A tourism initiative that will help restart local economies in the South Okanagan has made its way up to Peachland.
The South Okanagan Tourism Alliance (SOTA) was formed as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact in the Okanagan. SOTA’s website will list South Okanagan communities that have notable places to visit in each township. The SOTA site will also link back to each municipality’s local tourism website, with individual pages that can act as visitor guides.
Darci Ritchey, manager of the Peachland Visitor Centre, said to her knowledge, the City of Penticton and the Town of Osoyoos came up with the idea.
“They wanted to bring communities together to help bring tourism dollars back into the communities. Obviously, at a slow and safe pace and right now, with more of a focus on being local,” she said.
“The focus right now is on B.C. residents, but eventually we’ll expand our horizon as things get safer. It’s an alliance and we’re working together.”
Peachland council supported the move to fund the district’s participation with SOTA during the July 14 meeting. Ritchey said they’re excited to participate in SOTA despite technically being part of the Central Okanagan because as a smaller community, they try to use what they have to get their voice out there.
“I just want to share the community with other people. A lot of people don’t know about this hidden gem and it’s really lovely and I think we have a great opportunity.”
Ritchey said SOTA has been recognized by Destination B.C. and the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Alliance, which she said will help to boost the alliance up.
“It doesn’t matter if we’re involved with something in the South Okanagan. When people come from the Connector, we’re the first right (off the highway).”
“The idea is to ‘make the right choice’ and go into Peachland.”
She said she doesn’t know if SOTA will still exist once things stabilize again, but she hopes the alliance will be a long-term project for the region.
Other communities participating in SOTA include Summerland, Penticton, Osoyoos, Naramata, Kaleden, Okanagan Falls, and Oliver.
The website will be live in mid-August.