The Event/Sport Development position through Tourism Penticton has commenced, and the new recruit is ready to show Penticton to be “the ideal gathering place” that its name originates from.
After receiving over 70 applications from around Canada, the role was filled by Lisa Navin, who was born and raised in Penticton.
“We have everything to offer in a nice compact area,” she said, adding that she has a rich background in event management and corporate administration. Navin gained some of that experience over the past 12 years in Alberta before moving back to the Okanagan a decade ago.
As a sports fan, Navin said the Vees are her favourite team to follow and she enjoys spending as much time outdoors as possible.
“Skiing, biking, water sports — you can do it all here.”
The objective of the new position is two-pronged — increase the quality and number of visits to Penticton, and entice guests to become residents — especially through sports tourism, though corporate and entertainment events will also be engaged.
“It will enrich what we already have here.”
“Locals don’t have to leave town as festivals and events grow,” said Chris Bower, executive director at Tourism Penticton. “We’re really happy that Lisa’s here; it’s great to be able to hire a local person with her skill set. She was the right person for the job. The way she’s excited about the job itself — you have to love to do the job.”
Beginning at the end of May, Navin was committed to a one-year contract, and the decision on whether or not to lengthen the agreement will be made after a review by council next September.
The role was made possible by a collaborative effort; the City of Penticton is supporting the position with $55,000 in funding out of this year’s economic development budget, and Penticton Hospitality Association chipped in $40,000
“In 2015, budget was allocated towards economic development, in particular to stimulate growth in number of events and participation; leverage it into resident recruitment,” said economic development officer Colleen Pennington. “You’re feeding a much bigger opportunity for the City of Penticton — one that allows us to differentiate ourselves from other destinations.”
“I think this is not only a true example of collaboration, but also teamwork from different departments,” said Coun. Tarik Sayeed.
Among the many attributes, the agreement will allow sport and tourism organizations “to create opportunities for people to come a day earlier or stay a day later,” Mayor Andrew Jakubeit said.