Kelowna doesn’t have to stand on the sidelines when FIFA World Cup 2026 comes to North America.
During a stop in Kelowna on April 6 federal Tourism Minister Randy Boissonnault said Canada is welcoming the world for an event bigger than the Olympics.
“I know that Kelowna is going to be smart enough to pull people over the mountains and get them out of Vancouver when their games are done and show them the time of their lives.”
Games will be held in Vancouver, Toronto, 11 locations in the U.S. and three cities in Mexico.
Boissonnault said hundreds of thousands of people will be coming to B.C., and cities ought to look at attracting them into their backyards.
“I know that Okanagan Tourism and Tourism Kelowna are ready to do just that.”
The minister also pointed out that Edmonton and Calgary are bidding to host the 2030 Commonwealth Games and Vancouver and Whistler will host the Invictus Games in 2025.
“With all that you have and all that you can offer the world, we need to make sure that when compressing people into a big centre we’re pulling them to Kelowna.”
Boissonnault added the federal government has a role to play in getting ready for FIFA 2026, such as faster turnarounds on visas.
“You’re not going to come from Columbia to attend the game in Vancouver if it’s going to take 400 days to get your visa.”
FIFA World Cup 2026 takes place from June 11 to July 19, 2026.