Since its inception in 2011, the Oliver Tourism Association has worked to provide Visitor Information services to promote tourism in Oliver and Area C in order to bring more visitors to the area, support local businesses, and encourage return visits and even relocation. We have done this as a volunteer‐working board of directors and minimal paid staff with the financial support of the Town of Oliver and the Regional District of the Okanagan‐ Similkameen (RDOS). In accordance with the Fee for Service Agreement, our focus has been to:
Operate the Oliver Visitor Centre
Manage the website (winecapitalofcanada.com)
Design/publish/distribute the Oliver Experience Guide
In the past three years we have also assumed full responsibility of managing/executing the region’s signature event, the Festival of the Grape and the Sister City program. (This event expected to generate $50, 000.00 per year in profit… inserted by editor)
Through leadership and support, the Oliver Tourism Association fosters and promotes responsible authentic tourism experiences year round, motivating travellers from near and far to visit sooner, stay longer and return more often.
To become a proud four‐season destination of choice for visitors from around the world seeking inclusive, engaging and authentic experiences. In order to achieve our mission and vision, and for the benefit of our funding partners and overall community development, the Oliver Tourism Association (OTA) Board of Directors believes that there is a need to address additional tourism initiatives. Below is a list of the priority tourism initiatives and activities that the OTA would like to address in the next 1‐3 years.
Complete the work necessary to submit an application for the Municipal & Regional District Tax (MRDT) program
Increased brand presence and recognition for “Canada’s Wine Capital”
Develop a new comprehensive and user friendly website for Oliver Tourism
Maintain and promote a Special Events calendar for Oliver and Area “C” Strengthen relationships/partnerships and the development of new experiences to market with the Venables Theatre, Coast Hotel, Area 27, Mount Baldy and the Osoyoos Indian Band
Highlight existing “farm‐to‐table” culinary experiences within Oliver and Area “C” and develop new Agri‐ tourism experiences
Increase the number of year‐round experiences including outdoor adventure activities and fringe season special events
Explore opportunities to maximize the use of the space at the Visitor Centre for additional revenue generating attractions i.e. Bike rentals, Patio Café, Interpretive Salmon Walking Loop
Our current financial picture does not allow for us to address the above initiatives in earnest. Currently we could implement no more than one new item per year, primarily because we need to have an employee dedicating their time to these initiatives in addition to the Visitor Centre Coordinator and the volunteers who manage the association. Some of the initiatives listed above could prove as ways to increase the bottom line of the organization on an annual basis. We would like the Town and the RDOS to consider increasing the financial support for OTA, either through a multi‐year Fee for Service Agreement or with shorter term funding to execute some of these initiatives. We currently receive a total of $56,000 from the Town and RDOS Area C. We would like our funding partners to consider a 20% increase to the annual fee for service, plus a one‐time grant of $15,000 in 2020. This increase in funding would assist with the OTA securing a Tourism Manager that would focus on the MRDT application, website development and branding and management of all activities of the OTA.
Budget for 2020 – Progected Income $408 thousand and expenses at $411,000.
Carol Sheridan Treasurer, Oliver Tourism Association
Source: Agenda material for Monday meeting, letter and budget of OTA