The Okanagan Valley is within reach of a regional market that exceeds nine million consumers within a range of 600 km, equivalent to a one-day trip by road. More than 56 million consumers are located within 2,500 km by road and less than 3
hours by air.
Construction, retail and wholesale trade, healthcare and social assistance industries in the Kelowna census area employ more than 36,000 individuals accounting for 40% of total employment. Another 18,500 individuals, or 20%, are employed in professional services, educational services and accommodation food services industries. This industrial distribution of employment is in general similar to that for all of British Columbia. More than 30,000 jobs in Kelowna are in industries that are highly dependent on the transportation network.
With reasonable proximity to major coastal and inland ports, the Central Okanagan area is well-positioned for trade. While transportation of goods through the area does not represent a major proportion of vehicular traffic, good quality infrastructure helps maintain the competitiveness of the region, particularly for the distribution of agricultural and manufactured products.
Supported by the area’s climate, natural beauty, vineyards, craft breweries, distilleries and related culinary sector, tourism is a major economic driver for the region. According to a 2011 study done for Tourism Kelowna, visitor spending in Kelowna and area amounts to over $279 million per year. The provincial highway provides vital connections to local road networks and even to the airport, which greeted a record 1.6 million passengers in 2014.
In 2014, employment in Kelowna amounted to approximately 91,500 jobs, which, despite a dip in 2012 and 2013, is 17% higher than in 2004. This 10-year rate of employment growth is greater than the 14.5% experienced by the
The economic outlook for the Okanagan is positive, with more than 70% of employers anticipating a period of growth over the next five years. The annual rate of growth in the Central Okanagan workforce is forecast by employers to be 3.1%.