Tourism Kelowna is once again celebrating National Volunteer Week (NVW), which runs from April 24 to 30. This year's theme, “Empathy in Action,” celebrates “the empathy, compassion, and generosity of volunteers [that] creates connected communities and builds a stronger Canada."  

We are fortunate and proud to have a dedicated group of 62 Community Specialist volunteers and 17 Board of Directors volunteers, all of whom generously donate their time, pride themselves on the work they do, and bolster the region's strong, well connected tourism community, which they showcase to the more than 2 million visitors who travel to Kelowna each year.   

In a normal year, our Community Specialist volunteers can be found doing many different jobs—greeting visitors as they disembark from their plane at Kelowna International Airport, helping people searching for information at the Kelowna Visitor Centre, or chatting with locals and visitors at various community events. The second year of the pandemic continued to pose challenges for our team; however, our volunteers persevered, continuing to help the community in any way possible and showcasing Kelowna and the Central Okanagan with enthusiasm so visitors and locals could have the best experiences possible. In 2021, our team of volunteers contributed approximately 3,575 volunteer hours to our organization. 

"I would like to personally thank each and every one of Tourism Kelowna's volunteers, both on our Community & Visitor Engagement team, as well as our Board of Directors," says Chris Lewis, Director of Community & Visitor Engagement. "The past year has been a period of constant adaptation and our volunteers were able to do just that. In 2021, we increased the hours of operation of both the Kelowna Visitor Centre and Airport Information Kiosk to near pre-pandemic levels and opened a new satellite location at Orchard Park Guest Services. None of these things would have been possible without our volunteers' passion and desire to help fellow residents and the visitors travelling within the Central Okanagan."

To celebrate National Volunteer Week with our team, we will be hosting a reception and our first in-person volunteer meeting in two years. We will also be putting together gifts of recognition for each individual volunteer. 

If you would like to learn more about our volunteer program, please contact me at or (250) 861-1515 ext. 220.  

The Value of Tourism

National Volunteer Week 2019
Photo: Celebrating National Volunteer Week 2019, with a familiarization tour to Meadow Vista Honey Wines.

We connected with our Community Specialist volunteers to find out what they value most about tourism and volunteering with Tourism Kelowna. 

Q: What made you decide to start volunteering with Tourism Kelowna?

  • "Quite simply I wanted to share all there is to do and see here with our visitors." - Betty J.
  • "I volunteer for the ability to meet people from around the world and locally. I love the camaraderie within Tourism Kelowna and the people volunteering. I am very proud of where I was born and live, and want to share my love and all the beautiful and interesting places to see and things to do while {visitors] are staying here." – Sue L.
  • "I enjoy promoting our beautiful city and surrounding area to people who are curious to know about it. I [also] enjoy meeting people from all over the world." – Heidi A.

Q: What value do you think tourism/visitors bring to Kelowna and its surrounding communities?

  • "I believe tourism and visitors bring a diversity of interests and experiences. They also help to open our eyes to things we have here that we may take for granted, and help support local businesses." – Heidi A.
  • "Tourism brings money into our economy, and it also increases our employment and further it fosters understanding between cultures." – Angie G.
  • "Visitors to Kelowna are vital to the economy.  They help spread the word and by sharing their experiences they hopefully encourage others to visit the Okanagan." – Carol V.S.

Q: What do you enjoy most about living in Kelowna/Central Okanagan? 

  • We moved here from Alberta 9 years ago now—we love that the Okanagan is a four-season playground! I love being outdoors every day and there are always things to do no matter what the weather is like!" – Kelly H.
  • "I was born in Kelowna and have never moved or lived anywhere else. I have travelled many parts of the world and Kelowna is one of the most beautiful places. The weather is perfect—even the cold—and there are lots of things to keep everyone busy...I love visiting the many wineries and sitting outside sipping wine with family and friends. Let’s not forget about the beautiful fruit and vegetables we are fortunate to have almost year-round. We are still a small town with a big heart!" – Sue L.
  • "I enjoy living here because of the climate, convenience to all amenities, and diversity of the population, as people have moved here from all over Canada." – Angie G.

Please note: The header image was taken pre-pandemic at the grand opening of the Kelowna Visitor Centre in 2018.