Tourism groups working amicably towards union

Penticton’s two travel entities will soon become one.

Members of Tourism Penticton and the Penticton Hospitality Association met with members of the city’s Committee of the Whole yesterday, July 4, to discuss the two groups’ progress towards a merger as a new travel group to be known as Travel Penticton.

Penticton Hospitality President Barb Haynes says the two groups have been working cooperatively together to rewrite bylaws for the the new travel society, which are now in the hands of lawyers for review.

Working cooperatively hasn’t always been the case for the two groups. A clash between the Penticton Hospitality Association and the city four years ago for funding and administrative control was resolved in a lawsuit, but since then, the two groups appear to have buried the hatchet and moved on in a more collaborative effort.

Haynes says a working group consisting of board members from both groups continue to discuss visitor centre layouts, services and branding of the new group, with budget discussions on the horizon.

Haynes says the hospitality association and Tourism Penticton will be calling individual meetings at the end of this year’s tourist season to dissolve their present societies. In early 2017 an Annual General Meeting of the new organization will vote for half the members of a new working board, with half the seats to be held by members appointed from both groups.

She says the vote to create the new Travel Penticton Society has already taken place, with a new society to be formed in the next two to three weeks.

The two groups are also working out a new hotel tax rate, currently recommended at two per cent. Tourism Penticton Chair Jessica Agur says both boards would have some work to do to prove to members they needed any more.

“In the past it has been suggested money was not well spent, so why should we be asking for more? We need to prove we’re doing a good job. It’s not viable to ask for more,” she says.

This year’s hotel tax is expected to generate around $500,000.

The two groups will provide council with a semi annual report on July 18.

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