North Okanagan chambers to host federal tourism minister

Minister Mélanie Joly will take part in a breakfast roundtable at Fairways Bistro in Armstrong Thursday, May 23.

North Okanagan tourism operators, and those rural areas, will have an opportunity to discuss the future of the industry with federal Tourism Minister Mélanie Joly.

Joly will take part in a breakfast roundtable Thursday, May 23 hosted by the Armstrong-Spallumcheen and Greater Vernon chambers of commerce at Fairways Bistro in Armstrong. Joly will speak about the new federal tourism strategy and how it will create new opportunities and jobs for the middle class in the tourism sector across Canada.

“We are excited that Minister Joly is visiting the North Okanagan and is taking time to meet directly with tourism operators to learn about their success stories but also what challenges they face as businesses,” said Patti Noonan, executive director of the Armstrong Spallumcheen Chamber of Commerce.

“Tourism contributes significantly to the economic health of the North Okanagan, and it will be important to hear from Minister Joly about federal programs that can assist our members with key issues such as accessing labour and marketing themselves.”

Tourism employs thousands of people year-round in the North Okanagan, with 22,177 visiting parties in Armstrong Spallumcheen, Enderby and Lumby in 2018. The economic impact of the sector in Greater Vernon was estimated at $190,612,325 in 2016.

Related: Tourism aims to put Vernon in travel spotlight

Related: Tourism is economic force in British Columbia with 6.1 million visits: ministry

“The visit of Minister Joly is a great opportunity for our chamber to work with our counterparts in Armstrong Spallumcheen as the benefits of tourism know no boundaries,” said Dione Chambers, general manager of the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce.

“As guests arrive, they may stay or shop in Vernon, explore wineries and farms in Armstrong and Enderby, float down the Shuswap River, hike and fish near Lumby or enjoy the rich culture our communities offer. Opportunities also exist with the rail trail from Coldstream to Kelowna and the eventual link from Armstrong to Sicamous.”

Joly was elected member of Parliament for Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Que. in 2015 and served as minister of Canadian heritage from 2015 – 2018. In 2018, she was named minister of tourism, official languages and La Francophonie. Prior to entering federal politics, she earned an honours bachelor of law from Université de Montréal and ran for mayor of Montreal in 2013.

Registration for the roundtable event begins at 8:15 a.m. and Fairways Bistro is located at 2440 York Ave. Tickets are $15, including a light breakfast, and are available online through the Armstrong Spallumcheen Chamber of Commerce.

Related: Study shows increase in mountain bike tourism in B.C.

Related: Okanagan College accepting students to new Tourism Management Diploma

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