Tourism Kelowna CEO Lisanne Ballantyne says 2017 was a “rebound success story for tourism in the city. —Image: Alistair Waters/Capital News

Despite floods and fires, Kelowna tourism stayed the course in 2017

Tourism Kelowna says overall, 2017 was on par with previous years for number of visitors to the city

Tourism Kelowna says despite the challenges presented by the flooding and forest fires last year, plenty of people still visited Kelowna and area.

Overnight visits to the area remained strong throughout 2017 despite the weather-related challenges said the tourism organization in a news release Friday. Kelowna and area saw continued growth and development with visitors coming for a vacation or to attend a meeting, conference, or event.

“This is a rebound success story. Weather-related challenges aside, 2017 proved to be another year of growth for Kelowna and area,” said Lisanne Ballantyne, president and CEO of Tourism Kelowna.

“Our tourism businesses work hard to offer exceptional experiences throughout the year. These experiences are a major draw for Kelowna and the reason that hotel occupancy levels remained steady in 2017.”

Hotel occupancy during the summer months remained strong, but did not match 2016, while the final months of 2017 saw year-over-year growth in hotel occupancy numbers, including September (+0.3 per cent), October (+2.7 per cent), November (+2.6 per cent) and December (+2.2 per cent).

Overall, 2017’s year-over-year hotel occupancy remained virtually on par with 2016, dropping just 0.3 per cent from the high recorded in the city in 2016 at 64.1 per cent. Since 2012, Kelowna’s hotel average occupancy levels have risen from 51.8 per cent to 63.7 per cent per year.

“We know that the weather had an impact on local accommodators,” said Sean Coward, president of the Kelowna Hotel Motel Association. “We still saw visitors come, but some may have chosen to shorten their stay. Kelowna had a very strong year in 2016. To see that our 2017 hotel occupancy numbers kept pace with that growth is a sign of a strong and desirable destination.”

He said the industry is optimistic the growth will continue in 2018.

One of Tourism Kelowna’s tasks is to drive overnight visits to Kelowna and the surrounding communities throughout the year.

In 2016, more than 1.9 million visitors came to the area and spent $337 million dollars. Overall, the tourism industry contributes more than $1.25 billion to the overall regional economy and provides nearly 12,000 jobs and generates $142 million in tax revenues.

Tourism Kelowna’s goal is to welcome three million visitors annually by 2021.

To report a typo, email:


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

UPDATE: Okanagan air quality index poor due to smoke

Index for entire Okanagan Valley rated at 10+, or very high risk, because of wildfire smoke

Child dies in boating incident on Kal Lake

A North Vancouver family was boating on Kal Lake when the incident occured

Kelowna city councillor ‘ready’ to run, but not ready to say for what office

Tracy Gray has a city-focused webpage up seeking support but hasn’t ruled out Tory nomination bid

The Bank of Montreal’s Kelowna branches add Pride flag to lobbies

The bank is taking a step for solidarity, one colour at a time

Google Street updating Kelowna pictures

Specially equipped vehicle, with 360-degree camera mounted on the roof, seen downtown

A look at B.C. wildfire smoke from space

NASA provides a timelapse of smoke covering B.C. from space

B.C. Wildfires 2018: Province calls for federal aid

More fires have burned in B.C. already this year than did in all of 2017

Kayak in Indian Arm waters off B.C.’s Deep Cove and feast on famous doughnuts

About a half hour drive from Vancouver, Deep Cove is a great kayaking spot for locals and tourists

Child, 4, attacked by cougar near Fernie

The BC Conservation Officer Service said it happened while the family was fishing

Penticton RCMP trying to locate a missing man

Sheridan Graham was last seen Aug. 11.

Trans Mountain pipeline protesters practise resisting police at Camp Cloud

Last week, a Supreme Court judge granted the City of Burnaby an injunction ordering protesters to remove everything from the site

Gun used in Fredericton killings is legal, man had licence

Police Chief Leanne Fitch said the long gun is commonly available for purchase, and is not a prohibited or restricted weapon

Ontario will sell pot online when legalization comes in the fall

There are further plans to have pot in private retail stores in early 2019

Woman missing after car swept away by mudslide near Cache Creek

A search is now underway for Valerie Morris, who has been missing since the afternoon of August 11.

Most Read