change, it’s important to remember that every individual and every business may have different levels of comfort, different needs, and different perspectives. There is no single path or formula through this, and I want to reinforce our chief medical officer’s request to be patient and understanding.
Kelowna Visitor Centre
Starting Monday, June 1, the Kelowna Visitor Centre will begin its re-opening. Since mid-March, the team has been focused on helping residents and visitors planning trips entirely through digital channels. Now, those in the area will have the opportunity for walk-up servicing at the Kelowna Visitor Centre. The building will remain closed to the public; however, visitor experience team members will be on-site to answer questions and retrieve information from within the building and fulfill orders from our Love for Kelowna online store. For more information on our phased-in plan, and the additional public safety measures at our visitor centre, please read our recent industry news article.
Earlier this week, we were very pleased to receive news that Tourism Kelowna was one of 59 destination marketing organizations across BC to receive provincial relief funds specifically allocated to retain staff and cover fixed costs. This funding allows us to continue to operate and prepare for when it is safe to begin marketing our destination regionally, provincially, and nationally. In addition, we continue to seek additional funding sources to help fund our destination recovery programs.
It’s clear this year has been nothing like anyone expected. It’s also becoming clear that the composition of visitors we will welcome over the summer travel months will also be different than ever before. We continue to support our industry on this long road to recovery.
A final note – tomorrow is Show your Love for Kelowna Day – a grassroots initiative to celebrate who we are and where we live. Participating is as easy as shopping local, wearing your Kelowna or Okanagan apparel, sharing a photo of your favorite place or business in our city, or simply showing appreciation to someone who works in the tourism industry. I encourage you to participate and show others how you #exploreKelownalocal.
Stay safe. Be well.
President & CEO
If you have questions or updates about your businesses, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A list of important resources is available on Tourism Kelowna’s COVID-19 web page and you can sign up for our Industry News Centre bulletins.