Tourists abound on the beaches of Skaha Lake in the summertime. File photo

Travel Penticton gears up for first public TRUE Penticton event

It’s the first time the event will be open to the public beyond the tourism industry

Travel Penticton is preparing for an industry networking event as the group also pushes messaging that, despite regional flooding, the city is still open to tourists.

TRUE Penticton will be entering its third year next Tuesday, but for the first time, the event will be open to the public beyond the tourism industry.

“We’ve got, I think, over 40 exhibitors right now, which is fantastic, and we’ve got people that are pre-registered to come and check it out,” said Travel Penticton executive director Thom Tischik, adding that the event was originally intended to provide a networking opportunity for tourism-related businesses.

“Maybe some of these businesses can work together to make packages, that kind of thing. So maybe it’s, with a hotel property, they can package with a tour operator or an activity operator.”

On top of that primary goal, Tischik says a secondary role for TRUE Penticton, held on June 6 from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre, opens up by allowing the public to visit the event.

“The other thing is that, we haven’t done the last couple of years, is actually (educating) our other tourism advisors, for lack of a better term, and that’s the general public,” Tischik said. “That’s the exciting part, is want people who actually live in Penticton to come down and check out what’s available, whether it’s kayaking or rock climbing or wineries.”

By opening the event up to the public, Tischik says the public will be better guides for friends and family that come to visit the region.

Among the exhibitors at the event, Tischik says wineries, adventure companies, breweries and distilleries will be present, along with various events, like the Peach Festival.

This comes as Travel Penticton and other local business associations push out messaging that flooding in the Okanagan and other areas of the Southern Interior haven’t hit Penticton to any significant degree.

“We all need a healthy economy, here,” Tischik said, adding that the media plays a role in how outsiders perceive the conditions in the city.

“We’re not flooding, here in Penticton. The lake is high, we’re not going to deny that for sure … The city and various agencies are working hard to mitigate any kind of potential damage.”

While Penticton’s beach on the Okanagan Lake is small and shrinking, and the city is encouraging people not to float down the channel, there are still opportunities to bring in tourists.

“Skaha Beach, I was just down there about 15 minutes ago. It’s great. Like, it looks wonderful,” Tischik said. “We have to realize that there’s two lakes in Penticton. There’s the north end, the south end. The north beach is pretty much gone right now, yes. But there’s still the ability to walk on the pathways, the hotels are still open, the restaurants are open.”

Tischik says he hasn’t heard any reports, so far, that businesses relying on an influx of tourism have seen stagnant growth as the tourism season kicks off.

“All we can do is hope that people go further than listening to the fact that there’s flooding and that’s all they hear,” he said.

“People have got a very short attention span these days, and so we’re trying to make it so that they try to get the accurate story rather than just a quick bite that isn’t really the true item.”