We are pleased to provide you with updates from our team, including an overview of some key initiatives, as they align with our organization's strategic priorities, that took place during the third quarter of 2022.
Establishing Kelowna and the Central Okanagan as a Four-Season Travel Destination
Credit: Chris Lewis
- The Kelowna Visitor Centre (KVC) was open 12 hours per day from mid-May to early September—during this time, more than 126,000 people were provided direct service and all KVC statistics surpassed 2021.
- The summer season also saw the successful launch and wrap-up of our pilot program to provide visitor services to the District of Lake Country.
- During 86 days of operation, the mobile team interacted with just over 1,900 people.
- The team visited 60 Lake Country businesses to introduce themselves and the visitor services program.
- We launched our fall advertising campaign in Western and Eastern Canada during the latter part of the third quarter. This campaign is one of if not the highest seasonal advertising spends in our organization’s history.
- In addition, we launched our fall/winter paid advertising campaign in Quebec to support air service from that market.
- In alignment with our strategic plan and Major Events strategy, Kelowna welcomed Spartan Race's North American Championship Weekend to Big White in August, a first for our destination.
- Our Business Development team saw a higher volume of business and inquiries over the past few months:
- This included 17 lead opportunities attributed to Business Events & Conferences Restart Funding as well as 10 lead opportunities tied to the collaborative OKGo campaign (seven within the agricultural sector and three in digital tech).
- We continue to see a high volume of lead opportunities, which has resulted in $14M in economic potential for our community.
- In September, we hosted a successful in-person client event in Calgary, the first since the onset of the pandemic. Similar events will be held in Vancouver and Toronto in October.
- In a new collaboration, Tourism Kelowna partnered with six other destinations to create an Experience BC area at the Canadian Meetings + Events Expo in Toronto, showcasing the best of BC to planners. Additional events showcasing Experience BC are scheduled through the fall.
Fostering Sustainable Growth of the Destination
Credit: Darren Hull Studios
- After a lengthy renewal process, Tourism Kelowna and the City of Kelowna were pleased to announce that Kelowna’s Municipal and Regional District Tax (MRDT) 5-year agreement with the province was approved, providing key destination marketing funding to 2027.
- Meet Me on Bernard (MMOB) was successfully executed thanks to the ongoing partnership between the City of Kelowna, Downtown Kelowna Association, and Tourism Kelowna.
- A mobile visitor centre was set up in the Neighbourhood Plaza zone, and an MMOB mobile pass was launched, both of which sought to engage visitors and drive local spending.
- To increase resident support and engagement, we continued our Local Love for Kelowna and Value of Tourism series through the summer months, highlighting what tourism brings to the community from the perspective of locals while also showcasing their favourite things about Kelowna.
Ensuring Organizational Excellence
Credit: Shawn Talbot Photography
- In response to changes in the tourism industry and the landscape of our local business community, Tourism Kelowna is moving from a stakeholder to a membership model.
- The planning and roll-out of our annual surveys started in the third quarter, with the goal of gathering feedback from our members, volunteers, and area residents that our team can use for continuous improvement as we plan for 2023 and beyond.
- In the fourth quarter, we will execute the winter intake of our Visitor Intercept Survey to get an updated picture of consumer travel habits and spending, along with an updated economic impact.
- We had some exciting changes to the Tourism Kelowna team:
- Nikki Robinson joined the team in mid-August as our new Director of Business Development.
- Towards the end of September, Shereen Abbas joined the team, taking on the Travel Media & Communications role for the organization.
- Denae Weighill recently moved from her role as a Community Specialist to Volunteer and Events Coordinator at the Kelowna Visitor Centre.
- In the coming months, our Community & Visitor Engagement team will be hiring a new coordinator to oversee the retail program at the Kelowna Visitor Centre.
Engaging Partners and External Stakeholders to Grow the Visitor Economy
Credit: Nic Collar Film
- A lot of behind-the-scenes work occurred during the third quarter that will materialize in the remainder of 2022.
- We're expanding our presence at the airport and getting set to revamp our YLW Information Kiosk to further the sense of place visitors and locals have when travelling to our destination.
- Our team has continued its work alongside Destination Think and community partners to formalize a Tourism Destination Development Plan for our region; further activities will roll out in the coming months.
To learn more about our team's strategic priorities and key initiatives, contact:
- President & CEO, Lisanne Ballantyne
- Director of Business Development, Nikki Robinson
- Director of Community & Visitor Engagement, Chris Lewis
- Director of Finance, Lauren Lander
- Director of Marketing and Communications, Chris Shauf