EDITORIAL: Welcome to our Games visitors

The 55+ B.C. Games officially begin today in Greater Vernon and Armstrong/Spallumcheen

It’s time for North Okanagan residents to throw out the welcome mat.

The 55+ B.C. Games officially begin today in Greater Vernon and Armstrong/Spallumcheen and that means more than 3,600 athletes will be participating.

But on top of that, many of them will bring spouses or other family members, while there will be dignitaries and representatives from various sports.

The Games are a huge boost at a time, after Labour Day, when tourism traditionally starts to slow down. Those here until Saturday will fill hotels and motels, enjoy our restaurants and do some shopping.

And while the Games venues are in Greater Vernon and Armstrong-Spallumcheen, it’s expected these visitors will tour the rest of the region during free time. They may wander out to Enderby or Lumby for lunch or go for a drive in Grindrod, Cherryville, Falkland or Oyama.

They may be so impressed with what they see here that they may decide to return in the future for a holiday or to purchase a home here, and either way, that is good for the local economy.

But no matter the financial spinoffs, the most important aspect to the Games is that our guests feel welcome and appreciated.

If you run into a Games visitor in a store or on the street, give them a big smile and say hello. It may seem like a small gesture but it will go a long way to demonstrate what we already know — that the North Okanagan is a great place to live and visit.