Posted on 27 June 2012 by admin
When you live in one of the most beautiful geographic regions in the world, as we are blessed to do here in the South Okanagan Valley, there is absolutely no reason why this area can’t be promoted as a year-round, world-class destination.
That was the basic premise presented by Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA) chief executive officer Glenn Mandziuk during a keynote presentation during the Pacific Northwest Economic Development Conference, a three-day gathering held at the Watermark Hotel in Osoyoos last week.
As Mandziuk pointed out on more than one occasion, more than 80 per cent of the tourist dollars spent in this region of British Columbia, including here in Osoyoos, is spent during the peak summer months of June, July and August.
The good news is the tourism industry in the TOTA coverage area generates an incredible $1.8 billion in revenue and helps employ more than 15,000 people.
The bad news is the vast majority of people who come to the South Okanagan and Osoyoos, only come here during the three peak months, meaning there are nine months of down time for the majority of people in the industry.
After months of discussions with dozens of various stakeholders, TOTA has published a comprehensive 10-year tourism strategy that Mandziuk talked about in detail at last week’s conference.
There is absolutely no reason whatsoever that Osoyoos and the South Okanagan shouldn’t be able to attract visitors from around the world on a year-round basis.
We enjoy, on most occasions, the nicest weather in the country. You can play golf usually 10 months of the year. We enjoy some of the best wineries, restaurants and culinary experts in the entire country.
There’s no reason, as Mandziuk stated, that the South Okanagan can’t become known as the “Tuscany of North America” because we have the quality food, wine and experiences to do just that. This region provides world-class outdoor recreational activities during all four seasons. Osoyoos is certainly about summer, fun and sun, but we have so much more to offer to people 12 months a year.
With the spirit of co-operation and teamwork being a key, there is no reason at all why this 10-year tourism strategy can’t be a resounding success.