On February 6 and 7, members of our Community & Visitor Engagement team travelled to Vancouver to attend the annual British Columbia Visitor Services Network Conference. There are 132 community-owned Visitor Centres in the province; more than 115 people from 75 communities attended this year's conference, providing network updates and sharing best practices. 

BC Visitor Services Network Conference 2023
Pictured (left to right): Cari Chong, Tourism Richmond; Sapphire Games, City of Salmon Arm; Jo Charnock, Travel Penticton; Monique Willis, Destination BC. 

The two-day conference, hosted by Destination BC, offered the opportunity to participate in sessions covering various topics, with presentations from neighbouring communities about ambassador programs, alternative forms of visitor services, and Indigenous Learning and Projects grant results. 

Representatives from Indigenous Tourism BC offered valuable insight into using their app to help drive tourism to small, Indigenous-owned businesses and experiences. They also discussed the importance of engaging with Indigenous Tourism BC representatives to help support Indigenous-owned businesses and local Indigenous artists and to connect with Indigenous communities in our area.

The Camping and RVing British Columbia Coalition discussed the Camper’s Code campaign, which aims to educate new campers and encourage all campers to partake in outdoor recreation safely and respectfully. They are also trying to raise awareness of all the camping BC offers and increase visitation in the colder months and lesser-known areas. Guest speakers from the BC Ale Trail showed off their The Explore BC beer, made through a collaboration of six BC craft breweries, and talked about increasing visitation in slower seasons by increasing their popular Sip & Stay packages. 

Other presentations touched on timely topics, including public perceptions of tourism, the future of digital visitor services, and the tourism emergency management framework. 

Through the conference, our team was proud to see that the Kelowna Visitor Centre (KVC) remains at the forefront of Visitor Services, having incorporated many of the programs and initiatives discussed earlier than other communities. Our team prides itself on leading the way, and seeing the KVC used as a best practice during the conference was the best recognition we could receive, highlighting the work we do to serve visitors and locals. 

For more information on the conference details, please get in touch with me at denae@tourismkelowna.com or (250) 861-1515 ext. 208.