Vernon tourism services goes mobile in face of pandemic

Tourism goes mobile

Vernon tourism is going mobile.

Tourism Vernon will be helping visitors and members of the community explore the North Okanagan both virtually and in-person through its enhanced digital presence and travelling promotion team.

"We have learned a lot of valuable lessons over the last several months, including how resilient we are as a community, and how we need to – and can – adapt to frequently changing circumstances," says Mayor Victor Cumming.

"Tourism and hospitality has been the most impacted sector in the North Okanagan from the COVID-19 pandemic. The changes we are making for the coming year are aimed at supporting the efforts of local tourism providers, with a focus on modern, agile marketing and promotion that can be adapted as necessary to meet the rapidly changing conditions."

The Vernon Visitor Information Centre has been closed since April 3 due to pandemic restrictions on non-essential travel. Revenue that Tourism Vernon relies upon for operations has declined significantly.

"Promoting Vernon and its tourism and hospitality businesses must be one of the top priorities as the sector moves towards recovery," says Cumming. "With fewer resources, the tourism commission and city council have carefully considered how our investments will be most effective next year, and how we can reimagine our visitor servicing to showcase Vernon, meaningfully connect with visitors and residents, and continue offering exceptional customer service."

Council has decided to continue the visitor centre closure through 2021 and has reallocated $65,000 toward digital and mobile visitor services to offer more accessible information and personal interactions within the community.

Those funds will enhance the Tourism Vernon website, launch a new app and a virtual map.

"A new on-location visitor servicing team will also be activated, travelling to a variety of popular Vernon locations throughout the spring and summer, to provide effective and timely support for visitors and residents looking for information," says the city.

"The Tourism Vernon social media channels continue to be a hub of activity and inspiration for world class four-season recreation, relaxation, reenergizing, and wellness opportunities across the Vernon area. Tourism Vernon uses these channels to showcase outstanding accommodations, food and beverage, attractions, and unique experiences in our great area."

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