Lisanne Ballantyne, president and CEO of Tourism Kelowna, is not originally from British Columbia. Born in Montreal and raised in Winnipeg, she was working in Alberta—most recently as general manager of the Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton— before arriving in Kelowna last year. The decision to move, she notes, was an easy one. “The Okanagan Valley is one of the most beautiful destinations in Canada and a region undergoing tremendous growth.
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It’s a dilemma event planners have been facing since the advent of destination meetings: how to schedule a conference or workshop in a city that offers enough activities that people will want to visit, yet still keep them focused on the event they came to attend in the first place. With the distractingly large amount of enticing activities and natural beauty Spokane offers, it’s unlikely that question will be answered any time soon.
When Nan Devlin became Tillamook County’s first tourism director of Visit Tillamook Coast in 2014, she had one demand: Ban boring meetings!
And she promises that when you meet in Tillamook County, “You won’t be locked inside a sterile hotel complex. You’ll be able to walk around the villages, enjoy great views and great local food, and have outdoor activities at your fingertips.”
When Visit Tri-Cities President and CEO Kris Watkins first came to the Tri-Cities from Bellevue, Washington, to open a branch office for her then employer, she had only planned to stay six months. The lure of the Columbia River, abundant golf and romance (she met her now husband Clark during her initial visit) kept her put. Here are three reasons why meeting planners are also drawn to this southeast Washington hub: