Kelowna's mayor expects city will be tourism hot spot this summer

Get ready for the tourists

After 15 months of adhering to COVID-related shutdowns, lockdowns and restrictions, British Columbians are ready to let their collective hair down.

And, with summer coinciding with a lifting of many restrictions and a return of visitors from across the country, Kelowna's mayor says the city is in for a "very busy summer."

"Surveys indicate that people aren't quite ready to travel south of the border or internationally, so they are going to be staying closer to home or within their own country," said Mayor Colin Basran during a one-on-one interview with Castanet News.

"That means Kelowna is going to be the Canadian hot spot in terms of places people want to visit. So, while we certainly welcome people to our community, I think that's going to create some challenges for sure."

Those challenges revolve around a need for the tourism industry to rebound after a devastating 15 months and a desire for people to be aware we are still in the midst of a pandemic.

"If you are visiting here, please be mindful of the fact we are still dealing with a global pandemic and, while things may be easing, please be careful, please be respectful.

"This is not a place to just come and party and trash the place then take off to your own home."

Basran says he understands the fact people are tired and ready to break loose but adds that needs to be done respectfully.

"Treat Kelowna like it's your home and hopefully everybody will have a really good time. I know our hospitality industry is welcoming this as they should , and we certainly would support them. But, we ask anybody visiting here to be respectful."

Basran says it's hard to know exactly what to expect or how the summer will play out, but says police and bylaw are ready for whatever transpires.

"We are doing the things that we can within our control, but at the end of the day, it's hard to control human behaviour. That's why the messaging is important. Whether it will be listened to or not is another story.

"But, it's hard to regulate human behaviour."

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