We are pleased to provide you with updates from our team, including an overview of some key initiatives, that took place during the third quarter of 2023.

Establishing Kelowna and the Central Okanagan as a Four-Season Travel Destination

YLW Golf Tournament
YLW Golf Tournament. Photo credit: Chris Lewis

  • We activated our emergency response plan to support local tourism businesses and our community through the impacts of wildfires. 
    • We launched a bridge recovery campaign in late August, “Kelowna is Open,” to help local tourism businesses recover losses due to wildfires; the campaign ran until mid-September.
  • Once the bridge campaign was completed, our fall advertising campaign launched, including increased investment in paid advertising in Western Canada, drawn from our emergency marketing reserve funds.
  • Our Community & Visitor Engagement team—which this year included 16 hourly staff and 50 volunteers—handled more than 105,000 in-person and 1,500 digital inquiries at our various touchpoints. This included handling numerous inquiries related to area wildfires.  
  • Our Business Development team hosted three familiarization trips in market and also attended several events, including Conference Direct in Nashville and Canadian Meetings + Events Expo in Toronto, to sell Kelowna as a destination of choice for business events. 
  • Alongside campaign partners, we rolled out the next phase of the collaborative OKGo campaign; work has begun on creating new digital assets for the next phase of the campaign. 

Fostering Sustainable Growth of the Destination

Tugboat Beach Downtown Aerial 3
Photo credit: Shawn Talbot Photography

  • Work continued through the quarter on our brand renewal project including finalizing brand strategy and narrative and initial work on visual and creative direction with our partner agency.
  • We attended public information sessions to engage on topics including public art and the city's North End plan as part of our team's work on destination development. We also began a project with a Mitacs Master's student to uncover the potential opportunities and limitations of destination development within our region. 

Ensuring Organizational Excellence 

Photo credit: Shawn Talbot Photography

  • We initiated our emergency response plan in response to wildfires in August, providing frequent updates and outreach to Tourism Kelowna members. 
    • Our President & CEO worked closely with partner organizations to support advocacy efforts, relaying impact statements to government and seeking response actions.
  • Members of our team completed a public transportation familiarization tour and downtown walking tour to ensure we had the most up-to-date information about what was available for visitors. 
  • We welcomed new team member, Darby Svendsen, as our key point of contact for social media and content.
  • We increased the number of solar panels on the Kelowna Visitor Centre (KVC) from 48 to 74. Our team at the KVC also started working with Veritree, who will continue planting one tree in BC for each purchase made online at loveforkelowna.com or in-person at the KVC or at Okanagan & Co.

Engaging Partners and External Stakeholders to Grow the Visitor Economy

Aerial view of Oyama Lake near Lake Country, BC
Photo credit: Shawn Talbot Photography

  • In partnership with the Kelowna Hotel & Motel Association, we launched additional content marketing activities to support local businesses in immediate response from wildfires. The campaign ran after travel orders were lifted through to the end of September. 
  • Our Community & Visitor Engagement team completed another successful year of mobile operations as part of our contract with the District of Lake Country. 
  • We continued work on Travelling Out in the Thompson Okanagan (TOTO), a collaborative campaign between Tourism Kelowna, Travel Penticton, Destination Osoyoos, Tourism Vernon, and Tourism Kamloops, targeting the 2SLGBTQIA+ travel market. The campaign is funded as part of our sector partnerships through Destination BC's 2023/24 Co-op Program.

To learn more about our team's strategic priorities and key initiatives, contact: