Our 2022 BOLDU Summit set a tone. It unveiled our priorities, our focus, and our direction. We are energized after spending the day with stakeholders, community members, and our tourism partners on April 20. We explored trends, new ideas, and key community issues. This community has learned so much over the last year and setting direction together, in-person, was a powerful opportunity – thank you to everyone who came and contributed to the day.

Missed out? Don’t worry – we have you covered.

We started the day with a call to action from our Mayor. Ken Christian reminded us that there is no small task ahead when we open our doors this coming summer season. He has challenged each of us to take our visitors by the hand and reintroduce them to key activities and attractions, eateries, and accommodations in our community. We all have a role to play.

Jim McCaul from Destination Next took the opportunity to tie that challenge into his presentation on the statistics and trends around tourism recovery. What did we learn?

  • Visitors are planning and gearing up for their biggest travel year yet
  • 70% of people are booking travel even if they may have to cancel/modify their trip before they leave
  • 64% of BC residents feel safe traveling within the province

Our CEO, Monica Dickinson, connected these trends directly to Kamloops and shared platforms and priorities outlined in our new 2022-2027 Strategic Plan. This plan sets the direction for everything we do as an organization moving forward – our community is foundational and the role we play as an important leader on behalf of our local tourism industry. Tourism Kamloops is focused on values-based recovery marketing, destination and experience development, and organizational excellence.

Destination British Columbia echoed this as Alison McKay, Acting Vice President, Destination Management showcased important insights and our provincial DMO’s marketing plans. She reminded us that we need to continue to be proud to talk about BC as a safe destination as we welcome international travelers – and that those international travelers have obstacles that are not just COVID related. They include labour, demand, and capacity. These are issues we need to talk about, combat, and work through collectively as an essential part of recovery.

We started our conversation on those issues right away:

  • We had a special presentation from our first responders and the City of Kamloops to learn more about how they support us and how they want our sector to continue to come to the table to discuss social issues that not only affect our residents but our visitors as well.
  • Go2HR and Venture Kamloops also provided insights and resources available to start helping us support one another as we look to understand the labour market and labour demands. Tourism is a unique sector and together with our partners in the business community we have solid ideas on how to approach challenges to ensure we continue to meet capacity needs.

Of course – it wouldn’t be a day with Tourism Kamloops if we didn’t talk about marketing!

We enjoyed a presentation full of interesting social media tips and tricks from our partner, CrowdRiff. Did you know that ‘photo dumps’ on Instagram are not going away – and can be an interesting way to share all those images you just don’t know how to fit into your grid? 

Katie Burrell took the stage to help set our marketing tone for the year as well. If you haven’t discovered her yet, head to Instagram right away - she screams our boldly unscripted brand. We stumbled upon Katie’s Instagram account in the office and loved the quirky, comedic elements behind her content - we took a chance and slid right into her DMs. Lucky for us she replied! She loved the idea of working with our bold brand - and a partnership was born. We are on the edge of our seats as she creates truly epic content for our destination.

And of course - data! Karen Chalmers, Managing Director of the Symphony research team and TOTA’s marketing team as well as Ingrid Jarrett from the BC Hotel Association both delivered valuable presentations that set our organization up for a data-driven, targeted approach to advocacy, communications, and training.

Our speaker lineup reflected the changing tourism environment. We felt that it would help to prepare each of us and empower us to have brave and bold conversations around issues and opportunities.

The takeaway? 

Reflect on the changes in our community, how they have made us better, and how we can ensure we are positioned as a must-visit destination year after year. We are not shying away from tough conversations and are thrilled to have so many community leaders at the table alongside us. Let’s get to work!