Tourism Kamloops Municipal Candidate Survey

The purpose of the survey was to measure how Kamloops 2018 municipal candidates believe the tourism industry impacts our city. It aimed to measure their support for a thriving tourism economy in Kamloops and to understand how they will be positive tourism advocates on City Council.

Candidates were made aware that survey answers would be shared with the Tourism Kamloops board and staff. They were also made aware that survey answers may be made available to other tourism stakeholders and the public.

Distributed: Tuesday, October 16 AM

Due: Thursday, October 18 AM

10 out of 23 candidates responded. These are there responses*:  


 What is your knowledge of Tourism Kamloops and its role in the city? If elected, how would you ensure the City of Kamloops and Tourism Kamloops work together to increase tourism to our region?

Do you believe that Kamloops has sufficient infrastructure and attractions to be considered a desirable tourism destination for leisure travelers and business travelers? What, if any, projects would you like to see City Council explore to ensure our tourism industry thrives?   

Kathy Sinclair

Tourism Kamloops is responsible for destination marketing for our city. The organization works hard year-round to showcase Kamloops to new visitors and ensure a positive experience. Mayor and Council are ambassadors for our City. They set the tone for our community’s brand and the City works to bring new events to Kamloops. It’s vital to have the two organizations working in tandem so that both may be responsive to opportunities that arise. I believe the current relationship between the City and TK is very positive, as evident in partnered destination events like the new Buskers Festival.

I believe Kamloops has many attractions to attract tourism -- the trick is in getting people here. It is still for the most part an undiscovered gem. Part of Kamloops’ charm is that it is not the most common destination for coastal and Alberta visitors, and it’s off the beaten track -- which is why the Boldly Unscripted branding works well. A few ideas City Council might explore to ensure tourism thrives                                                           
• continued focus on the Tournament Capital brand - bringing in more tournaments such as the BC Winter Games and the 55+ Games
• enhancement of the Tournament Capital brand through destination arts, entertainment and food festivals such as the Buskers Festival, Brewloops, Ribfest, etc.
• encouraging a performing arts centre to bring in touring acts (live music, theatre, dance), drawing tourists from throughout the TNRD and boosting the local hospitality economy - this may include facilitation, collaboration, tax incentives, funding
• encouraging a convention centre with greater capacity so that Kamloops can host larger conferences - this may include facilitation, collaboration, tax incentives, funding
• continue to encourage the agritourism sector (beer, cider, food, wine)


Ken Christian

I have been a strong supporter of Tourism Kamloops as well as TOTA and Tourism Sun Peaks. I believe that we do better as a collective supporting the region and all it has to offer.  Through my involvement as President of the Airport Authority I have worked to increase capacity and and options.  For the future I see Eco Tourism and Cultural Tourism as potential new market shares. if elected I will ensure solid Council representation with TK

I believe we have good solid well-run properties in Kamloops but Rocky takes up a fair bit of our supply and we need additional surge capacity to be successful when we peruse other large marquee events.   I support the Hot Night Rib Fest partnership and feel we could use that event to leverage larger numbers and longer stays.  We need to peruse shoulder season sport tourism and we must work with the Sports Council, TRU and SD 73 to coordinate our collective efforts.  I am also of the opinion that we could do more with TtS and the salmon run as well as with Wells Grey

Alison Klie

I personally don’t have much knowledge about tourism in Kamloops but I believe that the best way to move towards becoming a more desirable tourism destination is communication. I am eager to learn more about the industry and find out where we sit when compared to neighbouring cities. Tourism Kamloops and city Council should be working together to look into what other successful cities have done and try and emulate that as well as look for new and creative opportunities to expand our desirability as a destination. 

 I believe that Kamloops has enough infrastructure for the amount of tourism we are drawing in now but if we want to grow we will need more. I would like to see a revised performing arts centre, I was a supporter of the original plan and still believe we need a new live event location. I also support the idea of expanding our recreational tourism by adding additional disc golf and pickleball areas. 

Dennis Giesbrecht

Communication is key between Tourism Kamloops and city hall.  I would like to know more about the initiatives at Tourism Kamloops and how city programs can improve, feed and grow each other.

I would like to see more infrastructure geared toward tourism, namely a quality RV park with easy access to our sports and cultural events. I would also like to add festival to our tournament capital plan.

Dieter Dudy

Tourism Kamloops’s role primarily is to exploit both our natural attractions and our world class facilities to leisure and business travelers. In my estimation it has done a superb job in selling Kamloops as a destination to visit and recreate in. As a Council we would need to build upon the strong relationship we already have and partner in projects that shows the world what a jewel we have in Kamloops. Tourists could easily become residents bringing further positive impact to our overall economy.

No, I don’t believe we have sufficient infrastructure to be considered a desirable tourism destination. We lack focal points which draw residents and tourists alike. It’s not enough to have a downtown with shops and restaurants, every city has that. We need large scale draws like a Performing Arts Centre, a Public Market, a world class museum and cultural centre to name a few. People visiting our city need to carry on after having experienced Kamloops not just simply laying over.

Stephen Karpuk

I know that Tourism Kamloops is an organization that represents the local tourism sector and the City of Kamloops. I know that the city supported Tourism Kamloops with $250K last year. I know that the total economic spin-off from last year in our local area economically was about $449 million dollars. I know that Tourism Kamloops works as destination marketers. I know that Tourism Kamloops won the award over the summer for best Travel online Video for the #YKA360 campaign. I was present at city hall when the “Boldly Unscripted” video was shown to council (quite loudly if I recall). Personally, I like the new brand and I think it will help promote our Tourism opportunities into the foreseeable future. Overall I see Tourism Kamloops as the city’s leader in strategic planning and development for our Tourism economy and the innovations that will promote Kamloops as a valuable place for travellers to visit and enjoy. When I am elected to Kamloops City Council on October 20th, I plan on bringing an open mind and support for Tourism Kamloops. I believe our role at City Council is to support staff, city departments and organizations that seek out innovations and exploring new ideas. I believe our success will be from defining our opportunities and promoting as unique, fun and worthwhile. Tourism Kamloops is well suited to that role and I will support their goals and plans as a City Councillor.

I believe that City Council needs to work on building infrastructure and business opportunities (flexible zoning, reducing red tape, etc.) that support the needs of the economic drivers, like Tourism. I believe that we can increase our local and regional tourism by building a convention/multipurpose centre to take advantage of the business demand for such a facility in Kamloops. I believe it was reported that over 200 events were turned away this year already due to lack of facilities to accommodate them in Kamloops. I was present a city hall when Rocky Mtn Railtours announced their intension to double their ridership by 2022, from 100k guest to 200K per year in Kamloops. We will need to work with our Hospitality sectors to expedite the construction of hotels and motels in Kamloops to meet this challenge. I know we can. There are lots of other ways and ideas we can bring to reality that will help Kamloops Tourism grow and support our community, but I want to focus on one that I feel is vital to our success more than all others. The homeless and drug addicted people in Kamloops. I believe we need to clean up our act or we will never realize our potential for Tourism in Kamloops. Our current model of “handouts” does not work. We need to use the “hand-up” model. The prolific offender drug addict model that makes the person accountable for their treatment and assistance has proven effective in the past and we need to re-implement it. Our homeless also need to be accountable for the assistance they receive as well. As a city councillor I will strongly and actively lobby our provincial partners to adopt these models of social assistance and crime reduction. We need our city to be safe and welcoming at any time of day to our citizens, as well as, our visitors. We deserve it and our future growth opportunities depend on this happening. I welcome your support on October 20th and I thank you for the opportunity to answer your questions. Please see my website for more ideas and information about me.

Gerald Watson

Tourism Kamloops is predominantly funded through hotel taxes (about 1.5 million in 2017), and a direct grant from the city of $250 000.  It serves to market and promote Kamloops as a tourism destination in domestic and international markets.  I have several clients who operate hotels in the city and they speak highly of the work Tourism Kamloops engages in.  I would have an open mind to any proposals from tourism Kamloops and view it's relationship with the City as a partnership.

There is not much in Kamloops proper to attract tourists to our City.  I think the Canada Games Pool should be more of a water park style facility.  I would encourage developing more fields to facilitate more tournaments in keeping with the tournament capital theme.  

Denis Walsh

This past term on City Council I have been proud to represent Council as a member of the Tourism Kamloops Committee. Having been on the TK Board for the past 4 years, I feel a have a very good understanding of the value and  importance of tourism as a key economic driver in our community and region. I definitely would ensure City maintains the excellent relationship we have with TK and lobby to maintain our current level of financial support for this valuable asset to our community. I have seen Tourism Kamloops evolving into a very efficient and positive leader in helping to create a more vibrant, thriving, and proud community.

I believe Tourism Kamloops is maximizing the value of our current infrastructure and attractions, however I do see a need for additional tourism destinations and products. I believe Tk should hold a “Blue Sky” vision process to explore what could be possible to make Kamloops an even more desirable and thriving tourism destination.
My most favourite idea, is to lobby both CN and CP to allow and sponsor the 2141 Heritage Railway Tours to do a daily run with the steam engine passenger train to Savona and back, on both side of Kamloops lake, if possible. I believe this is a big idea that would put Kamloops on the international tourism map, which would also have a very positive economic effect on the community of Savona. If we allow ourselves to dream big, with a bit of patience and persistence, good things will happen,

Mike O'Reilly

Through my roll as the business attraction manager for Venture Kamloops I had the opportunity to work side by side with Tourism Kamloops to help sell and promote our city. Tourism is one of the biggest, non-government, economic drivers of our city and this cannot be forgotten. I feel that the city, along with other agencies including Tourism Kamloops, Venture Kamloops, Kamloops Innovation Center and TRU, should collaboratively promote Kamloops as a place to plan a holiday, invest and live. 

Kamloops could definitely use more infrastructure to attract tourists. I believe that the project that will have the biggest impact on tourism, and most likely to move ahead, is a performing arts center. The PAC will help continue to develop Kamloops as a destination and not just an overnight stop while travelling.  I would also like to continue fostering the relationship with Rocky Mountain Rail tours to have their gusts stay more than one night in Kamloops. I believe that if their guests had an opportunity to spend more time in Kamloops they may be more inclined to make our city a destination for a future holiday. 

Corally Delwo

 I think that Tourism Kamloops is active in promoting the city to attract tourists into the area. I only have knowledge of what I have used the site for. I do believe that tourism is a huge part of our economy and will always support it. I will also educate myself on what rolls you play in the community. When I’m elected I will work closely with many organizations such as tourism Kamloops to have open communication, collaboration and creative thinking to build a vibrant and attractive community.

I think kamloops has some amazing attractions such as our wineries, surrounding lakes, and golf courses. I do feel we need to encourage more development all the way around but we also need to have developers bring in more tourist attractions. I would love to see a massive water park built as well as a performing arts center.


*answers were not edited. Answers were copied and pasted directly from candidate emails.