June 28, 2019, marks the one-year anniversary of the Kelowna Visitor Centre, located at 238 Queensway Avenue in downtown Kelowna. Since opening last year, almost 240,000 people have come into the building to use one of its many services, which include local insider tips, community information, public restrooms, locally-created and -inspired merchandise, and more! This has more than doubled the original estimate of 100,000 people who would come into the building during the first year of operation.
Since the grand opening, a number of services and displays have been added to the building. A directional speaker allows guests to hear the singing of the Okanagan Song of the syilx/Okanagan people. A public charging station is available for smartphones, tablets, and other devices. Through a partnership with the Downtown Kelowna Association and the Tables & Chairs program, there are bistro sets available to any members of the public in Kerry Park immediately outside the building. Through the retail program, Tourism Kelowna is able to support more than 50 local businesses and suppliers by selling their products on consignment.
In April of this year, the building underwent the Sustainable Tourism Canada evaluation process; it was awarded Sustainable Tourism Gold Certification. As part of this process, 20 solar panels were added in May to generate renewable energy for the building.
The Kelowna Visitor Centre is currently open seven days per week from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. including holidays.
Celebrating another milestone this month, Saturday, June 1 marked the 14-year anniversary of the satellite Visitor Centre (Airport Information Kiosk) located in the arrivals area of the Kelowna International Airport.
A celebration for both occasions was held on Thursday, May 30, in conjunction with Tourism Week in Canada, at an open house where guests were treated to cookies and lemonade, and local residents received 15% off any Love for Kelowna or Kelowna Vibes merchandise.