At the end of September, our Business Development team launched Tourism Kelowna's 2023 Meetings and Conferences (M&C) Co-Op Program. An earlier launch of the program than in previous years garnered interest and commitment from a record number of local accommodators, venues, and businesses. This interest in the program speaks to the anticipation of a busy 2023, which is already seeing a number of sell-out dates.
The M&C Co-Op Program was started in 2006 as a way to partner with industry members to generate meeting and conference opportunities for the destination. In 2019, we aligned the program with Destination Canada's Economic Sector Strategy to focus our proactive business development efforts within our region's economic strengths.
As part of this alignment, the award-winning OKGo marketing campaign was launched in 2020 as a partnership between the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission, Accelerate Okanagan, and Tourism Kelowna. The success of this collaborative campaign continues to be realized—for instance, OKGo won four 2022 Marketing Canada Awards—as we highlight our region's sector strengths to attract meetings and conferences. The latest campaign assets were recently released and can be viewed through the links below and on the OKGo website:
- Aerospace: Paula Quinn, KF Aerospace
- Agriculture: Jennay Oliver, Paynter's Fruit Market
- Cannabis: Cleo Menezes, THC Biomed
- Digital Technology: Angela Nagy, Greenstep Solutions Inc.
- Manufacturing: Brad Pederson, Pela
- Viticulture: Sheri-Lee Turner-Krouzel and Curtis Krouzel, 50th Parallel Estate Winery
Plans for the 2023 M&C Co-Op Program rollout are well underway. In partnership with OKGo, we will again attend events such as Collision 2023, North America's fastest-growing tech conference, and Lift Cannabis Business Conference in Toronto and the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference in Calgary. We will also be returning to traditional tradeshows such as Tête-à-Tête and Canadian Meetings & Events Expo (CMEE) for those partners who wish to co-exhibit. We are excited to offer smaller sales events in Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto again in 2023, tailored to a more intimate experience with a focused client base.
The Tourism Kelowna M&C Co-Op Program is heading into the new year with more partners than ever before, with some new and others returning. 2023 is predicted to be a very busy year, with short lead turnarounds and a steady return to business, likely with smaller domestic programs, though we are seeing an uptake in international inquiries.
Please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or to any member of the Business Development team if you have any questions or wish to discuss the 2023 M&C Co-Op Program. Information on joining the program can also be found on our website.