After two years of intensive discussions and research, the Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association has launched a 10-year regional tourism strategy.
The regional initiative, Embracing Our Potential, shares the vision of creating visitor experiences through a partnership approach.
“We are known too much as a sun and beaches destination,” said Glenn Mandziuk, chief executive officer.
“We want to create exceptional experiences that will draw visitors here every month of the year.”
After extended periods of consultation and feedback, formal endorsements have come from all leading tourism agencies representing 90 communities, the Canadian Tourism Commission, Tourism BC, Aboriginal Tourism British Columbia, go2 and the Okanagan Valley Economic Development Society.
Mandziuk believes tourist organizations are taking to heart new ideas that show co-operation is essential for the region and individual businesses to succeed.
“After a visitor checks into their hotel they want to find out what they can do over the next few days or weeks that will create great memories. They need the hotel to partner with others to create that great, authentic experience,” he said.
Tourism is a key industry generating revenues of $1.7 billion for the region.
However, the association says, it remains highly seasonal – a key challenge that the strategy has sought to address.
“Ten years from now, the Thompson-Okanagan will be seen as a year-round destination with a unique image,” said Mandziuk.
“People will want to come here because they’ll see it as authentic and there will be no place quite like it.”