Hundreds of regional tourism industry leaders to converge on Kelowna next month

The anual Thompson Okanagan Tourism Summit is slated for the Manteo Resort at the end of October.

Tourism stakeholders from across the Thompson Okanagan will gather in Kelowna next month to give a major boost to their $1.7-billion industry.

The annual Thompson Okanagan Tourism Summit will give those in industry a direct view of what’s trending with travel consumers, as well as market analysis with the release of new research looking at the B.C. and Alberta tourism markets.

In a bid to support the industry in the region, the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA) has focused on destination development and is implementing a 10-year tourism strategy designed to improve the region’s standing as a “world-class” visitor destination.

The two-day summit, which will include the TOTA annual general meeting on Oct. 28 at Manteo Resort, will feature with Destination B.C. presenting its “Winning Together” road show. The session will be open to all tourism stakeholders.

The keynote speaker, Daniel Levine tourism trend analyst and director of the Avant-Guide Institute, is expected to set the stage for this year’s conference.

According to TOTA president and CEO Glenn Mandziuk, this summit’s theme – Exceeding Expectations – will build on the momentum of the tourism strategy and current growth in the development of visitor experiences, relationships with communities, and routes-and-corridors – all of which is create a more vibrant industry with significant growth targeted to extend the travel season.

Previous Summits have attracted close to 200 tourism leaders from communities throughout the Thompson Okanagan region. Tourism businesses expect to benefit from the experts in trend and research analysis, as well as representatives of the provincial and national destination marketing organizations who will have new programming information available.

Other speakers will provide insights and case study examples of how operators can benefit from connecting to their communities and what is trending at that time.

The summit will also provides a number of opportunities for tourism leaders to network, say organizers.

“The annual summit provides that face-to-face connectivity we need as an industry to create and develop long-term relationships with each other and learn how to navigate the road ahead with this ever changing industry,” said TOTA board chairman Michael Ballingall.

TOTA represents more than 3,800 tourism-related businesses across the Thompson Okanagan region. Its evolving role with destination development will round out the marketing and industry activities TOTA has traditionally done.

in addition to that work, TOTA also helps to arrange travel-media coverage worth millions of dollars each year for regional communities, promotes stakeholder awareness of industry best practices, works with the provincial and local governments on industry planning, assists local tourism stakeholders benefit from provincial tourism programs, and provides information to stakeholders, travel media, visitors, and tour operators through its website totabc.org.