September 8, 2003






Fall tours, special events and festivals

go forward as planned


KELOWNA, BC – Tourism Kelowna wants to assure tourists and travel industry representatives that there have been very few cancellations or alterations to fall tour packages, special events or festival schedules as a result of the Okanagan Mountain Fire.


“We‘ve had some calls inquiring about the status of our Fall Wine Festival and some of our golf packages,” says Nancy Cameron, Manager of Tourism Kelowna. “We are confirming that Kelowna is open for business.”


“We have some fairly high-profile groups coming to the city in September and we’re pleased that these groups have confirmed their conferences and their support of our community and our economy,” says Leasa Kennedy, Sales Director for Manteo Resort. “That includes General Mills, CIBC Mortgages and the Canadian Council of the Ministers of the Environment Meeting, all of whom are meeting at Manteo this month.”


“We have had calls from tourists concerned about displacing firefighters or evacuees from the hotels,” says Diane Wetherill, Sales Manager at the Coast Capri Hotel. “We’re telling callers that we still have plenty of room and that the best thing they can do for us right now is to keep bringing their business to Kelowna. We have had some cancellations but large events like the International Woodworkers Association AGM taking place at the hotel in mid-September are going ahead as planned.”


All golf courses except Gallagher’s Canyon are fully operational and the Okanagan Golf Club, home of The Bear and The Quail courses, has been doing an outstanding job of accommodating displaced golfers.

 “We’ve had to do a lot of juggling but we’ve been able take overflow groups from Gallagher’s and some tournaments too,” says Kevin Isabey, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Okanagan Golf Club. “Last weekend we hosted the Cindy Hawkins & Friends 7th Annual Charity Golf Classic for Cancer Care normally hosted at Gallagher’s. It was a very successful event and the Okanagan Golf Club donated all of the tournament greens fees (approximately $14,000) to the Fire Relief Fund. As well, Cindy donated half of the tournament earnings to the fire relief effort.”


“On September 11, we’ve got more than 300 delegates arriving for The National Convenience Store Distributors Association convention,” notes Isabey. “If Gallagher’s Canyon hasn’t re-opened by that time, we’ll take care of two small golf components that were scheduled there.”


“September and October are very popular months for golfers in Kelowna and the surrounding Okanagan Valley and this year is no exception. “We have some of the best golf in Canada and the fall is the ideal time of year,” says Cameron.


From September 12 to 14, more than 3,100 competitors from across the Pacific Northwest will converge on Kelowna for the 5th Annual Dragon Boat Festival. The event is expected to draw some 30,000 spectators and will kick-off on Friday night with a concert by the popular band 54/40.


“We have one-hundred and fifty-four 27-member teams registered for this year’s event,” says Kelowna Dragon Boat General Manager Dan Giesbrecht. “We have been sending email updates on the fire situation to all of the teams and they’ve only had one cancellation to date.”


 Another event that is expected to break records this year is the 23rd Annual Okanagan Fall Wine Festival, a 10-day food and wine extravaganza anticipated to attract more than 80,000 visitors from across the province, the country and around the world. There are more than 150 events scheduled October 3 to 12, 2003 – from pig roasts, clam bakes and grape stomps to gourmet dinners, vineyard brunches and comprehensive tastings.  For a complete listing of all Wine Festival events, visit


Situated midway between Vancouver and Calgary, Kelowna is the gateway to British Columbia's Okanagan Valley and is home to the southern interior's only international airport. Kelowna enjoys convenient air connections including direct service from Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Abbotsford, Vancouver and Victoria. A favourable exchange rate makes Kelowna an ideal destination for American travelers and Horizon Air offers four daily direct flights from Seattle. By car, Kelowna is a four-hour drive from Vancouver, six hours from Seattle, and seven hours from Calgary.


For more information about Kelowna and the Okanagan Valley call 1-800-663-4345, email [email protected], or visit  For the most up-to-date information on the Okanagan Mountain Fire, visit