Kelowna with its sprawling landscapes, impressive infrastructure, outdoor art displays and public parks, is an attractive place to be. As residents, we know this and may take it for granted, but for first time visitors who aren't aware of everything our vibrant and diverse city has to offer, our Visitor Centre is often the place they go for guidance.
The location of the current centre is no longer appropriate, with new statistics indicating that tourists seek information online and in peak foot traffic areas. Having shared the building at the current location with Tourism Kelowna since the mid-1980s, we have seen the decline of visits to the centre.
The new site and facility that Tourism Kelowna has selected in partnership with the City of Kelowna is sure to enhance our local economy in many ways. The location and accessibility is on-par with the current trends and much more suited to today's tourist. It will effectively speak to Kelowna's offerings as it will be situated in the "heart of it all". Marketing dollars and efforts will reach further, as staff will not have to refer to a brochure or map when describing the waterfront, beaches and marina. More personal contact with the visitor centre staff and volunteers will entice tourists to stay longer, to visit more attractions, and to spend more at our local businesses.
The new 5,000 square foot building will provide Tourism Kelowna with much-needed counter space to provide service to visitors and platform to feature Kelowna's attractions to a greater number of tourists. There will be more room for increased foot traffic as tourists check out interactive displays, shop local goods, and help themselves to brochures and marketing materials.
On behalf of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, we congratulate and support the new Visitor Centre Site. We believe this has been a long time coming and is a necessary step to set the stage for a heightened profile and level of success for the vibrant future of tourism in Kelowna. Let's give Kelowna a Visitor Centre to be proud of.