Yesterday, regional restrictions in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley were extended to the rest of the province, and public health leaders are once again asking residents to stay local as much as possible. While there are no travel bans or orders in place, strong recommendations against non-essential travel have been issued.
You can read the new Provincial Health Officer order on the Government of British Columbia’s website. The order is in place until midnight on December 7, 2020, but as we have seen in the past, this may possibly be adjusted or extended.
We will continue to update our website with COVID-19 information, resources, and links to further information to help. We also continue to support the work of the Tourism Industry Association of British Columbia and numerous sector organizations as the industry demonstrates the impact of these continued and significant challenges.
While we all continue to do our part to protect public health, we also recognize this will have immediate, direct, and significant impacts on local tourism businesses and travellers.
What we are doing
In line with recommendations from the Provincial Health Officer to restrict non-essential travel as much as possible, Tourism Kelowna is temporarily pausing paid advertising and promotions outside our region. We will reactivate our winter marketing tactics as soon as we are able.
We will continue to provide information and assistance to travellers who are seeking guidance regarding future travel and will help local businesses persevere through this challenging time by promoting ideas and activities to safely #exploreKelownalocal.
The Kelowna Visitor Centre remains open to the public with enhanced health and safety measures in place. We also serve visitor and resident inquiries through phone, email, social media, and live chat channels. Tourism Kelowna's business development team continues to pursue meeting and event planners to develop future business for the time when meetings, conferences, and major events can return.
What you can do
We recognize that travel and tourism is not the cause of transmissions – unsafe behavior by individuals is. Public health leaders have emphasized that when health and safety guidelines are followed, the risk of transmission is low. Your extraordinary efforts to keep customers and employees safe have already demonstrated that visits to accommodations, attractions, and businesses with COVID-19 measures in place can be enjoyed safely and responsibly. We need that to continue to help the industry and local economy recover.
Stay connected: Continue to share important information and updates with our team. If you have any questions, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (250) 861-1515 ext. 202, or to another member of the Tourism Kelowna team.
Show safety: Provincial health leaders have asked all businesses across the province to review and update their COVID-19 measures. Continue to promote and showcase the many health and safety procedures your business already has in place, or that you're adding, to keep your employees and visitors safe.
Plan ahead: The challenges presented by COVID-19 directly impact the bottom line of a business. There are relief programs and resources out there to assist, like the Tourism Resiliency Program; however, each local business may need to review their operations and make decisions to get through the coming months.
Focus on the future
We appreciate the important work being done to keep our communities and province safe by health leaders and by local businesses. We had all hoped to be in a much better place by now, but COVID-19 will continue to impact our local economy well into 2021 and beyond for some sectors.
Kelowna is perfectly positioned once recovery begins. Our region has an established and trusted tourism brand and the Western Canadian traveller is already entrenched as our core market – the valuable domestic travel market that will lead the recovery of the visitor economy.
We know there is an end in sight and promising vaccine information on the horizon. Until then, continue to seek out the resources you need for your own personal health as well as business viability. The Tourism Kelowna team stands ready to help you connect with resources and information you might need.
Persevere. Stay safe. Be well.
President & CEO