Earlier this year, we heard the news that WestJet will be flying into Penticton.
This new route will begin on Oct. 26 and will provide 12 same day connections from Calgary and an additional nine good connections to all key Canadian markets.
There is also a same day connection to Las Vegas.
The capacity of each flight is 78 people.
While we may think the timing is off given that the main tourism season is passed, it does provide WestJet officials with an indication of whether the regional demand for the route can grow enough through the winter to make it a viable route year-round for the longer term.
As part of a regional economic development initiative, South Okanagan communities are working together to promote this new route and make sure every kind of traveller knows there is a new convenient way to fly to our area.
We’ll be working with local attractions, event organizers, wineries, travel agents and accommodators to reach the tourism market and make sure we publicize all we have available to do during the quieter season.
As well, we want to make sure that our communities know how they can help.
If you have friends and family further east who are going to be happy to see any landscape not covered in snow very shortly, let them know about these flights.
The fares are well priced and it’s the perfect way to celebrate a birthday, anniversary, girl friend spa weekend, Light Up and Light Up the Vines weekend, the holidays, a golfing weekend for your alumni friends in the spring, etc.
We also want the rest of our business community to be aware of the benefits of these new flight options.
Based on the results in other B.C. communities, businesses can expect to see their average cost of travel reduce 25 to 30 per cent when Westjet Encore enters our market.
They can also expect to get a 50 to 70 per cent increase in flight options.
So not only do local businesses save flying time, but using and maintaining the flight and sharing the information with customers and suppliers should put real dollars on their bottom line profits.
All around, it’s great news for people wanting to travel here and for those of us who are travelling away.
Please get the word out to your circles.
We always appreciate your feedback. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or our chamber president, Arlene Fenrich, at email@example.com .
Christine Petkau is the manager of the Summerland Chamber of Commerce.