Tourism Kelowna CEO Liseanne Ballantyne sabres a bottle of sparking wine during the opening of the new Kelowna visitor centre in June. The centre saw 108,000 visitors in its first six months of operation. —Image: Alistair Waters/Capital News

TOTA and Community Futures join forces to support Okanagan businesses amid COVID-19

The initiative is to rebuild a resilient tourism industry in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic

The Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA) and nine Community Futures offices across the region have come together to form a task force that’s committed to developing an active and meaningful relationship on the path to rebuilding a resilient tourism industry in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The negative impact of the pandemic on the Tourism Industry has been unprecedented,“ said Glenn Mandziuk, president and CEO of TOTA.

“Building the industry back requires strong and collaborative partnerships that can provide foundational support and out of the box thinking.”

READ MORE: Central Okanagan Foundation invests over $230,000 in local charities

TOTA and Community Futures’ efforts and strategies will be focused on tourism growth, development, sustainability, and long-term resiliency. Ongoing exchange and discussion will facilitate further advancement of best practices relating to the development of sustainable communities and destinations.

Specific joint strategies will target identification and support of business funding opportunities as well as advancing knowledge on the visitor experience, training, employment, and innovation.

“We are pleased to be working in collaboration with other regional Community Future’s offices and the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association, to help move the Tourism Resiliency Program forward and assist our tourism industry in overcoming the challenges presented by the current COVID-19 crisis,” said George Caismar, executive director for the Central Interior First Nations Community Futures Office.

“The partnership between TOTA and Community Futures is very timely,” said Rob Marshall, executive director for Community Futures Shuswap and Community Futures Provincial Board Member.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a dramatic and devastating effect on Tourism Businesses in the Thompson Okanagan. Helping industry recover and become more resilient for the long term is imperative. Our two organizations have come together to implement projects, access needed resources and share best practices to revitalize, support, and grow our tourism sector, during the pandemic and beyond. In short order, valuable synergies have been developed and will certainly result in successful outcomes.”

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Daniel Taylor
Reporter, Kelowna Capital News
Email me at daniel.taylor@kelownacapnews.com
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