Last week, more than 40 attendees participated in our second virtual Stakeholder Plug-In Session, Marketing 2021 and Beyond. The sessions were created to foster connection, encouraging our stakeholders to "plug-in" with our team, with each other, and with relevant information, trends, and issues in our industry.
To kick off the second session in our 2021 series, we had attendees break out into smaller groups so they could introduce themselves and share their outlook on the summer as well as their expectations for the session. Many stakeholders in attendance noted that summer bookings were already well underway and were interested in hearing more about Tourism Kelowna's plans for fall and beyond, once the traditionally busy summer season ended.
Our Director of Marketing & Communications, Chris Shauf, was able to provide updates while sharing some of our paid advertising and marketing plans for the remainder of 2021. He spoke to resident and traveller sentiment and demonstrated that a return to advertising means a slow and careful approach, leading with messaging confirming health and safety precautions. Shauf also shared Tourism Kelowna's intent to focus our advertising dollars on extending a busy summer into the fall/winter, when visitation typically declines, by inviting travellers from regions across the country to Kelowna, highlighting opportunities to reconnect with family and friends after the pandemic, for instance.
During the session, our President & CEO, Lisanne Ballantyne, shared our draft strategic plan, which outlines our priorities and how we will allocate the Municipal and Regional District Tax (MRDT) over the next five years. Tourism Kelowna is currently in the process of working with the City of Kelowna to renew the MRDT in Kelowna, which is the main source of revenue for our organization. It is imperative that this tax is renewed so we can continue building on the foundation that has developed since the MRDT was implemented 15 years ago and continue supporting our industry through recovery to once again generate vital economic impact for our region, as it was prior to the pandemic. If you would like to learn more about the MRDT and its renewal process, want to meet with Lisanne or a member of our Board of Directors, or wish to sign a support letter, please visit our MRDT webpage.
Tourism Kelowna plans to continue our Stakeholder Plug-In sessions later this fall with an in-person event. For more information about our most recent session or about the series, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.