Editorial: Tourism needs united front

Time for groups to unite over tourism marketing for the good of Penticton

It seems some hidden curves have just showed up in the roller-coaster ride that is tourism marketing in Penticton.

Instead of fighting about who gets the front seat, it’s time for someone to put the brakes on this ride, which has split Penticton’s tourism marketing efforts in two. Tourism Penticton, the city and the Penticton Hospitality Association need to come together to represent our community to the world’s tourists.

After allowing the split to happen last year, this week city council returned control of the two per cent hotel room tax, intended for tourism marketing, to Tourism Penticton, breaking a five-year contract with the PHA in the process.

The roller-coaster started in 2011, with a series of ups and downs and behind closed-door wrangling until July 2012, when the PHA was given sole charge of the $450,000 collected annually through the two per cent additional hotel room tax while Tourism Penticton was funded by the city’s contribution of $324,000.

Ongoing questions about whether the PHA was making good use of those funds finally resulted in city council deciding the conditions of the contract weren’t being met.

No doubt there is a legal battle coming as the PHA contends they were getting the job done. But putting the legal ramifications aside, the job of marketing Penticton is better done by a single organization that offers the advantage of a unified vision, and a consistent marketing image to sell the community to tourists.

Whether it’s the PHA, Tourism Penticton or some hybrid of the two, it’s time for the bickering about who gets which seat to stop.

Let’s hope the roller-coaster is finally returning to the station, and marketing this community can get back on a straight track. But don’t be surprised if there are still more curves hidden ahead.