After not much longer than a year on the job, Chris Bower, the executive director for Tourism Penticton, is leaving.
The resignation has not been officially announced, but Bower admitted the rumour was true when the Western News questioned him about it.
Bower, who started working for Tourism Penticton on June 23 last year, turned in his resignation at the end of June this year. His official final day is Sept. 11, but Diana Stirling, chair of the Tourism Penticton board, said Bower was being flexible about the date.
“If we need him for longer, that is not an issue, if we need him for less time, that is also not an issue,” said Stirling.
Bower said he can’t divulge his reasons for resigning.
“I can’t really discuss it at this point,” said Bower. Stirling, however, said Bower was moving on to a new job.
“He has another opportunity in front of him that we are happy for him to pursue,” said Stirling.
Bower’s final day (Sept. 11) comes just two weeks before Penticton plays host to the GoMedia conference, starting on Sept. 27 and bringing Canadian tourism partners from across the country together with top travel media from around the globe in Penticton.
“Without a doubt, GoMedia is one of the most significant events and opportunities to happen for Penticton,” said Stirling, noting that there is a team in place to handle the Penticton side of the event, which is the Canadian Tourism Commission’s flagship annual conference.
“Together with the entire team we have absolute confidence that there won’t be any hiccup with Chris’ resignation and GoMedia,” said Stirling. “To say we have the best tourism resources on the team … is an understatement.”
Bower said that if he is needed, he will stay on for the GoMedia conference, but expects the board to have a new person in place by then.
“We are getting everything together and I am making sure that when I do leave, I am not leaving anything hanging,” said Bower.
“We are going to be filling the position with a short-term contract, in hopes that person would then apply for the executive director role,” said Stirling. “It gives us all the confidence and peace of mind that there will be no gap at Tourism Penticton. There will be someone in place before Chris’ last day with us.”
Stirling said they don’t have a particular person in mind to take on the short-term contract, but the board has reached out through their network and will be posting the position shortly.
Bower said he is confident Tourism Penticton is in a better position than when he started, which Stirling agrees with.
“We had a lot of doors that had closed and we needed someone to come in and open them up. We have a strong relationship now with the chamber, the Penticton Hospitality Association, the Downtown Penticton Association to name a few,” said Stirling. “Those doors had effectively closed. He did a really good job of doing that in the past year.”
Stirling said Bower’s departure shouldn’t negatively affect tourism marketing for the community.
“I do not see any bumps from a tourism perspective, I actually see strength,” Stirling said. “We have grown stronger in the past year.”