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West Kelowna, WFN join together to support Westside tourism

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010 | 2:28 pm

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Submitted by District of West Kelowna

Coordinated funding of $126,375 for Tourism Westside was announced today by Mayor Doug Findlater, District of West Kelowna, Chief Robert Louie, Westbank First Nation, and Jim Edgson, Director Central Okanagan West Electoral Area (Regional District of Central Okanagan).

The joint funding, ($94,683 from District of West Kelowna, $28,692 from Westbank First Nation and $3,000 Central Okanagan West Electoral Area) is intended to support the initiatives of Tourism Westside, a committee of the Westbank and District Chamber of Commerce.

“Tourism Westside’s new strategic plan emphasizes the need for coordinated support from the governing bodies in the area, and not just financially, but as vital stakeholders,” says Mayor Doug Findlater. “All Westside residents will benefit from an enhanced tourism function and I’m very pleased that both Westbank First Nation and Central Okanagan West support this endeavor as well.”

“Westbank First Nation firmly believes that Tourism is a cornerstone of the economic drivers in the Okanagan. In this light, we have been an active participant on the tourism committee that is bringing forward this unique strategic plan that will combine resources of local governments, businesses and new opportunities in true partnership,” says Chief Robert Louie. “We are eager to continue the work to build a fresh tourism experience with Tourism Westside.

“The Central Okanagan West Electoral Area of the RDCO provided Grant in Aid funds to Tourism Westside because there is a need to promote tourism within the Electoral Area,” says Regional Director Jim Edgson. “We look forward to participating in Westside Tourism as a partner to enhance tourism, not only in the Electoral Area, but in the entire Westside, along with Westbank First Nation and West Kelowna.”

“It has been recognized that visitors who stay on the Westside tend to play on the Westside and it became apparent that with the increase in attractions, amenities, and services there existed a requirement for a united effort in promoting the Westside area,” says Broc Broconnier, Chair of the Tourism Westside Committee. “Over the past year the tourism committee has worked diligently to prepare a strategic plan that would benefit and represent all tourism industry stakeholders on the entire Westside. We are very pleased to be entering into an agreement with our three local governing bodies. Our focus for the year ahead is to increase the economic impact of tourism for the Westside by developing a strong tourism infrastructure through working in partnerships with local governments, tourism bureaus, destination marketers, tourist facilities, our community and our visitors.”

More information on Tourism Westside is available at www.tourismwestside.com or by calling 250-768-3378.

More information

  • Visitor Centre operated on westside for over 30 years.
  • Visitor Centre receives between 11,000-13,000 visitors/visitor inquires each year.
  • The Visitor Centre collects statistics on behalf of Tourism BC.
  • The Visitor Centre offers a connection for travellers with RCMP alert bulletins posted and complimentary internet for travellers.
  • Visitors come from all over the world, but the majority of the visitors to the community come from BC & Alberta.
  • 83% of Visitors to the greater Kelowna area arrive by vehicle.
  • Industries that feel the direct impact of tourism include the retail trade, food & beverage, accommodators, and arts & cultural organizations and in West Kelowna 24.3% of our workforce is employed in these activities
  • Tourism spending in the community is $112 million per year

This year, Tourism Westside will undertake the following initiatives:

  • Increased Visitor Centre hours on key days during the summer months
  • Continuation of a part-time Tourism Coordinator
  • Promotion of the community through the leveraging of funds with the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA) and the Ministry of Tourism, Culture & the Arts
  • Continue to develop relationships and pursue opportunities with TOTA’s travel trade and media relations department for exposure and Familiarization Tours
  • Working towards the committee being self-directed with a Tourism Advisory Council (TAC) that would see formal nominations and elections take place
  • Development of graphic imagery and messaging that will define the Westside tourism experience
  • Develop programs that will allow for stakeholders to participate in the marketing and promotion of the area.
  • Support the development of new products that will complement existing inventory. This year the Westside Trails Guide was developed.
  • Conducting stakeholder surveys to understand stakeholder’s satisfaction, key issues they are facing and to track industry trends as they relate to the Westside
  • Incorporate the history and culture of the Okanagan People in various tourism initiatives

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