Through the OKGo campaign, our Business Development team has highlighted Kelowna's success stories in key economic sectors to differentiate our community by providing extra value to meeting planners and delegates. These local success stories include agriculture and manufacturing companies from the cannabis industry. In alignment with these economic sectors and on the heels of the inaugural BC Craft Cannabis Summit and the Canna Golf Classic, both of which were held in Kelowna, Tourism Kelowna is beginning to take a closer look at opportunities to attract and host other business events from this growing sector.
"Several successful companies in Canada's cannabis industry, such as Valens, Klonetics, and Flowr, clearly demonstrate the entrepreneurship and innovation that sets Kelowna apart," says Tourism Kelowna's Calgary-based Business Development Consultant, Nicolle Gomez de Sousa. "Planners can use the expertise from these companies to augment their meeting and event agendas, whether that is selecting passionate keynote speakers or booking behind-the-scenes tours."
One of the largest cannabis conferences and tradeshows, Lift&Co Expo, which includes the Lift Cannabis Business Conference, recently took place in Toronto. Pat Gappmayr, our Toronto-based business development consultant, represented Tourism Kelowna as the first destination organization to ever attend the conference. With over 10,000 attendees visiting the conference over 3 days, Pat was able to promote Kelowna as a hot spot for the cannabis industry. She leveraged the OKGo campaign and resources to tell the stories of Kelowna's successful local cannabis producers, extractors, and of course, cannabis tourism businesses like Wicked Weed Tours. Pat met with a globally recognized cannabis tourism researcher and other delegates to discuss how Kelowna can support future business events.
"It was exciting to connect with so many cannabis professionals from around the world," says Pat. "Through OKGo, we can showcase the local entrepreneurs, thought leaders, and innovators from the cannabis sector who are putting Kelowna on the map—these individuals can become part of future events in Kelowna, providing knowledge and inspiration to delegates."
To further our relationship with decision-makers and planners in the industry, Tourism Kelowna became a founding member of the recently formed Canadian Cannabis Tourism Alliance (CCTA), a national member-based non-profit organization that is advocating for cannabis tourism through responsible growth, education, and integrity. Our organization benefits from the active discussion of regular meetings and the advocacy work the CCTA is doing. On behalf of our organization, Nicolle also sits on Destinations International's cannabis and hemp task force to better understand the challenges both destinations and our stakeholders may face around cannabis tourism.
If you would like to discuss future meetings, conferences, or events with the cannabis sector or how your business event can take advantage of the local expertise from this industry, please reach out to either Pat or Nicolle: