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Tourism Kelowna Economic Sector MOU

New Partnership Aims to Attract Business Events to Kelowna

Canada’s national meetings strategy, which promotes the country’s economic strengths in order to attract business events, is gaining traction amongst mid-sized cities as evidenced this week by the announcement from Tourism Kelowna and the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission (COEDC) new partnership to jointly leverage the region’s key industries to attract new meetings and conferences, and to generate business investment. The partnership was sealed with the signing of an MOU in early December.

“New and big business opportunities can start with a visit to a new destination either on vacation or attending a business meeting or conference,” said Corie Griffiths, Director of the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission. “When business leaders and key decision makers are introduced to new destinations, especially an attractive year-round destination like ours, they begin to see potential and new opportunities for growth.”

The new partnership will initially focus on agribusiness (agriculture, viticulture), aerospace, and digital technology industries, sectors recognized as major economic drivers for Kelowna and the Central Okanagan. The partners will collaborate on regional promotion and sales campaigns and work with leading industry associations and economic incubators like Accelerate Okanagan to market and reinforce the Central Okanagan business advantage to businesses and business leaders. 


Kelowna vineyard


“Business events are a catalyst for long-term economic development,” said Chantal Sturk-Nadeau executive director of Destination Canada’s Business Events team. “It’s exceptionally gratifying to see Tourism Kelowna and the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission embrace Canada’s national meetings strategy. This approach of aligning with regional economic sector priorities is not only effective, but it is also leading edge and we applaud Tourism Kelowna’s and the COEDC’s forward vision.”

The impact of business events goes beyond the immediate economic activity – it can trigger a series of investment attraction events leading to big business opportunities, assist in talent recruitment, and lead to business relocation or expansion projects. The resulting impact of strategic investments in business events and economic development initiatives are often long-lasting and can include further economic sector collaboration; the creation of new partnerships for research, investment, and trade; job growth, and enhanced quality of life for residents.

“Collaboration is the foundation of our work at Tourism Kelowna,” said Lisanne Ballantyne, President & CEO of Tourism Kelowna. “When we recognized our shared mandates, targets, and messaging it made strategic sense to combine our budgets and expertise with COEDC. Together we can now access new grants and federal promotion partners so suddenly an investment amount grows to generate a much larger reach than we could have achieved on our own.”