Kayaking in the North Okanagan. (Tourism Vernon photo)

Kayaking in the North Okanagan. (Tourism Vernon photo)

Vernon Tourism services going mobile in May

A new mobile team will help Tourism Vernon move away from its underperforming brick-and-mortar centre

If people aren’t flocking to the visitor centre, Tourism Vernon will meet them at the beach, or on the street.

That’s the idea behind a shift away from Vernon’s brick-and-mortar Visitor Centre to a mobile team that will soon be in action.

City council has found the old brick and mortar tourism model to be out of date. The city has seen a steady decline in trips to the Visitor Information Centre (in 2019 there were 58 per cent fewer visits to the centre compared to 2006) and costs are outweighing revenues.

The centre saw a modest boost in visits in 2014, the year it was centralized, but the downward trend has continued ever since.

In response, Tourism Vernon is switching to a mobile visitor services team that will hit the streets in May, as endorsed by council on Monday, April 26.

The goal is to provide timely and effective support to tourists by meeting them where they are — in places like Kin Beach, Ellison Provincial Park and throughout the downtown. The team will also interact with people by phone, email and Facebook chat.

An enhanced digital presence will round out the new visitor servicing program in the form of website improvements and new digital maps.

Mayor Victor Cumming said promoting tourism and hospitality is a top priority as the sector recovers from the pandemic.

“With fewer resources available, the Tourism Commission and city council have carefully considered how our investments will be most effective and how we can re-imagine our visitor servicing to showcase Vernon, meaningfully connect with visitors and residents, and continue offering exceptional customer service,” Cumming said.

Tourism research indicates this mobile model is working better across the province and Canada, according to Claus Larsen, tourism commission chair and director of accommodation at Predator Ridge Resort.

“Travelers are searching more, booking more and buying more on mobile devices. They’re operating in a digital space already, so we are pivoting our efforts to offer a practical approach that helps connect visitors with local attractions and activities, and introduces area residents to new opportunities which match changes in the market,” Larsen said.

Kevin Poole, manager of economic development and tourism, said the switch follows the lead of several other B.C. communities that have found the mobile model useful — and not just for tourists.

“Not only have those communities seen positive results in connecting visitors to local attractions, but they’ve also seen an increased number of local residents beginning to explore their own communities and discovering local businesses or attractions they didn’t know existed,” Poole said.

“This in turn has helped residents become ambassadors for their communities and spread the good word of what’s available in their own backyard.”

To learn more, visit www.tourismvernon.com.

READ MORE: Technology replaces Vernon’s tourism centre

READ MORE: Swim, skate and Vernon rec event revenues halved


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter

Tourism

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RCMP did not commit offense in arrest which seriously injured Lake Country man, finds IIO. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News/Stock)
Vernon police didn’t use excessive force in domestic takedown: Watchdog

‘One stepped on him and one had his knee in his neck,’ woman told IIO

A fifth wheel fire came dangerously close to a Lake Country home Wednesday afternoon. (Lake Country Fire Department photo)
RCMP, neighbours save Lake Country house from fire

Fifth wheel up in flames next to home

École Kelowna Senior Secondary School had COVID-19 exposures on May 5, according to Interior Health. (Contributed)
COVID-19 exposures confirmed at Kelowna high school

The Central Okanagan School District didn’t specify how many cases there were

(Pixabay photo)
Morning Start: Kentucky has more bourbon than people

Your morning start for Thursday, May 6, 2021

An aerial rendering of the new intersection at Vernon’s 39th Avenue, featuring a double roundabout. The city announced the completion of the north-south transportation corridor Wednesday, May 5, 2021. (Contributed)
New north-south transportation corridor completed in Vernon

Drivers, cyclists and pedestrians now have a new way to get across town

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O���Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

B.C. average home price and sales level to 2023, showing steep drop in sales expected next year. (Central 1)
Forecast calls for B.C. home sales to ‘explode,’ then drop off

Average price to rise another 10% in 2021, credit unions say

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Salmon Arm Silverbacks forward Sullivan Mack gets a boost into West Kelowna goalie Johnny Derrick from Warriors forward Tyson Jugnauth during West Kelowna’s 5-4 B.C. Hockey League pod play win Wednesday, May 5, at Vernon’s Kal Tire Place. (Tami Quan Photography)
West Kelowna Warriors hold on to edge Silverbacks

Warriors up three with five minutes to go, give up two late goals but end up with 5-4 BCHL win over Salmon Arm

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Members of Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. (File photo)
B.C.-wide #DayOfMusic to feature 100-plus free virtual concerts May 15

‘Our colleagues across the province have figured out new ways to perform and connect,’ VSO boss says

Two passengers were recently fined thousands of dollars after they faked their pre-flight COVID-19 test results. (Paul Clarke/Black Press)
2 passengers in Canada fined thousands for faking pre-flight COVID-19 tests

The government issued a warning Thursday to others thinking of doing the same – do it and you’ll be ordered to pay

(File)
With revenge porn on the rise in 2021, B.C. seeks feedback for new legislation

New legislation could help victims take down images and receive compensation

(Kamloops This Week file photo)
Federal police unit takes over probe of B.C. regional district’s spending

Financial Integrity Sensitive Investigations Unit is now reviewing the case

Most Read