Literally millions of tax dollars are being spent every year promoting tourism, trying to attract visitors to help sustain local economies. But there is more than one reason why tourism is down in our beautiful valley.
The first impression we expose those tourists to when they arrive is what must be the biggest and the most obnoxious collection of corporate graffiti.
Visitors find it extremely offensive, and are wondering why our politicians are allowing this to happen.
If we want those tourists to continue to come here, we have to ban all off-site advertising as part of our strategy to promote tourism, and then penalize businesses who do not comply.
A business licence is not a permit to deface the natural beauty of our valley.
Another culprit is noise. Nobody wants to listen to the noise produced by trucks, motorcycles and boats, ripping around with inadequate mufflers, not to mention those late-model and extremely popular flow-through pipes.
Considering the RCMP is our municipal, provincial, as well as federal police, jurisdiction is not an issue, and Kelowna’s city clerk has stated the obvious: The RCMP still have tools to deal with excessive noise.
Pollution is another issue. There is seemingly no attempt made to control the amount of dust that is in the air around gravel pits and construction sites.
Other municipalities have programs in place to address this issue.
Being on vacation and being stuck in traffic for what seems like forever, just to travel a relatively short distance, is also certain to turn people off.
Again, Kelowna is a disaster zone.
With bloody drug wars regularly being headline news, public safety is becoming a major issue for tourists.
When visitors find out that Hell Angels have a corporate office in Kelowna, and that not one but eight criminal gangs are fighting for market share, the natural beauty of the Okanagan valley has lost a lot of its luster.