With the new Tourism Kelowna location at city’s waterfront set to open in the summer, we’re getting word that the apparent not-for-profit society is moving forward with plans to sell tickets for activities around the region, both at the new centre and online, despite the fact that it would become a direct competitor to some of its own members who pay a $360 annual entry level fee to become a stakeholder, and who operate ticketing kiosks nearby.
A Downtown Marina kiosk located right next door to the new centre that sells tickets to on-site activities, such as the Ogopogo Parasail and Jetboat Adventures, Downtown Marina’s boat and jetski rentals, Kelowna Flyboard, Kelowna Cruises, Luxury Lake Tours and Maeg’s BBQ Boats, is furious at Tourism Kelowna for wanting to move forward with their new ticketing venture. “Tourism Kelowna has the power now to completely wipe out my company’s profit,” said Luke Weller of Ogopogo Parasail and Jetboat Adventures.
“I pay a premium to have my boats right here in the water at the Downtown Marina and to sell tickets at the on-site kiosk,” said Weller. “Sure, Tourism Kelowna says it will sell tickets for me, but I’ll have to pay a commission. However, they will also sell tickets for every attraction in Kelowna, effectively giving every attraction the same prime waterfront location that I pay a premium for. It’s unfair and puts Tourism Kelowna in direct competition with us, its members.”
Just as upset are OkanaganAdventures.com who will soon be offering online tickets for a number of adventure companies. “Absolutely not, I don’t want Tourism Kelowna to get into selling tickets. It will put Tourism Kelowna in 100% direct competition with me. It would hurt me, the very member they are supposed to be helping.”
This is not a good look Tourism Kelowna. You got your new building approved (amid controversy), however we’re surprised that instead of using this new facility to add additional experiences for visitors such as parties, tastings, demos and the like, you have instead “branched out” only to provide redundant services and hurt your members in the process. We feel that Tourism Kelowna would be able to have more integrity as an informative body if it was not so clearly in the bag for specific commercial interests over others. It cheapens the impression that we wish to make on our visitors.