Tourism panel members Mike Overend (Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association, from left) and Angeline Chew and Teresa Durning-Harker (Tourism Vernon) answer questions at the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce breakfast Thursday at the Village Green Hotel. (Roger Knox/Morning Star)

Vernon on pace for record tourism year

Panel discusses tourism numbers, activities at Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce breakfast

Tourism Vernon is on pace for a second-consecutive record-breaking year.

Speaking to Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce staff, directors and members at a Thursday morning breakfast discussion at the Village Green Hotel, Tourism Vernon manager Angeline Chew said her office is off to the best start its ever had.

“Based on municipal regional tax revenues, as of April we are pacing 8.5 per cent ahead of 2017, which was a record year,” said Chew. “That equates to $627,000 more in hotel revenue and a total economic impact from January to April of $32 million. That includes eating, dining, shopping, activities and attractions.”

As Tourism Vernon rolls into the summer season, and with the arrival of smoke from neighbouring wildfires, Teresa Durning-Harker, owner-manager of Durning Directons and Service Ltd., who has provided Tourism Visitor Services for the past 10 years, said her office gets calls on a regular basis asking about the fire situation.

“We’ve had many inquiries regarding the status of the community now and last year,” said Durning-Harker. “The provincial and national media reporting can indicate the city and the area is full of smoke and on fire, and we get many phone calls, both this year and last, from potential visitors.

“Our job is to make sure that we are giving honest, clear information about the status of our city.”

The two women were also joined on the breakfast tourism panel by Mike Overend, destination development program specialist for the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association.

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