Wine Tourism Significant Contributor to the Economy With $140 Million In Economic Impact in BC
Upcoming 33rd Fall Wine Festival Celebrates Local with Iconic BC Chefs & Winemakers
KELOWNA, BRITISH COLUMBIA – SEPTEMBER 23, 2013: Wine festivals and wine tourism contribute $140 million in economic impact annually to the Okanagan as more consumers are purchasing British Columbia premium wines and attending an array of unique events focused on gourmet wine and food, arts and education. Recently voted the top interior festival by BC Living Magazine and best BC wine festival by the Georgia Straight, the Fall Okanagan Wine Festival has been ranked among the top 100 events in North America by the American Bus Association for over a decade.
Festival fun and wine tourism also generate a serious economic impact according to a research report released by the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society, the British Columbia Wine Institute, and the Okanagan School of Business at Okanagan College. The findings in “Okanagan Wine Tourism Industry Economic Impact Report” saw over 1,400 full-time jobs in tourism and tourism-related employment.
Okanagan wine festivals and wine tourism by the numbers:
“This study really validates the importance of wine tourism to our local economy and how the Wine Festivals and its 100+ member wineries have been successful in engaging consumers in unique and authentically British Columbian wine experiences year round and directly yielding increases in the sale of wine, food and accommodation,” said Dr. Blair Baldwin, Professor at the Okanagan School of Business at Okanagan College.
Eric von Krosigk, Chair of the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society stated, “This study is welcome news and underscores the belief that wine tourism is a terrific economic driver. And what better time to announce these results than at the start of the 33rd Fall Okanagan Wine Festival. The fall season, with its warm days and cool nights is an ideal time to visit the Okanagan with the grape harvest well underway and something for everyone from the wine enthusiast to the newbie. Our events range from large consumer tastings to intimate wine and food gatherings, but they all have one common theme – authenticity and interaction. You get to meet the characters behind the wine and experience wine country the way it’s meant to be enjoyed in a fun and social atmosphere.”
“Our wine industry contributes more than tourism revenue and jobs – it’s a source of pride,” said BC Premier Christy Clark. “Festivals like this are a great way to highlight some of the Okanagan’s and the world’s best wines, and I encourage everyone to check it out.”
“The wine sector has become a critical component of the tourism experience in the Thompson Okanagan region and as major advancements have been made in the industry we’re really seeing the Valley as world class in offering exceptional culinary and wine experiences at the cellar door,” said Glenn Mandziuk, Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association CEO. “In particular, the Okanagan Wine Festivals Society has truly excelled at promoting the Thompson Okanagan as an international ‘bucket list’ destination. With their unique events situated in the heart of Canada’s breathtaking wine country, they are consistently identified by major media as a ‘must see’ and we’re proud to be a partner with them.”
“The British Columbia wine and grape Industry is a significant driver to the provincial economy contributing billions of dollars in economic impact, jobs, taxes and tourism,” says Miles Prodan, President, BC Wine Institute. “BCWI member wineries are active participants in the provinces’ wine and cuisine tourism product offering with the Okanagan Wine Festivals offering the premiere consumer events in the Okanagan.”
Indicative of the maturing of the B.C. wine industry, the popular Fall Okanagan Wine Festival is now in its thirty-third year, and with over 150 events throughout the Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys, it runs October 4-14, 2013. The 10-day Fall Wine Festival offers sensory delights that span the Valley’s unique terroir from the Canada-US border to Kamloops, all while the autumn wine harvest celebrations are in full swing. It’s a fabulous way to celebrate all things local, enjoying B.C. wine and cuisine directly from the source, providing the perfect wine experience for every palette. Savour the terroir and taste the dishes of iconic chefs at the numerous Signature and winery events. The festivities kick off with the Annual BC Wine Awards Reception on October 3 and wrap up at the Valley First Grand Finale Consumer Tastings on October 11 and 12. Event and ticket information is available at www.thewinefestivals.com.
About Okanagan Wine Festivals Society
The Okanagan Wine Festivals Society is responsible for the development of the wine tourism sector in the interior of British Columbia. It is well known for producing two annual valley Okanagan Wine Festivals in spring to celebrate the bud break and in fall to celebrate the grape harvest. Its Winter Okanagan Wine Festival is run in partnership with Sun Peaks Resort near Kamloops. It is also responsible for Signature Wine Events and two annual wine judging competitions. www.thewinefestivals.com
About Okanagan College
Okanagan College is one of British Columbia’s largest public colleges, serving more than 20,000 people a year. It offers a wide variety of programs, from degrees to developmental programs, with major campuses in Salmon Arm, Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton.
About British Columbia Wine Institute
Since 1990, the BCWI has played a pivotal role in taking BC's wine industry from a vision to an internationally recognized niche region producing premium wines and providing quality wine tourism experiences. Representing 133 member wineries throughout the province, the BCWI supports and markets the Wines of British Columbia (BC VQA), which gives consumers assurance they are buying a wine that is 100% from BC. The BCWI also markets the Wine Regions of British Columbia; delivers quality trade, media and consumer tastings; and acts as the voice of BC's wine industry by advocating to government on behalf of its members. Find more at www.winebc.com.
For media inquiries, please contact:
Lori Pike-Raffan, Public Relations Director, Okanagan Wine Festivals Society
[email protected] / 604.808.6655
Allan Coyle, Director Public Affairs, Okanagan College
[email protected] / 250.862.5413
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