PENTICTON - Leaving Tourism Penticton was a hard decision to make but the executive director says he is giving the group lots of time to move someone new into the role.
Departing executive director Chris Bower says leaving his position in Penticton is 'a hard one.'
“I really enjoyed my time here. Tourism Penticton and the city have some great people,” he says, adding his time with Tourism Penticton gave him an excellent opportunity to be involved in destination marketing. “I was able to contribute my experience, and I learned at the same time.”
The decisive issues between Penticton Hospitality Association and the city that resulted in a lawsuit last year have been reconciled and all organizations involved with tourism are working together successfully, he says.
Bower says most of Tourism Penticton’s budget comes from the city, but they are also able to leverage funds by working with local partners, allowing them to do things they might not otherwise be able to do on their own.
Bower points to the recently produced regional cycling map as one example of a promotion the group couldn’t do on their own.
In addition to looking after the visitor centre Tourism Penticton works with the Penticton Hospitality Association, the city’s economic development department and Wine Country Chamber of Commerce to promote tourism. Bower says the mix of players involved in tourism in the city all have a different focus. They work together on common goals, while Tourism Penticton’s primary focus is about bringing visitors to the city, and guiding them when they get here.
The latest effort by the organization to promote tourism in the city involves a collaborative effort with Murray GM to assemble a mobile visitor centre that can travel to event locations throughout the city and provide on the spot tourism information for visitors.
Bower feels Tourism Penticton is still ramping up it’s potential for bringing tourists to the city. He says 2014 was the best year for tourism in the city since 2008, and so far this year is on pace to meet or exceed 2014 numbers.
Hired in June 2014, Bower wanted to give the organization plenty of time to recruit someone, in addition to giving him time to make sure everything was in place for the new hire. Bower expects to be moving on sometime in early September, but has some flexibility on his departure date.
“I can’t say where I’m going, but I will still be living here,” Bower, a long-time Oliver resident, says.
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