“We will hit the ground running this year on execution,” said Diana Stirling, chair of the Tourism Penticton Society, during their annual general meeting this week.
“When you see us executing this year, we are not going to be doing it alone. We will truly be working with other groups and stakeholders in tourism to execute and bring everything together this year,” she said.
It’s critical, she said, to work with other groups like the Downtown Penticton Association, the Penticton Hospitality Association, the city, chamber of commerce and the Penticton Indian Band.
At the end of the day, she said, tourism stakeholders all want the same thing, to increase revenue or profitability.
“We want to make sure that we have more visitors coming to our business or purchasing our product or service,” she said.
Chris Bower, who took over as executive director in spring 2014, said Tourism Penticton needs to refine it’s plans to make the best use of their limited budget.
That starts, he said, with closing the gap between marketing and visitor services.
“We really can’t do a flashy campaign. We really need to focus on the experiences,” said Bower, who noted that 76 per cent of travellers are likely to go online after their trip and comment on the experience.
One group Bower said Penticton needs to focus on having a good experience is the people coming to the GoMedia conference this fall.
GoMedia is the flagship conference for the Canadian Tourism Commission and draws Canadian and international bloggers, writers, editors and broadcasters from CTC’s 11 key markets to hear insider tips from top Canadian travel businesses.
“There are going to be 125 people coming to write stories,” he said. “A big part of our focus is going to be making sure they get the information they need.”
Stirling said 2015 is about being inclusive, not exclusive and set a high goal for success.
“Every single tourism stakeholder in Penticton needs to step up, show up and in turn, become involved and then show us what we can do as well,” she said. “If we are sitting here an year from now and we have not made significant strides in working together and becoming unified across all of those groups, then I really truly believe we will have failed.”
The society members also voted to change their bylaws and add two new appointed directors to their board, for a possible total of 13 directors. Two of those directors are already appointees, representing the City of Penticton and the Penticton Indian Band.
The two new appointees, both voting, and serving one-year terms, are to come from tourism-related organizations, bringing special knowledge to the board as needed.
Kerri Milton, executive director of the DPA, announced results of electronic voting for the 2015 board of directors, noting that 28 per cent of the members cast a vote.
Laura Hunt (Global Spectrum); Sheila Perepolkin (Sandman Inn); Rob Appelman (Lakeside Villa); Diana Stirling (Loco Landing); Cameron Smith (Joy Road Catering); Ian Macdonald (Liquidity Winery) and Lisa Baxter-Burke (Hillside Winery)
Chuck Loewen and Travis Kruger will continue in their appointed positions, representing the City of Penticton and the PIB, respectively.