Ratio Coffee co-owner Andrew McWilliam (left) and Mayor Akbal Mund indulge in a City of Vernon donut to kickoff the tourism season (Pete McIntyre/Beach Radio News photo)
A special pastry was part of the official kickoff to the tourist season in Vernon, as part of National Tourism Week.
Ratio Coffee House co-owner Andrew McWilliam created a donut with a City of Vernon logo, which he says was a hot seller.
McWilliam says his shop — and the downtown — draw tourists to Vernon, just like the beaches and golf courses.
“People are going to certain shops to get unique items that you can’t get anywhere else on their trip, so I think it’s more than just a beach stop. For sure, people are shopping and having fun in downtown Vernon,” McWilliam told Beach Radio News.
McWilliam says his store tries to treat everyone special, including visitors.
“I think for a long time, there has been an attitude of, the tourists are here, and it’s going to be busy and hectic. And I just say, we want to welcome tourists, and invite then come to our shop and have fun. We’re going to host you like you’re at home here,” adds McWilliam.
Tourism is one of the primary drivers in Vernon’s economy, with over 36 million dollars spent on accommodations last year.
“We want people to know, tourism isn’t just about hanging around at the beach, which it is a little bit about, and playing golf, but visit the local shops because that’s what drives the local economy, and that’s where we want to see people,” says Mayor Akbal Mund who joined McWilliam, and city staffers Kevin Poole and Nick Nilsen is chomping down a City of Vernon donut.
Tourism is a growing industry in BC, generating $17 billion in revenues in 2016.
The industry employs over 133,000 people in 19,000 businesses across the province.