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NYSTIA Board Candidate Profile: Penny Peters, Tourism Development Manager for Akwesasne Tourism

Sep 12, 2021

On Friday, September 10, 2021, the Nominating Committee of the New York State Tourism Industry Association recommended a slate of candidates for the 2021 to 2024 term of office. The proposed slate is comprised of 7 candidates, two of which will be new to the board to fill vacancies created by term limitations. Call for nominations were published three times in the month of August in the weekly newsletter.

After discussion and review, the board voted unanimously to endorse the slate to be presented to membership at the Annual Meeting, October 20 to 22 in Chautauqua. Over the weeks leading up to the board election at the Annual Meeting, each board candidate will be profiled to introduce them to the voting members.

Penny Peters, Tourism Industry Development Manager for Akwesasne Tourism - St. Regis Mohawk Tribe in the Adirondack Tourism Region, has been nominated for her inaugural term on the New York State Tourism Industry Association Board of Directors. Her profile is taken directly from her responses to the new candidate profile questionnaire.

Please provide a brief, self-descriptive statement:
I am a Mohawk mother who resides in the indigenous community of Akwesasne. I have always been proud of my native heritage and amazing community, and I enjoy sharing it with others. The opportunity I have been given to work for my community and help develop Akwesasne Travel has been amazing. I also love seeing how cultural tourism can revitalize and strengthen the continuation of traditions for the next seven generations.

Briefly share your role/responsibilities at your organization:
My role with Akwesasne Travel has been to coordinate completion of several planning documents to help guide the creation of Akwesasne Travel and a tourism industry. My current role has been to establish partnerships with tourism attractions, DMO's and major organizations both within our region and internationally. I am also learning to coordinate FAM trips and prepare for future participation in Travel Trade shows to help market Akwesasne. I continue to work closely with our Tourism Business Incubator Manager to develop tour suppliers and attractions. Together we assist entrepreneurs with training, preparation and hosting tours.

Please share with us your previous involvement and/or participation as a member of NYSTIA (Committee service/event participation/etc.):
Since joining the NYSTIA I have participated in numerous webinars, both through NYSTIA and its partners. Akwesasne Travel supported the bid for the Pandemic Recovery and Resurgence grant proposal by providing a letter of support. I am also planning to participate in this year's 2021 conference.
Past webinars I have participated in include:
Clarity in a Time of Change #3: Evolving your DMO to Build Back Better-Miles Media, 6/29/21; Travel and Tourism Marketing Framework for the Ultimate Comeback-NYSTIA, 3/9/21; The Value of DMOs: Best Practices in the Official DMO Websites and Visitor Guides during the COVID 19 Crisis-Miles Media, 2/25/21; Understanding and accessing COVID 19 Relief fort the Travel Industry-US Travel, 1/7/21

Please share with us why you wish to join NYSTIA's Board and how you feel you would add value as a Director:
Since becoming a member with NYSTIA (December 2020) I have been actively following the newsletter, updates and participating in webinars. I have a deep appreciation for the value of our membership with NYSTIA. I also can see the benefit for building much needed partnerships to grow tourism and help with recovery from COVID 19. I feel that being a member of the NYSTIA is the best opportunity for Akwesasne Travel to build these partnerships. Being a board member will not only help me with partnerships but also help me continue my education in tourism. I have heard great things about the camaraderie of the organization and board directors. Although I am still learning about the tourism industry. I believe I can bring a unique perspective to the board as an indigenous person living and working in a native community. I also feel the Adirondack, St. Lawrence and Franklin county have so much to offer and being able to represent this area, to help promote and assist with bringing more visitors. I am a friendly, outgoing person and I have a passion for the work that I do and I will bring this to anything that I am a part of.

Please indicate any other professional affiliations or obligations you may have (association memberships, board memberships, volunteer service, etc) that are relevant to your candidacy:
Akwesasne Travel is also members of the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA) and actively participates in their webinars and conferences. As a new organization we are continuing to build our partnerships to build up Northern NY region and increase visitors. Our unique location and being an international community also enables us to participate in numerous Canadian organizations both in the Ontario and Quebec region as well as with some larger Canadian organizations such as Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada and Destination Ontario. I think this situation will allow me to share some of the Canadian tourism updates with the board.

Other information/observation(s) you would like to share?
I am excited for the future of Tourism and feel that with all the negatives COVID-19 has brought it has also created some opportunities to start anew with different ideas, to think outside the box. I feel more visitors will be looking for meaningful and intimate experiences. Also, many people have started to “discover their own backyards" and enjoy what is offered regionally. I believe New York has a ton of these experiences and would love to be a part of helping guests visit them.

We hope that you will all extend a warm welcome to Penny Peters when you meet her in Chautauqua!