Our Visitor Experience team's ability to provide service to travellers and residents—which occurs at our Kelowna Visitor Centre (KVC), at the airport kiosk in the Kelowna International Airport (YLW), as well as with our mobile team, who attends events, festivals, and conferences—would not be possible without the support of our dedicated volunteer base.

Volunteer Program - 2021 Recap

Unlike in 2020, both the KVC and the airport kiosk remained open for the entirety of 2021. For the first half of the year, the airport kiosk saw minimal traffic due to various pandemic- and weather-related travel challenges. Many of Tourism Kelowna's volunteers were less comfortable returning to their shifts with the ongoing concerns around COVID-19; approximately 30 out of 64 volunteers returned in 2021, which was up by eight as compared to 2020.

With gathering restrictions in place throughout 2021, we were not able to host many in-person events or gather for volunteer recognition events, meetings, or familiarization tours. Despite the challenges faced with lacking volunteer recognition opportunities, we deemed it more important than ever to ensure that our volunteer group felt supported. We recognized volunteers by:

  • Holding monthly volunteer meetings virtually.
  • Celebrating National Volunteer Week (NVW):
    • Gifted each volunteer a local coupon book, handwritten card, and Love for Kelowna bag.
    • Sent emails to all volunteers each day of NVW. 
  • Recognizing the holidays by holding a gift pick-up (Love for Kelowna blanket and card) evening at the KVC, so we could see each volunteer face to face and say hello to them. 
  • Surprising volunteers with coffee/refreshments/snacks while on their shifts.

Each year, Tourism Kelowna surveys our volunteers to gain their feedback about working with our organization. At the time our 2021 survey was conducted, Tourism Kelowna’s Visitor Experience team consisted of 64 volunteers between both the Kelowna Visitor Centre and the YLW Kiosk. In 2021, Tourism Kelowna’s volunteers contributed 3575.5 hours (2 Full-Time Equivalent positions). Of these hours, 1239.5 hours were from volunteers at the KVC and 2336 hours were from volunteers at the airport kiosk. This saves our organization more than $60,000 in labour costs per year.

2021 Survey Results

The survey had a response rate of 52%, with 18 volunteers (55%) from the YLW Kiosk and 15 volunteers (45%) from the KVC completing the survey.

Similar to last year and all years prior, respondents said overwhelmingly that their favourite part about volunteering with Tourism Kelowna was interacting with people and meeting people. Every single survey participant answered this question, and almost every single answer related to meeting people or interacting with people.

The top five desired forms of recognition are:

  • A visitor saying thank you.
  • A Tourism Kelowna staff/board member saying thank you.
  • A recognition event or reception.
  • A gift.
  • A personal card.

When rating overall satisfaction with Tourism Kelowna’s volunteer program on a scale of 0 to 100, the program scored 91%, which is down 1% from last year. When asked if they would recommend volunteering at Tourism Kelowna to a friend, 93% said yes, which is the same as last year.

In 2021, we asked three questions about the COVID-19 pandemic. From those questions, we found that all volunteers who have returned to either the KVC or YLW kiosk feel confident with the COVID-19 policies and procedures that Tourism Kelowna has in place. We also found that 100% of volunteers feel that they have been provided with adequate support to feel physically and emotionally safe during the pandemic.

For further information about Tourism Kelowna's volunteer program, or for a copy of our volunteer application, please contact me at sydney@tourismkelowna.com or (250) 861-1515 ext. 220.