Convention business on the rise in Penticton

Later this month, the Penticton's population will swell as water and wastewater professionals from around the province converge on the city.

Later this month, the Penticton’s population will swell by 1,400 as water and wastewater professionals from around the province converge on the city.

They’ll be here to attend the annual conference and trade show of the B.C. Water & Waste Association, being held at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre from April 21 to 25.

“Our theme this year is ‘Exploring our Depths.’ There is so much more to the water and waste industry than what people see on the surface, whether it is a reservoir, a lake, the water coming out of a tap or an act of legislation,” said Daisy Foster, CEO of the 4,400 member association. “People don’t realize what goes on behind the scenes to get clean, safe water to our taps and then collect and treat our used water to have minimum impact on our environment. While in Penticton, we will also be talking about our public awareness campaign, Drinking Water Week, as well as the Community Water Challenge. We hope to educate the public about the processes and people behind our water, and the need to value it.”

This large conference is indicative of what is going on at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre, according to Global Spectrum’s general manager, Dean Clarke. Bookings for the PTCC in coming years are rising, and even for 2012, there is a rise in the number of people coming.

“For 2012, it’s a little misleading. What is actually up is the number of delegates,” said Clarke. “It’s not necessarily the quantity but the quality of bookings that is up. We’re up about 10 per cent when it comes to heads in beds.”

“We are delighted to be holding our 40th Annual Conference and Trade Show in Penticton. Our delegates always enjoy this beautiful location,” said Foster. “We are expecting 1,400 delegates, who will share their knowledge and experience on a variety of topics as diverse as climate change, small water systems, and drinking water issues.”

The sales lead time for conventions and trade centre business can be anywhere from two to four years as associations book long in advance. The PTCC, according to Clarke, is now seeing the effects of aggressive sales work over the last few years from the convention centre’s sales manager, Paul O’Beirn, and his staff.

“We’re now starting to see that quality of conventions and, certainly in 2013 and 2014, the quality and the quantity are there,” said Clarke. “It is now time for Global spectrum to show its muster.

Clarke describes the previous few years as a “perfect storm,” starting in 2008 just as Global Spectrum took over management of the South Okanagan Events Centre and the convention centre. Competition was high, he said, with a number of meeting spaces opening in the Lower Mainland in the previous few years. Then the economy tanked and the groups that regularly booked places like the SOEC began cutting travel budgets and looking closer to home for convention facilities.

“The other thing that really affected us was software, like GoToMeeting or Skype. When the travel budget was cut, people really started to invest in this software,” said Clarke, adding that people are now getting back to face-to-face.

“What’s happened now, of course, is that people realize that business really doesn’t get done unless there is a handshake involved and you are face to face,” he said.

While convention centres and similar facilities are not expected to be profitable, Clarke said the PTCC is operating well.

“I’m really proud of where we’ve come in the last three years. No trade centres run at a break even point or are profitable,” said Clarke. “They are designed to be an economic driver and put heads in beds.”

The City of Penticton, along with many other municipalities and the Province of BC, will be proclaiming Drinking Water Week, May 13 – 19. For more information and to take the challenge, visit



Just Posted

This photo of the small wildfire burning above Naramata was taken at 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021 (Monique Tamminga Western News)
BC Wildfire on scene of small wildfire above Naramata

Black smoke can be seen rising from the mountain

Keremeos’ heritage Grist Mill and Gardens. (Brennan Phillips - Keremeos Review)
Keremeos Grist Mill looking forward to restrictions easing with exclusive concert planned

Juno Award-winning folk artist Valdy is set to take the stage

Letter writer says COVID has created lots of newbie cyclists who don't know rules of cycling. (File photo)
LETTER: Newbie cyclists in Penticton need lessons on rules of the road

Penticton cycling group just received city funding, should give back by offering how-to lessons

No dental coverage for low income Canadians. (File photo)
OPINION: Penticton MP’s proposal for universal dental coverage rejected

One in 3 Canadians have no dental coverage, with COVID making it even worse

The weekly COVID-19 map for June 6 to 12. (BC CDC)
South Okanagan sees only 5 new cases in last week

The Similkameen Valley went a second week without any new cases

Bear wanders Kelowna on June 15. (Michelle Wallace/Facebook)
Bear climbs fence, uses crosswalk in Kelowna

The bear was spotted on Baron Road Wednesday evening

Students in the Grade 10 entrepreneurship program at Summerland Unisus School have completed a cookbook with international recipes. (Contributed)
Summerland students create virtual international cookbook

Entrepreneurship program at Summerland Unisus School uses virtual cookbook as fundraiser

Hundreds of people, young and old, joined the three-day Walking Our Spirits Home procession, honouring residential school survivors, those who never made it home and all those affected by the institutions. Here people walk the third portion on June 13. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
Walking Our Spirits Home from Kamloops provides path to healing

First Nations in and beyond Secwépemc territory join in to honour residential school survivors

More flames
Lake Country home destroyed in large blaze, 11 dogs rescued

Fire crews are responding to 10839 Hallam Drive

(Facebook/Kelowna Cabs)
Kelowna Cabs reaches tentative agreement with dispatchers union

The tentative agreement could help end the dispute between the taxi company and the dispatchers

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

A boat sharing service is extending to Summerland. The company, Penticton Boat Club and Rentals, is also taking over the boat rentals at Summerland Waterfront Resort. (Photo by Chris Stenberg)
Boat sharing service extended from Penticton to Summerland

Company will also operate boat rentals at Summerland Waterfront Resort

201 First Street West 1980s. Prior revitalization. (Photo from Revelstoke Museum and Archives)
Man who redesigned downtown Revelstoke honoured with lifetime achievement award

Robert Inwood has worked on historical projects across the province

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

Most Read