After two years of intensive discussions, consultation and research with hundreds of tourism stakeholders, the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association has launched a 10-year regional tourism strategy.
Called Embracing Our Potential, the strategic plan outlines enhancement of the visiting experience for tourists through a regional partnership rather than competitive approach .
The study was introduced at the tourism day conference put on by TOTA at the Sparkling Hill Resort in Vernon last Friday.
While tourism is a key industry, generating revenues of $1.7 billion for the region, it remains highly seasonal—a key challenge that the strategy has sought to address.
The result of an intensive industry-led process, Embracing Our Potential identifies a new coordinated approach to strengthening the industry and positioning the region firmly on the world stage of ‘must visit’ destinations.
TOTA chief executive officer Glenn Mandziuk said, “We are known too much as a ‘sun and beaches’ destination. We want to create exceptional experiences that will draw visitors here every month of the year.”
The level of cooperation and the encompassing scope of the endorsements behind this new strategy are unprecedented within the region, and is a first for any regional tourism association within the province.
Mandziuk believes tourist organizations are taking to heart new ideas that show cooperation is essential for the region and individuals businesses to succeed. He explained that experiences are more than just a fabulous product or service offered by an individual company.
“Ten years from now,” said Mandziuk, “the Thompson Okanagan will be seen as a year-round destination with a unique image. People will want to come here because they’ll see it as authentic and there will be no place quite like it.”