CEO, Monica Dickinson, alongside some of our Tourism Kamloops Board of Directors, sat down with 14 of our municipal election candidates. The coffees were about building relationships and digging into a key question: What are your top 3 tourism priorities that Tourism Kamloops and the City of Kamloops should work together on?

The series of coffees took place during September. The one-on-one conversations allowed Tourism Kamloops leaders to truly connect and get a pulse on the understanding of our visitor economy, the role of tourism within our community, and the opportunities for collaboration.  

We are so grateful to everyone who sat down with us and look forward to working with the new City of Kamloops Council.

Remember that every vote counts. Tourism Kamloops is encouraging everyone to cast a ballot on October 15. For more information on voting visit the City of Kamloops website.

The Priorities

Monica posed this question to each candidate:

What are your top 3 tourism priorities that Tourism Kamloops and the City of Kamloops should work together on?

Here are how our candidates responded:

Bonnie Cleland
  • Community Safety – need more connectivity and pathways for cyclists. We need to ensure a positive and safe experience for our visitors to entice them to come back time and again.
  • Housing – at the moment living in a hotel/motel is cheaper than rent. This is challenging both our resident population to find affordable housing and putting pressure on nightly room inventory for visitors.
  • Project Development/Infrastructure – we need to create experiences to elevate our Kamloops brand and destination. Truth and reconciliation and working with Tk'emlúps te Secwe̓pemc to lead storytelling should be a priority.
Daphane Nelson
  • Love putting Community first! Need to create more connectivity throughout the city and build vibrancy for events. Need to activate public spaces and common areas to energize our neighbourhoods and prominent gathering spaces.
  • More bridging gaps with Tk'emlúps te Secwe̓pemc. Infuse Indigenous language and culture throughout the destination. Signage and stops of interest require Indigenous language and perspectives. Look for synergies for tourism development and cultural sharing.
  • More opportunities for recycling throughout the city. Be united in messaging about Kamloops’ commitment to sustainability and greener future.
Nancy Bepple
  • 2030 Winter Olympic Bid & Hosting
  • Reputation Management. Accessibility to Kamloops is a challenge, especially via air. We need to work on air access and new route development. Use “Know Before You Go” communications to help visitor plan for their visits to Kamloops. Need to work on increasing tourism outside of summer and peak times.
  • Leveraging people to spend more money in Kamloops. Focus on “One More Night” strategy to drive incremental revenues. Create bookable experiences that easily confirm activities while in Kamloops. More work on building destination and brand awareness for potential visitors to connect with Kamloops. Encourage repeat visitation. Create more nightlife experiences for 20 – 30-year-olds.
Dennis Geisbrecht
  • Destination/Experience Development – Indigenous experiences, local wineries/wine tours, craft beer expériences. Fun and vibrant attractions and events.
  • Airport Enhancement and Air Route Development. Enhance and beautify arrival and departure corridors so that visitors feel welcomed to our city.
  • Work with regional partners to enhance destination attractiveness and extend visitor length of stay. Wells Gray and Sun Peaks are great examples. Work collectively on a hub and spoke approach to enjoy all the richness of the area.
Bill Sarai
  • More destination and experience development.
  • Enhance our river and water experiences.
  • Create that “one thing” that drives visitation to Kamloops.
Jesse Ritcey
  • Culinary Tourism – unique culinary and agricultural experience development. Examine agritourism within the region and establish interesting experiences to distinctly identify our area. For example: Whispering Pine/Black Pines – develop circle route experiences to unveil the agricultural icons of the area such as Privato Winery and the McLure Ferry. This is stunning experience that need more promotion.
  • Expand Pride Week to make it a destination event.
  • Performing Arts Centre – leverage the unique strengths of Western Canada Theatre and Kamloops Symphony to attract visitors. Elevate the attractiveness to host concerts and large performances.
Mac Gordon
  • Tranquille is the city’s biggest asset for development.
  • Revitalize the sloughs around MacArthur Island to flow clean water. Build a water park on the Island.
  • Develop Rabbit Island as a premier Kamloops beach experience
Mike O’Reilly
  • Developing a program to fund the recreation master plan which includes a performing arts center, two new sheets of ice and a new pool on the Northshore.
  • Start a new airline attraction program similar to what was done in the early 2000’s with the successful “Kamloops wants WestJet” program. We must add new routes to being more visitors to our city.
  • Destination development. We need to have more reasons for people to come to Kamloops and spend more than one night in a hotel while passing through the city.
Stephen Karpuk
  • Partnerships Strengthened. A better understanding of how we can work together and “What’s the dream?”
  • Plan for Development. Tangible benchmarks.
  • Create something that has a ‘wow-factor’ that makes Kamloops unique.
Kelly Hall
  • We need Tourism Kamloops to build awareness and experience opportunities around local tourism.  Bringing attention to all the fantastic tourism opportunities within our City. TK should be a player at the table of proposed events Like the memorial cup partnership with the City and the local committee With the Tournament Capital of Canada moniker lets make that shine. This brings in so many benefits. From Revenue to Exposure.
  • Engage with industry and government to enhance Kamloops. Help mobilize business leaders and influencers for meaningful collaboration around recruitment of Physicians and Health Care professionals. This is a very competitive ask with all communities exploring ways to attract professionals.  We have to differentiate Kamloops from the Crowd. TK has the experience to make this happen.
  • One last item, I see TK can play a bigger louder play in bringing Businesses to our community.  Work along side of Venture Kamloops, BIA’s, and Kamloops Chamber.  We need this community to grow in all aspects. whether its Residence, Commercial or Manufacturing, broadening the tax base to make Kamloops and our lifestyle a community that businesses and families will look at when considering a community to move to. TK can assist in making this happen.
Margot Middleton
  • Opportunities for Youth – sport, facilities, events and gathering spaces.
  • Increasing capacity for clean and light industry.
  • Livability for all – cultural experiences & opportunities, sport and recreation, strengthening the economy.
Randy Sunderman
  • Investment and attraction with Venture Kamloops and the City.
  • Zoning.
  • Nuisance List.
Darpan Sharma
  • Reputation Management – diverse and affordable accommodation for all.
  • Cohesive destination marketing – better brand alignment.
  • Open communication and engagement.
Katie Neustaeter
  • Greater collaboration. This should include an annual plan (created in consultation with additional key stakeholders) that overlays the City's strategies and objectives for attraction (both tourist and long-term skilled labour) with the knowledge, skill set, and goals of Tourism Kamloops to ensure cohesion, synergy, and success. This includes the bidding for, planning of, and successful execution of promotions and events.
  • Infrastructure development. As they have mutual dependency and benefit, when the City builds ambitious capital projects a parallel plan should be created for how assets will be best marketed to attract visitors to Kamloops. The expertise of Tourism Kamloops should play a key role in this and be invited to the conversation about intention, design, and location at the ground floor of planning. i.e.. A Performing Arts Centre, outdoor skating rink, gondola, H2O Park, etc.  
  • An aligned strategy for moving Kamloops from a pass-through (or single night) location to a destination to increase tourism revenue. How can we both best contribute, and what needs to be prioritized and accomplished for it to be achieved?

Mayoral Forum

Mayoral Forum

Interested in hearing how our mayoral candidates answered the question? We hosted them and asked them live in a mayoral forum on September 26. Watch the 1 Hour Forum on our Facebook Page: