We are hopeful that next week, BC’s provincial health officer will endorse travel for BC residents within our province. We know this will not immediately fill hotels, restaurants, and businesses, but is the start of our gradual return to travel. There is a lot of ground to make up; however, our ability to re-start travel this summer—even slowly—may give some businesses a fighting chance to rebound and recover revenue lost over the spring. Last week, we asked residents if they were ready and comfortable welcoming back visitors; watch our Industry News Centre for results from that survey soon.
We also know that a re-start or re-opening does not mean a return to profitability, and ongoing assistance for our industry is needed to ensure its viability. We continue to support the important work that the Tourism Industry Association of Canada and Tourism Industry Association of British Columbia are doing to highlight to government the widespread impact COVID-19 has had on our industry and business owners and to strengthen and adjust relief measures available.
As summer quickly approaches, many are asking what the forecast is for the months ahead. With so many variables still in play, there is not an accurate forecast. Border closures, consumer confidence, a possible resurgence of the virus, or the possibility of a weather-related event are all still major considerations. Even with marketing efforts re-activated, we anticipate a gradual and slow return to travel and expect a decrease in visitation and economic impact, even through our best performing travel months. While visits from BC residents will help, and we are well-positioned to welcome them, we know this will not replace visitors from all our travel markets. We also know many Kelowna residents may also stay closer to home this summer, which is why we will continue to promote ways to #exploreKelownalocal. You can help by messaging to visitors that you are ready to welcome them back and by continuing to deliver a safe and enjoyable visitor experience while they are here.
This week, we were pleased to learn that we have received funds from Destination Canada and Destination British Columbia to be allocated specifically for recovery destination marketing. This amount will not fully cover the campaign we are hoping to introduce but will be very helpful in helping us get started on the long road to recovery. We appreciate the funding, and the opportunity to partner with our hardworking provincial and national destination marketing organizations to promote domestic travel. Our recovery marketing plan is ready to roll-out in stages as we are able, and we continue to seek additional funding sources to fund it entirely or expand it.
For our voting stakeholders, I’m looking forward to sharing more details with you about the very successful year our tourism industry had in 2019 and more details about our response to the challenges facing us in 2020 and beyond next week at our AGM.
We will continue work to help preserve our industry and as soon as BC moves into Phase 3 of its Restart Plan and travel returns, we will initiate a series of marketing pushes to help our industry recover. The frequency of these weekly stakeholder updates will decrease as our collective efforts to welcome back visitors increase. We know you’re ready to get back to what you do best, and we are ready to do our part to help draw visitors to come and #exploreKelowna again.
Stay safe. Be well.
President & CEO
As you re-open or adjust your business operations, please update your listing on Tourism Kelowna’s website. If you have questions, or updates about your business, 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.