The 2020 British Columbia Visitor Centre Network Conference took place March 2 and 3 in Richmond, BC. With more than 110 people in attendance from over 70 communities in BC, the two-day conference provides network updates from Destination British Columbia along with the sharing of best practices of the provinces more than 130 visitor centres.
During an accessibility session, delivered by Spinal Cord Injury BC and Access BC, Tourism Kelowna's Chris Lewis gave a presentation about accessibility and universal design practices being used in the Kelowna Visitor Centre. Although the centre was built in 2018 using the BC building codes, there were several steps that needed to be taken following opening to become more accessible for those with mobility, hearing, vision, and cognitive needs. Other sessions during the conference included the topics of community engagement, ambassador programs, optimizing Google My Business and TripAdvisor listings, bridging marketing and visitor services, and new network training programs.
The Visitor Experience team also took the opportunity leading up to this conference to visit 11 visitor centres along the Hwy 97, Hwy 3, and Hwy 1 route between Kelowna and Richmond. The team networked with industry colleagues at these locations to determine possible ways to improve the services offered within the Kelowna Visitor Centre. Almost 2,000 copies of the 2020 Official Kelowna Visitors' Guide were also delivered along the route.
Finally, the team was able to meet with staff of Oceanwise, who own and operate the Vancouver Aquarium and Gift Shop. This opportunity was used to learn from their best practices in sustainability as it relates to guest education as well as purchasing and selling items in the Aquarium's gift shop. Keep an eye out for new sustainable items and educational displays that the team will be bringing online in the Kelowna Visitor Centre this spring and summer.
For more information about the Network Conference or the Visitor Experience department, please contact Chris Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org.