Tourism has performed well in Vernon during the pandemic, according to Tourism Vernon's five-year strategic plan.
"Despite the economic uncertainties of a pandemic, Vernon continues to see a boom in tourism visitation and revenue. Vernon persevered and over-performed through the pandemic," the tourism body says.
"Tourism Vernon is entering the next five years with a sound foundation of accomplishments, partnerships, assets, and growth to celebrate. The future of tourism in Vernon is bright, with strong industry and sectoral support, a resilient community, and a diverse range of experiences that attract visitors year-round."
"The local tourism economy has remained strong through the winter months," and the new strategic plan will set Tourism Vernon's direction, goals, and priorities through 2027.
"The local tourism sector is ready to raise Vernon's profile as a premier destination in the Okanagan Valley. Tourism Vernon's 2023-2027 strategic plan intends to guide our actions in capturing Vernon's market share of a growing tourism sector," the organization says.
The report stated Vernon's strength "is in our small-town charm, laid-back lifestyle, and four-season experiences."
It also noted "Vernon is a less-stressful alternative than our southern neighbour."
However, it also said Vernon has to overcome the perception "that we have less to offer than our neighbours in Kelowna."
The five-year plan has been updated to include insights from research and a series of stakeholder and public engagements.
Key findings include changing traveller preferences and behaviours toward the familiar, predictable, and trusted.
Group travel is trending, with a significant shift from couple travellers to travel with friends and families. Multiple-bed, shared accommodations are in demand.
Global trends include more independent and self-guided travel than ever, shorter and more frequent trips, and travel planning closer to departure. Flexibility is more important than price, and multiple destinations in one trip are more common.
Expedia travel trends from 2022 reveal 45% of travellers want recommendations for locally-owned businesses and restaurants; 43% want information on how to engage with local cultures and communities; and 42% want recommendations for destinations that support Indigenous culture and heritage.
Tourism Vernon will host its industry conference April 13 at Predator Ridge.
It will include panel discussions with local leaders about key issues facing Vernon's tourism sector, the future of climate change and its anticipated impact to tourism, and more.
"The future of tourism in Vernon is bright, with strong industry and sectoral support, a resilient community, and a diverse range of experiences that attract visitors year-round," Tourism Vernon says.