Tourism Week runs May 24-31, 2020

The tourism industry is an important economic driver and contributes to an increased quality of life for residents, and the industry’s many contributions are being celebrated during Tourism Week here in Kelowna and across Canada.

“Tourism is a vital industry to our local, provincial, and national economies, and part of our everyday lives,” said Lisanne Ballantyne, President & CEO of Tourism Kelowna. “Economic impact from tourism generates revenue for local businesses, creates jobs for residents, and generates tax revenue that is re-invested back into our community.”  

The tourism industry’s economic impact has grown steadily in Kelowna and the Central Okanagan with 2019 setting a new standard. Over 1.8 million overnight visitors grew Kelowna’s average hotel occupancy to 65.7% – the highest on record – with 10 of 12 months posting increases over the previous year. That growth and momentum stopped, however, due to the impacts of COVID-19, and 2020 has become a year of helping preserve local businesses and recover lost revenue.

“Each local business in the Central Okanagan tourism industry has already demonstrated incredible resiliency after bouncing back from challenging years with high water levels and smoke from wildfires,” said Ballantyne. “Unfortunately, the impact of COVID-19 is very likely the biggest crisis many local tourism businesses have had to face, and the rebound will take time to restore.”

Despite the current challenges, the industry has much to celebrate. From beautiful, natural, wide-open spaces, to a delicious local food and wine scene, to the many incredible year-round activities, and the hardworking and passionate people that make up this industry – there’s much to be proud of, something residents can also take to heart.

“The added bonus of living in a community that shares its attractions with visitors is that residents get to enjoy those benefits throughout the year, which adds to our overall quality of life,” said Ballantyne. “We all have a favorite restaurant, winery, golf course, or other local business, and their business is supported by residents and visitors. We’re very fortunate that the tourism industry is appreciated here in the Okanagan, as tourism and hospitality are very much a part of who we are and what makes this place special.”

To cap off Tourism Week, Tourism Kelowna is introducing “Show Your Love for Kelowna Day” on May 30. Residents are encouraged to support local businesses, show appreciation to those that work in the industry, share content about their favorite places and spaces on social media by tagging #exploreKelownalocal, and proudly show off their Kelowna and Okanagan apparel.

People looking for apparel can shop Tourism Kelowna’s online store at Between May 13-30, $4 from each purchase made will be directed to the British Columbia Hospitality Foundation to help tourism and hospitality workers. Residents that show their love for Kelowna will be entered to win a gift card to the online store. Further details are available at The Kelowna Visitor Centre is also set to re-open for walk-up service on Monday, June 1, primarily to help residents and serve the community. Enhanced public safety measures will be in place and hours of operation will be 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., seven days a week.


Tourism Industry Quick Facts:

Kelowna & Central Okanagan Tourism Industry

  • Approximately 12,000 jobs in Kelowna & Central Okanagan due to tourism
  • Visitors spend $337 million in local tourism businesses annually
  • $1.25 billion total economic output

BC’s Tourism Industry

  • Over 160,000 people employed in tourism-related businesses
  • Approximately 20,000 tourism businesses across British Columbia
  • $20.5 billion in annual revenues

Canada’s Tourism Industry

  • 1.8 million jobs and the largest employer of Canadian youth
  • 225,000 tourism businesses across Canada
  • $102 billion industry


About Tourism Week in Canada

Tourism Week is an annual celebration of Canada’s tourism industry, workers, and captivating attractions that welcome visitors from home and abroad. Nationally, 1 in every 11 jobs, 2% of Canada’s GDP and over $102 billion in economic activity. There are 225,000 tourism businesses across Canada, and the industry welcomed over 21.1 million visitors in 2018. Canada cannot afford to lose its tourism sector; it’s an important economic driver and an important contributor to our quality of life. 


About Tourism Kelowna

As the lead destination marketing organization (DMO) for the Central Okanagan, Tourism Kelowna works on behalf of over 420 local businesses and an entire tourism community to generate overnight visitor demand that economically benefits Kelowna and its surrounding areas. The BC tourism industry recently named Tourism Kelowna the 2019 DMO of the year for Professional Excellence, recognizing the organization’s performance, accountability, and commitment to uplifting the local and provincial tourism industry sector.


For more information:

Chris Shauf, Director of Marketing & Communications
Tourism Kelowna
(250) 861-1515 ext. 203