Creative sector study highlights significant growth

July 29, 2019

A new assessment of Kelowna’s creative sector demonstrates major growth since it was last studied in 2010 and an economic impact of approximately $339 million dollars annually. The Kelowna Creative Sector Economic Impact Study was presented by Vann Struth Consulting to Council today, as well as at a luncheon with the arts, culture and business community, highlighting the impact of the creative sector on Kelowna’s economy.

Some highlights from the report include:

  • Kelowna’s creative sector more than doubled in size from 2009 to 2018
  • 1.5 million people per year, or just over 4,000 people per day on average, attend some type of cultural facility or event
  • 3,168 full time employees work in the creative sector, up from 1,279 in 2009
  • 60% of those working in the creative sector are self employed
  • In 2018 alone, 380,000 volunteer hours were contributed to arts, culture and heritage organizations
  • There are 626 creative sector establishments in 2018, up from 342 in 2009
  • The creative sector saw an income growth of 43% from 2009-2018

“The information garnered through this report is essential as we work to update the Cultural Plan,” said Christine McWillis, Cultural Services Manager. “The findings not only showcase rapid growth within the creative sector, but also emphasizes how new media and digital arts are playing an increasing role in economic growth, especially in the number of employees working in the sector.”

The last report of this nature was completed in 2010 providing insights into several aspects of the creative sector. The assessment includes analysis of available statistical data, a confidential online survey, and information from public sources to generate estimates of employment, revenue, and income.

“From a tourism perspective, a thriving creative and cultural sector is an important part of Kelowna’s brand promise,” said Lisanne Ballantyne, President & CEO of Tourism Kelowna. “Travellers are looking to connect with a destination and gain a better understanding of the places they are visiting. This study helps us all better understand how arts and culture contributes to our visitors’ experience and residents’ quality of life.”

The report will be used to inform the 2020-2025 Cultural Plan update along with a number of other supporting documents including the 2012-2017 Cultural Plan report card, data analysis of public feedback through a UBCO Capstone Project, findings from ongoing community discussions on syilx arts and culture, and a Cultural Facilities Master Plan, currently in development by a third-party consultant to prioritize future cultural facility needs in Kelowna.

In addition, the public is invited to review an early draft of the 2020-2025 Cultural Plan vision, guiding principles, key themes, goals and strategies and provide feedback at until August 5.

The full Kelowna Creative Sector Economic Impact Study is available for review at