April 25, 2024

Advancing Business Excellence

Pioneering Corporate Success

ECONOMIC IMPACT OF LOCAL TOURISM INDUSTRY GROWS

LISANNE BALLANTYNE

KELOWNA – A new economic impact study reports that tourism remains a resilient industry and key economic contributor in the Central Okanagan despite recent challenges and has grown to a $2.4 billion dollar industry for our community, an increase of about 14% compared to 2018.

“Tourism continues to be one of the Central Okanagan’s leading industries and contributes to the growth and wellbeing of our economy,” says CEO & President of Tourism Kelowna, Lisanne Ballantyne. “Our tourism industry generates new spending and direct job creation as visitors come and stay at local hotels, eat at local restaurants, and take part in activities at local attractions. The ripple effects of this visitor economy support infrastructure and public services that benefit our city and region. It’s important to note, that as residents we benefit from these businesses, too, and can enjoy these amenities throughout the year, contributing to a stronger quality of life.”

Visitor Spending

Visitors to the Central Okanagan contributed a total of $540 million in total spending in the region, including accommodations, activities, and entertainment and related spending, up approximately 22% from the most recent report.

Jobs

The report shows that tourism directly supported 12,630 jobs, with $598 million in wages, making it the fourth largest industry for local employment. While the total number of jobs saw a slight 3% decline post-COVID, the job numbers are returning closer to 2018 levels. The total wages amount showed a 4% increase.

Tax Revenues

The local tourism industry contributes $226 million in tax revenue, an increase of 11% over 2018. Of that, $141 million is in federal tax revenues, $67 million in provincial tax revenues, and $19 million in municipal tax revenues. These tax revenues go to fund programs, infrastructure improvements, and public services across all levels of government.

“Kelowna’s brand as a desirable travel destination remains strong, and this resiliency is reassuring as we continue to promote Kelowna nationally as a year-round travel destination,” says Ballantyne. “We collaborate with Tourism Kelowna members and industry stakeholders to support their business goals while ensuring we are collectively fostering the sustainable growth of the destination. We commend the hard-working local businesses who offer visitors and residents the quality, year-round services, and exceptional experiences that Kelowna is known for.”

The data is from the 2022 Economic Impact of Tourism in the Greater Kelowna Area, conducted by InterVISTAS Consulting Inc. The report is available on Tourism Kelowna’s website at: 

link