Penticton's two tourism groups vote to look at joining forces

Penticton Hospitality Association president Barb Haynes, left, and Tourism Penticton chair Diana Stirling speak to the Tourism Penticton Annual General Meeting, Friday, March 18, 2016.

PENTICTON - The boards of the Penticton Hospitality Association and Tourism Penticton have mandates to look at uniting into a single organization following resolutions from both memberships during their Annual General Meetings this week.

Penticton Hospitality Association president Barb Haynes says membership agreed to explore the possibility of creating a single entity with Tourism Penticton.

“The city is also a piece of the puzzle, as they fund the tourism budget, so they would be in conversation with us in support of the action we take,” she says.

“Both (tourism) organizations have a strategy going forward, so we will continue to implement our own marketing plans and organizational strategies we have already created," she says.

Once they have established a new governance structure, and decided what the new entity will look like, they will register and create the new organization. Both groups will continue to operate until they can merge into one.

Haynes says the Hospitality Association’s members have expressed frustration at the number of brands representing tourism in the city.

“(The two groups are) not necessarily working together. It’s causing confusion for the visiting public and that’s not something we want to do. We want to be unified. We want to work together and with a vision. I think our purpose is all the same,” she says.

Tourism Penticton chair Diana Stirling posed a similar resolution at the organization’s Annual General Meeting this afternoon, March 18, and the members voted in favour.

Some preparation in anticipation of a "yes" vote from both groups has already been done by the city. Negotiations will now formally begin.

An update on the progress toward a new tourism body is scheduled for April 11.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad at or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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