12.29.11 – Executive Director Update

It is hard to believe we are winding down 2011 this week. What is more amazing is all that has been accomplished to keep our State in the tourism business. I am so proud of the accomplishments made by our dedicated volunteers! So many obstacles, so many mountains to climb! But amazingly, we are still traversing that mountain and bowling over our obstacles.

Committee Reports Marketing & Communications Committee
The WTA co-op plan is shaping up for first quarter 2012. We will be reviewing creative ideas next week and have room still available for DMOs and businesses to participate. This is an opportunity to leverage your funding with others to a larger media buy to drive visitors to Washington State and your location. Special thanks to FRAUSE for their pro-bono work with WTA on this project. A very special thanks to George Sharp with Olympia-Lacey-Tumwater Convention and Visitor Bureau for spearheading this on behalf of the M&C Committee.

Long Term Funding Committee
The Long Term Funding Committee continues to evaluate structures and methods of funding. We met with Robin Pollard of the state Wine Commission to learn more of the commission model and to explore the possibilities of it for our organization. We have found that as we analyze different structures and models (in Washington and in other states) there are limitations, constraints, inadequacies, and yet opportunities in each of the different models. We are seeking additional input and insight from those involved in the structure of other states and will begin the process of actually modeling and structuring after the first of the year.

Membership Committee
The committee is continuing their work on increasing membership. We will be hiring a membership sales person in January and the committee will be asked to assist in the strategy and positioning for the new individual. Please let any interested party know that we are accepting applications for this position and all resumes should be forwarded to info@watourismalliance.com.

Summit and Events Committee
I know I mentioned the Summit in the last newsletter, but this is such an important event for the WTA. We want your attendance and participation. The event will be held on April 5th at the SeaTac Hilton Hotel and Conference Center, and we will only have capacity for 800 people. So don’t be left out. The on line registration will be posted in February, if not sooner, so we encourage you to register early. More details to follow after the next Committee meeting on January 3.

Website Committee
January 1 will be a momentous day for the WTA. The ExperienceWa website will become the official property of the WTA. The committee has gone through extensive training and they are ready for the transition to take place.

Other News and Announcements
We are very excited to launch the new Official Washington’s Visitors Guide in March 2012. This year’s guide will be an amazing publication in which the WTA played an integral role serving on the Editorial Board. I want to thank Jane Kilburn and Cheryl Kilday for the efforts. Don’t forget, members of WTA receive preferred pricing for advertising in the Guide. For more information please call Jeff Adams at Saga City at 206-957-2234 ext. 107.

There is one piece of sad news for the WTA and that is that one of our Founders and current Board Chair will be leaving us. The announcement of Tammy Blount accepting the position of President and CEO for Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau took us by surprise. While this is an exciting opportunity for Tammy, we will miss her leadership and devotion to our organization. Tammy was one of the catalysts for the creation of the WTA and without her devotion, her countless volunteer hours, we would not be in the strong position we are today. She will be missed!

Following Tammy’s resignation, Kevin Clark, CEO & President of Argosy Cruises and WTA Vice President, will serve as WTA President until the WTA Board names a replacement. This discussion/action item will be on the January 12 WTA Board meeting agenda. Along withthis announcement comes an open position on the WTA Board for the Destination Marketing Organization representative. We have been in the process of accepting nominations for an open at-large position that was vacated in November, so we are including this new opening in that process. We will be accepting applications for these positions until close of business on Friday, December 30. Please contact Kathryn@watourismalliance.com if you have any questions.

So as I close my last newsletter for 2011, I want to thank everyone for their continued support and kind thoughts. I am touched by the well wishes we have received from our members, our neighboring states, and our friends in British Columbia. We will succeed in our efforts, as we are committed to furthering the tourism industry in our beautiful state.

Kathryn and I wish you and your family the very best holiday season. Enjoy family and friends!

Suzanne Fletcher
Executive Director, WTA