Background: During the 2018 legislative session, E4SSB 5251 was passed by the legislature and signed by Governor Inslee. This new law creates a structure for implementing a statewide tourism marketing program. While the program itself will be executed by a private, non-profit organization, there is a new board within the Department of Commerce that will have oversight for the program. This entity, the Washington Tourism Marketing Authority (WTMA), is made up of nine representatives from the tourism industry and four legislators. In addition, there is an advisory committee to the WTMA that is primarily composed of government officials.
The program is funded by both state general fund monies and other match monies. Those monies can be from the private sector and other non-general fund state sources. Matches can also be in-kind donations such as the Washington Hospitality Association’s travel guide.
Under the new law the WTMA has specific duties. It is authorized to enter into a multi-year contract with statewide nonprofit organization in existence on the effective date of the law whose sole purpose is marketing Washington state to tourists. The Authority board will not execute the plan but rather will oversee it. Secondly, the WTMA is authorized to contract for the evaluation of the impact of the marketing program. The WTMA must pay the administrative expenses to the Department of Commerce. Finally, the WTMA will determine what qualifies as a match.
The new law outlines the scope of the marketing program to be executed by the contractor. It includes focus on “rural dependent counties, natural wonders and outdoor recreation opportunities of the state, attraction of international tourists, identification of local offerings for tourists, and assistance for tourism areas adversely impacted by natural disasters.” (E4SSB 5251, section 6 (a)).
Qualifications of WTMA Board Members. The new law has some very specific qualifications for WTMA board members. The nine tourism related members must have expertise in the industry and related businesses. Specific industry segments are noted in the statute and they include hotels, restaurants, outdoor recreation, attractions, retail and rental car businesses. However, members are not limited to these industry segments. In addition, the board must be geographically and ethnically diverse and represent both small and large businesses.
Appointment Process. Legislative appointments are made by the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate (the Lieutenant Governor). Eight of the industry appointments are made from lists provided by the Speaker and the President of the Senate. Each of these two officials must submit a list of ten names to the governor by May 1, 2018. The governor has one appointment that he can make independent of these lists.
The nominations from the Speaker must include at least one person from each of the following sectors: restaurant, rental car and retail. The other seven names may be from any other tourism sector. The nominations from the President of the Senate must include at least one person from each of the following sectors: hotel, attractions, and outdoor recreation. No person can be on both lists.
While there is no official application, applicants should submit a letter stating their current position and other pertinent background information, their knowledge of the industry and why they want to serve on the WTMA.
In order to meet the May 1 deadline, both the Speaker’s office and the President of the Senate’s office have asked that applications be submitted to them by April 20. If you are interested in being considered for the WTMA, here are the addresses that you should use when submitting and application:
Frank Chopp, Speaker of the House
ATTN: Cathy Maynard
Olympia, WA. 98504-0600
Or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cyrus Habib, President of the Senate
ATTN: LaTasha Wortham
Olympia, WA. 98504
Or by email: Latasha.email@example.com
While the final lists put together by these two offices may not have the same names, you are welcome to apply to both. You should include a resume and a short statement about why you want to serve on the WTMA and why you are qualified.
To apply for the position that the governor will appoint, please go to the following website and complete the application. https://www.governor.wa.gov/boards-commissions/boards-commissions/apply-serve-board-or-commission
No person may serve on both the WTMA and the contractor selected to execute the marketing program. For instance, if you are member of the WTA board, you will need to resign your position before you apply to WTMA.
Please direct any questions to Becky Bogard at firstname.lastname@example.org.