regional labour force development


The Thompson Okanagan region is a geographically diverse tourism destination that offers a wide range of activities and visitor experiences — ski resorts, golf courses, wineries, restaurants, campgrounds, indigenous and heritage sites, museums, trails, farms and orchards, and much more. The diverse product offering in the region calls for a strong, skilled workforce to deliver exceptional guest services and support tourism businesses.



Regional Labour Force

The tourism industry in the Thompson Okanagan region employs approximately 34,000 full-time equivalent staff. The biggest sector is food & beverage services, followed by accommodation and recreation & entertainment (including outdoor adventures). In 2014, BC’s tourism industry generated $14.6 billion in revenue, and the Thompson Okanagan region contributes about 14%.

Regional Labour Market Projection

By 2020, it is anticipated that the region will have 12,334 full-time equivalent job openings in the Thompson Okanagan region. According to the regional labour study, there will be a labour shortage of 1,626 full-time equivalent staff. The food & beverage and accommodation sectors will be the hardest hit.

Labour Challenges

The Thompson Okanagan region comprises a large number of seasonal businesses, which prevents employers from offering year-round, full-time opportunities to stellar employees. It’s also challenging for employers to entice seasonal workers to return year after year.

For small employers, they may have limited resources and may not have the structure or tools to implement an effective human resource program that can engage employees in the long run.

Lastly, about one-third of the workforce in BC’s tourism industry is between 15 and 24 years old. With 2,500 fewer working-age high school students in the Thompson Okanagan region than five years ago, the youth population is declining. Tourism employers must explore new and different labour pools, and think of innovative ways to recruit and retain staff.

tools and resources

to help tourism businesses recruit, retain and train employees


Recruitment & Retention Resources

Attracting qualified candidates and choosing the right fit will save business owners time and money, but it’s equally important to keep employees happy and satisfied so they work harder and stay longer with the business. Explore a myriad of tips and articles to help achieve that.

Tourism Only Job Board

The tourism job board has more than 1,000 jobs annually from tourism employers in the Thompson Okanagan region. It has a wide variety of positions in all tourism sectors, from front-line to supervisory to executive level. The job board is only for BC’s tourism and hospitality employers and it’s free to post.

Industry Training

Employee training and development has a direct impact on improving customer service, productivity, consistency, staff morale, and sales. Investing in staff training is also a way to keep the stellar staff, making sure the employees are equipped with the right skill sets, certification and training for their positions.

Health & Safety

On average, for every $1 of direct costs of an incident, tourism employers will expend an additional $4 in indirect costs (e.g. overtime for other employees, hiring and/or training a replacement staff, and lost productivity). By focusing on preventing and effectively managing workplace injuries, employers can help keep their employees safe and healthy while saving the company time and money.

Career Explorer

The tourism industry in the Thompson Okanagan region offers a wide range of job and career opportunities. The Career Explorer contains free career resources including profiles, job descriptions, training information and job search tips specifically for the region.

the TOTA + go2HR partnership

Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA) and go2HR, BC’s tourism human resource association, have formed a partnership to address tourism labour market challenges in the Thompson Okanagan region. Together, the two organizations have hired Ginger Brunner as the Regional HR Specialist.

Her primary role is to work with tourism operators and stakeholders in the regionalization of key recruitment, retention and training initiatives outlined in the BC Tourism Labour Market Strategy and the Thompson Okanagan Regional Tourism Strategy, Embracing Our Potential. This also enables go2HR to increase assistance and guidance to tourism employers in the region.

contact us

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GINGER BRUNNER, the Regional HR Specialist, is based in the TOTA office in Kelowna and represents go2HR within the region.