Kelowna is the centre of economic and business activity in the Okanagan Valley and is the largest trading centre between Greater Vancouver and Alberta. The economy is reasonably diverse with primary employment sources including manufacturing, construction, health and social services and retail trade, accounting for 46% of total experienced labour force. Major regional emplyers include School District 23, the Kelowna General Hospital and UBC Okanagan.
Major commercial and institutional developments during the last 5 years include Prospera Place, the Grand Okanagan Resort expansion, and the Kelowna International Airport expansion. The $20 million, 6,000 seat Prospera Place multi-purpose facility, accommodating the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League, was completed in 1999, concurrent to the $15 million Grand Okanagan Resort Hotel and casino expansion. The $26 million Kelowna International Airport multi-phase expansion in addition to ongoing expansion at Big White Ski Resort and Mission Hill Winery have contributed an additional $150 million into the local economy since 2000.
The Central Okanagan Valley has gained recongition as an expanding high technology centre and is considered the third largest technology zone in British Columbia following Vancouver and Victoria. The strategic location, between Vancouver and Calgary within an aesthetic setting, combined with the convenient transportation network and a high incidence of retirement.business related in-migration, are catalysts which have provided the region with an expanding economy over the past ten years.