More than 120,000 sandbags were laid down to protect Penticton beaches during the flooding crisis, which Travel Penticton said was one of the factors that affected tourism throughout the region last summer. Western News file photo

Travel Penticton pushing for unified voice in TOTA

Thom Tischik hopes the regional group can combat tourism woes from wildfires with a unified message

The head of Travel Penticton wants to see a more unified voice from travel associations throughout the region when facing issues like wildfires and flooding from the past summer.

That’s the message Thom Tischik said he will be taking to the Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association after getting elected to a director’s seat this month.

Related: Penticton is open for business

“I was quite thrilled about that; I was quite delighted to go onto that, because I think it’s a great way for us to, in Penticton and the South Okanagan area, have representation on the board,” Tischik said.

“Of course, on those kinds of boards, I have to be as globally thinking as possible, and TOTA ranges from Valemount right down to the border, so it’s a large region.”

Tischik was elected to the association’s board of directors during the group’s annual general meeting this month, which he said means the South Okanagan will be gaining some sway on the 15-member board.

Related: Tourism affected by smoky skies

“If there’s an issue that happens, say, in Blue River, which is part of the region, I have to also be aware of those kinds of things, and not just pushing our agenda,” he added.

One of the main issues Tischik said he would like to focus on is the impacts of disasters like wildfires in B.C., which affected tourism throughout the province this summer.

“How we work with dissemination of information, how we work with media, how everyone is collaborative and co-ordinated in messaging, and how we all work together between communities, municipal governments, marketing organizations, private sector, how we all are on the same kind of page when we have to deal with these crises that inevitably will come up,” Tischik said.

“We need to have some kind of plan, and we would also want to have that plan to integrate into Destination British Columbia as well, with how their messaging is done.”

Related: 2017 now worst wildfire season in B.C.

Though Travel Penticton was active with the media on pushing messaging that the city was open for business during the flooding and wildfires, Tischik said a lack of co-ordination throughout the region may have affected the efficacy of their message.

“We all know there has to be a change and a strategy put in place, so as I said we need to co-ordinate with TOTA, with our DMO (destination marketing organization) here, with Osoyoos, with Kelowna potentially if it comes to that.”


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