Tourism in Kelowna has become a billion dollar industry: report

Nearly two million people visit Kelowna each year, according to Tourism Kelowna.
Image Credit: FILE PHOTO

KELOWNA - Almost two million people visit Kelowna each year making it a billion dollar industry, according to a report released by Tourism Kelowna today.

The tourism industry brings in over $1.25 billion in economic output for the region, according to a media release.

“Tourism is one of the Central Okanagan’s leading industries providing jobs for residents, spending that strengthens our economy and taxation that funds programs and contributes to our quality of life,” Tourism Kelowna president and CEO Nancy Cameron says in the release.

The report prepared by InterVISTAS Consulting for Tourism Kelowna entitled Economic Impact of Tourism in Kelowna and the Greater Kelowna Area was released today, March 3. The information in the report was compiled in the fall of 2016 from data from the last census, the Central Okanagan Regional District and Big White Ski Resort.

Tourism in the region has steadily grown and continues to do so, the report states. The total economic output has increased 48.8 per cent from 2011. All together, the total GDP from tourism is up 49 per cent since 2011, at $620 million.

“Tourism Kelowna’s mandate is to increase overnight visitation to benefit our local economy,” Cameron says. “We have seen visits to our destination continue to grow and this new economic impact data illustrates the importance of tourism to our communities.”

Visitors to Kelowna spent a total of $337 million in 2016, a 20.8 per cent increase over the past five years, the report says. There was extreme growth in attraction and entertainment spending from $15 million to $70 million from 2011 to 2016.

The tourism industry accounts for 11,890 jobs in the region, making it the third-largest employer by industry, only behind health care and construction.

Total tax revenues increased 47.9 per cent over the last five years, now amounting to $142 million, the report states. That number can be broken down into $13 million in municipal tax revenues, $49 million in provincial tax revenues and $80 million in federal tax revenues.

The full report can be found on Tourism Kelowna’s website.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Hickman or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

JONESIE: The blurred lines from a surprise guilty plea to murder
  OPINION When Kelowna’s Jay Thomson pleaded guilty Monday to murdering his common-law partner in 2013, justice may have been served, but the truth certainly wasn’t. Without testing any evidence, our u

Top News