KELOWNA – We all know that making sure visitors have the information they need to enjoy their vacation is key to a great stay. Many would say that everything you need these days can be found on the internet, but the 100 plus visitors centres in the province would indicate that spending one on one time with guests is still a very important method for delivering information to travellers.
For many years, TOTA has operated a centre on Highway 97 C known as the Route 97 Visitor Inspiration Centre and it is one of the busiest locations in the province.
Our Manager, Frank Stewart, together with Marla, Darnel, Josh, Emily, Dorothy and Fred are there 7 days a week to provide information and plenty of genuine hospitality to individuals traveling from all parts of Canada, the US, and from around the world. Last year, the Centre welcomed nearly 50,000 people over 5 short months and so far this summer the numbers are up over 15 per cent!
Frank and Marla joined us at the centre 3 summers ago having relocated from Calgary after years in the hotel industry. They have worked hard to make sure that the centre is well managed, spotlessly clean, and stocked with unique gift items that make great souvenirs. Darnel St Pierre, one of two summer students, is with us for his second season, while Josh Bennett has joined us for his first summer. These young gentlemen attend Simon Fraser University and Okanagan College respectively and are both tremendous assets to the team. Emily Baldwin has also been with us for the past two years and prior to that had worked in other visitor centre locations. Emily is very knowledgeable about the area and at anticipating our guest’s needs. Fred and Dorothy Blunden are the newest additions working with us part-time this year and we hope to have them continue in future summers.
This group is there for all the guests that stop in when traveling through the region, but they are also there for you and your business. Take the time to make sure they know about where your business is located and what you have available. If you can, drop by and meet them, and if you aren’t able to, take the time to meet the team at the Visitor Centre nearest to you. They all share information with each other and have a common goal to service our guests and make sure their trip exceeds expectations. This truly makes the BC Visitor Network, financially supported by communities across the province and Destination BC, to be a powerful and important part of tourism in British Columbia.
The Route 97 Visitor Inspiration Centre is open 7 days a week until August 31st and thereafter is open 5 days a week until after Thanksgiving.
Glenn Mandziuk is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Region. He can be reached at email@example.com