After more than a year of constant change, Penticton Tourism finally has a full board of directors once more.
Miranda Halladay of Elephant Island Winery, who was elected as chair of the new board, says it’s a tremendous step in the right direction for Penticton’s tourism future.
“I think that the framework that is in place really does a great job of recognizing the diversity of tourism stakeholders in the region and represents them in a correct way,” she said.
Besides Halladay, the executive of the new board includes Sally Pierce (Global Spectrum) as vice-chair, Chuck Loewen (City of Penticton) as treasurer and Alex Long (Ramada and Coast Hotels) as secretary. Sitting as directors are: Diana Stirling (Loco Landing), Cameron Smith (Joy Road Catering), Sheila Perapalkin, Laura Carleton (Challenge Penticton), Leslie Gabriel (Penticton Indian Band), Lori Pike (Township 7 winery) and Robert Appelman, (Lakeside Villa).
“From a day-to-day perspective, the operations have continued through the changes that have happened at the board level over the past year,” said Jessie Campbell, CEO of Penticton Tourism. “However, now having a complete board of directors for 2013 is steering the ship in the most positive direction for tourism industry stakeholders.”
In November 2011, Penticton council awarded the contract to provide tourism, economic development and visitor information services to the new Penticton Business Development Group. Previously, the Penticton Chamber of Commerce handled the contract for these services. Shortly after the announcement, however, the Penticton Hospitality Association expressed concern that hotel and motel owners were not consulted about the change. As a result, operators voted against allowing the PBDG to handle the approximate $425,000 fund generated from the additional hotel room tax.
Since then, Penticton and Wine Country Tourism has continued working to maintain the area’s tourism profile and services, but now has a full operating structure again.
“There was some flux last year in 2012. And so I think the most positive and exciting thing for staff and the board is that we are now completely in place and able to move forward with all the planning that did take place last year,” said Pierce. “Now it is time for implementation of that planning.”
Campbell said Penticton Tourism is well positioned to promote the area in 2013.
“That said, the changes we have gone through over the past year, in the long run, are going to be incredibly positive for Penticton, and engaging a really collaborative tourism community where all stakeholders are pulling in the same direction,” said Campbell.
At one point last year, the plan was to have six of the seats on the board reserved for members of the PHA. Halladay said it is now a very representative mix of interests.
“I think the more perspectives and voices we have at the table, the stronger the board will be,” said Halladay. “I think the makeup of the board as it stands does a really good job of representing a quite diverse slice of Penticton and Wine Country tourism stakeholders.”