This past November and December our industry team hosted 5 “Mug ’n Muffin” engagement sessions with over 26 industry partners across all sectors of tourism. Our sessions were held at various partner locations and brought together a diverse group for each session.

The sessions were presented with leading questions inspiring open conversation, industry insights, and collaboration.

 

Several themes came from the conversations:

Key challenges facing tourism businesses:
  • Environmental Turbulence - Fires, floods, and the ever-looming presence of a pandemic have tested their resilience.
  • Rising Costs and Labor Shortages - Navigating through increasing costs, labor shortages, and high staff turnover have become a daily juggling act.
  • Supply Chain Blues - The ripple effect of supply chain disruptions has unfortunately led to a depreciation in product quality.
  • Travel Bans and Insurance Struggles - The travel bans over the summer hit hard, and high insurance rates continue to add to the challenges.
  • Social Concerns - Break-ins, thefts, and difficulties retraining volunteers are pressing issues the community faces. 
Innovative Solutions and Success Stories:
  • Adaptation to Environmental Challenges - Interestingly, indoor businesses have found a silver lining during the smoke and wildfire impacts.
  • Tech-Powered Accommodations - The integration of AI technology in accommodations is a game-changer, providing solutions during labor shortages.
  • Digital Marketing Focus - A shift towards digital marketing has broadened our reach, attracting global visitors to explore all that Kamloops has to offer.
  • Collaborative Approaches - From innovative damage deposit strategies with hockey teams to workforce development initiatives, Kamloops is on the move.
Areas where Tourism Kamloops can support:
  • More Family-Friendly Marketing – Partners found our marketing strongly reflects our outdoor spaces but sometimes misses highlighting all the family-friendly activities available. There was also talk about supporting bike organizations in building youth mountain bike experiences to continue to grow the sport and passion in Kamloops.
  • Stakeholder Engagement – Partners valued these engagement sessions and would like to see more of these as well as industry-specific collaborative meetings and one-on-one sessions with Tourism Kamloops representatives.
  • Content Sharing and Collaborations – Partners are excited to see more collaborations with TRU, TteS, Sports Council and the City of Kamloops for destination development and events.
  • Information Accessibility – Opportunity for more innovative solutions in sharing what is all available for visitors. Ie. Small stickers on mirrors in hotel rooms with a QR code to events and dining suggestions.
  • Off-peak visitation – Support for building off-peak visitation. Ex. Winter weddings, winter carnivals, Riverside park skating rink etc.
  • Provincial Challenges and Labor-related Costs - Address provincial government impacts and grappling with labor-related costs require our collective attention. Minimum wage, liquor tax, etc. Advocate for a streamlined taxation system to alleviate the burden on businesses.
  • International Recruitment and Health Benefits - Explore bulk discounts on international recruiting and group health and dental plans for stakeholders are potential solutions.
  • Indoor Facilities and Event Planning - Explore solutions for indoor sports facilities supporting the development of professional athletes in our key outdoor recreation pillars. Eg. Mountain biking, climbing, etc. Collaborate with event contractors for large-scale events that support off-peak visitation.
  • Destination Development – Acknowledge and support solutions for the gaps in infrastructure, maintenance, and support.

These Mug'n Muffin Roundtable sessions shared valuable insights shaping our strategic planning and visioning. Looking ahead, we are planning to host these interactive sessions every 2 months. If you are interested in participating in a future engagement session, please email lisawhite@tourismkamloops.com.