The visitor information centre in Lake Country has opened for another season at Gatzke Orchards in Oyama.
But for the first time ever, tourism information will be available at several different locations throughout Lake Country this summer and even in neighbouring communities.
Gatzke Orchards will once again act as the main stop for tourists looking for information but Gatzke Orchards has also committed to a plan that will see at least 140 hours of mobile service, setting up a kiosk at various events through Lake Country this tourist season.
The tourist kiosk will be set up at regular events such as the Lake Country farmers market as well as special events like ArtWalk, the classic car show and Oyama Fun Days and will also set up at both the Vernon and Kelowna farmers markets as part of a trial run this year.
The idea for a travelling kiosk came from Lake Country’s tourism development commission (TDC), formed in 2013 to work on tourism policies and promotions
“While the TDC recognized the importance of having a fixed, central location for visitors services, they also wanted to see the district reach out more,” said Ryan Roycroft, Lake Country’s economic development manager.
“We want to go where the people are, rather than waiting for them to come to us.”
Tourism information booths are becoming a struggle to continue to operate as tourists have changed the way they get their information in this day and age.
Together with the new highway promoting a flow of cars that don’t go past Gatzke Orchards, the Lake Country visitor information booth is located in an area that gets fewer traffic than it used to.
But Roycroft says moving the information around is a unique way to try to get in front of tourists that are out and about in the community.
“I think this is a really good approach to providing visitor’s services, especially in a community as large and spread out as Lake Country,” he said.
“All of our neighbours are struggling with figuring out how to provide these services and I feel that Lake Country and the tourism development commission have hit on a really creative and innovative solution.”
The visitor information booth used to be operated by the Lake Country Chamber of Commerce until it opted against performing the service and handed it back to the District of Lake Country last year.
Gatzke’s was hired as the contractor to provide the service.
Data will be collected this year at the travelling kiosk and a report prepared to see what the results of the new strategy were.
Meanwhile, the main tourism information booth is now open for the season in Oyama.