For a town that lists tourism as one of its main economic drivers, Penticton seems to have a hard time presenting a united front on this important sector.
The latest rocking of the boat comes with the resignation of Tourism Penticton’s executive director Chris Bower.
Bower’s resignation was delivered to the Tourism Penticton board within days of his first anniversary in the job.
Similarly, the Penticton Hospitality Association is struggling with internal infighting over their election of officers earlier this year; an extraordinary general meeting is expected to be called soon to hold a new election.
Since 2011, tourism marketing in Penticton has been riding a roller coaster as various groups fight over control of available funding, including a nearly year-long supreme court battle between the city and the PHA.
We aren’t foolish enough to think that this kind of office politics can ever be eliminated, but perhaps it is time for a ‘summit conference’ to establish, once and for all, a unified tourism organization to bring some long term stability to the marketing of Penticton as a tourist destination.
Gains have been made over the past year in terms of working together, especially after the city lost its court battle with the PHA, but it is clear there is a long way to go. Too many cooks spoil the broth is the old phrase, and Tourism Penticton, the PHA and the City of Penticton each have their ladle out and are vigorously stirring the tourism pot.
Each group has their own idea of where tourism funding is best spent, and each group has had some successes. Just imagine what might be accomplished if they were all working together all the time.
The tourism roller coaster may be slowly heading down the final length of track, but it seems there are still a few twists and turns left before the ride is over.