KELOWNA - Mayor Colin Basran, just off a two-week trip to Kasugai, Japan, barely has enough time to unpack his suitcase before heading to Toronto this week for another promotional visit.
“It’s not normally this crazy but it was a good opportunity that came up and one I really couldn’t say no to,” Basran says.
A year ago the Mayor was in Veendam, Netherlands, and a couple of weeks from now, he’s off to Fort St. John for the B.C Mayors' Caucus. In between were stops in Boulder, Co., Vancouver, Edmonton and Regina.
This week’s trip to an international animation festival in Toronto is all part of what Basran says is his role as Kelowna’s salesman-in-chief — promoting the city any which way he can.
“This trip has a number of different angles. One is to attract animators and animation companies to the city,” Basran says. “Kelowna is seeing growth in animation and studios setting up here.”
The trip was arranged by the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission, which as part of its Boomerang Campaign, invited Basran to come along in hopes his stature would reinforce the message that Kelowna is serious about attracting talent and new companies.
The Boomerang Campaign is targeting UBC Okanagan and Okanagan College alumni in a bid to draw them back to the Kelowna.
“We want to tell people the city they left however many years ago is different. We’re seeing more young families and young professionals than ever before. The Kelowna you maybe once knew is a different place. It’s time to come home."
Whether a mid-sized city mayor could be considered a draw in Canada is debatable but there’s no question of it overseas, where Basran says it opens doors.
“Its a big deal over there, that’s for sure, they treat us very well,” Basran says, who on his trip to Japan met with the mayor of Kasugai, Kelowna’s sister city, and the president of Chubu University, as well as attending various Chamber of Commerce events.
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