During the week of August 10, Tourism Kelowna conducted its second resident sentiment survey, which garnered a significant response with almost 735 surveys completed.  Distributed over three days, the survey aimed to understand residents’ comfort levels in welcoming visitors from different geographic locations to Kelowna as we move into the fall season.

The key findings of the survey show that residents demonstrate higher levels of comfort in welcoming visitors from closer to home and that higher COVID-19 case count numbers in the Central Okanagan over the summer have led to lower overall comfort levels in general.

Some of the key findings are:

  • 66% of residents are happy to welcome regional visitors to Kelowna; however, only 20% would welcome international travellers, and only 8% would welcome visitors from the USA.  
  • Over half of residents feel it's important to welcome visitors to support our local businesses.
  • 45% of locals are likely to take a trip within BC this fall.

The results of our survey are in line with the findings from our national and provincial tourism organizations, Destination Canada and Destination British Columbia respectively, who have been conducting their own resident sentiment research relating to comfort levels in welcoming visitors into communities across the country. 

This information provides Tourism Kelowna with important and strategic insights in the short term and supports the decision to focus efforts on regional and provincial marketing for the fall and winter season or until inter-provincial travel is once again encouraged. We understand that many of our residents are comfortable with vacation travel within the province, aligning well with Tourism Kelowna's marketing program that is currently only focused within BC. 

Safe and positive health conditions, combined with resident support and business-readiness, are the three vital conditions required for the tourism industry’s long-term economic recovery.

Each year, over 1.8 million overnight visitors spend over $337 million at local businesses. Overall, tourism is a $1.25 billion industry locally, responsible for approximately 12,000 jobs, and a key contributor to the outstanding quality of life we all enjoy in the Okanagan.