The Trail of the Okanagans, a proposed walking and cycling path, has great potential as part of a regional marketing strategy.
Initially a proposed Summerland trail, the concept has grown to become a regional trail, extending from Sicamous to Osoyoos.
It has gained support from many communities.
Creating the trail will be a significant task, since there are many communities and regional districts involved.
However, the potential benefits will outweigh any difficulties along the way.
For tourism businesses, especially those close to the trail, the advantages are easy to see as travellers will stop in many places along the way.
As a result, the trail must be seen as a benefit for the entire region rather than for any one community alone.
The idea of cooperative regional marketing makes sense, especialy in an area such as the Okanagan, where there are many smaller communities.
While each community will continue to take on its own individual tourism promotions, adding a regional component has the potential to reach many more people than individual efforts alone.
A similar marketing strategy, on a smaller scale, is already in place locally as Summerland’s Bottleneck Drive wineries do much to promote themselves as a group.
The cooperative marketing, in addition to each individual winery’s efforts, has helped to promote all member wineries.
There are also some regional tourism marketing efforts already in place in the Okanagan. These showcase the valley as a whole, offering many options for visitors.
Expanding on such efforts by adding valley-wide attractions and visitor opportunities has the potential to draw significant numbers of tourists.