April 2015 Newsletter

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR UPDATE  
Louise Stanton-Masten   

 The WTA joins with our travel partners around the state in celebrating National Travel and Tourism week which starts this coming weekend.

A program of the U.S. Travel Association (USTA), National Travel and Tourism week May 2 – 10 is an annual salute to travel and tourism in America and highlights the power of travel and the positive impact that our industry makes to the local and national economy.

 Travel and tourism is one of America’s largest industries and provides significant economic benefits for the nation. According to USTA, travel to and within the United States generates $2.1 trillion for the U.S. economy with $927.9 billion spent directly by travelers in 2014 according to USTA.

 Here in Washington, preliminary data in the Dean Runyan report “State Travel Impacts & Visitor Volume 1991 -2014”indicates that visitors to Washington State spent more than $19 billion in 2014.   The WTA plans to provide our report on the full economic impact of travel to our state from the report in May.

 What a great time to Experience Washington! WTA travel planning resources like the new 2015 Washington State Visitors’ Guide, the ExperiencWA.com website, the visitor information call center (1-800-544-1800) and the resources of local destination marketing organizations throughout the state make planning Washington travel easy and fun.

WTA LEGISLATIVE REPORT
Becky Bogard   

 Unable to complete work on a budget for fiscal years 2015-17, the Washington State Legislature has now gone into “overtime”. The regular session ended two days early on April 24. The first special session will begin on Wednesday, April 29.

What are the rules for the special session? Governor Inslee has called the legislators back to Olympia for what can be up to 30 days. Of course if the legislators get their work done earlier, then they can adjourn. If they don’t get their work done, the governor can call them back for another special session. He can keep doing that until they get a budget.

The current state budget expires on June 30. If there is not a new budget, then non-essential state government services will have to shut down. Governor Inslee has already asked his cabinet members to prepare their departments for such a shutdown.

So what does all this mean for tourism and funding for the future?

First, for the immediate future, WTA will continue to work on interim funding. Currently the Senate version of the biennial budget for 2015-17 has $500,000 for each fiscal year (a total of $1 million for the biennium). These funds will allow WTA to continue the activities it started with previous interim funding.   We would be able to continue sending travel planners for free to those who request them, participate in international marketing, conduct research, upgrade the website and operate a call center. PLEASE CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATORS AND ASK THEM TO ASK THEIR BUDGET NEGOTIATORS TO INCLUDE THIS FUNDING IN THE FINAL BUDGET. Without this funding, the amount of monies available for tourism marketing is almost nothing.

Second, WTA will begin to implement a strategy to refine its proposal for long term funding. During the 2015 regular legislative session we made great progress towards gaining acceptance of our proposal by legislators. However, some raised questions about industry support and some of the details of the proposal. During the interim WTA will work with members of the tourism industry as well as legislators to resolve differences and gain support for passage of a reliable long term funding source for a statewide marketing program in the 2016 legislative session. We will be calling on all of our members to support this effort!

 

SHOLARSHIP FUND IN HONOR OF DIANE SCHOSTAK
Christina Pivarnik, WTA Board of Directors

The family of Diane Schostak has established a scholarship fund in Diane’s name at Peninsula College in anticipation of supporting the College’s new Hospitality program. Diane participated in some of the initial planning for this new Hospitality program, which is slated to begin Fall 2015. The chance to support career opportunities for the hospitality field seems a very fitting – and ongoing – tribute to our vibrant and passionate friend.

Diane

The family requests in lieu of flowers, that donations are made to the Peninsula College Foundation / Diane Schostak Memorial Fund, 1502 East Lauridsen Blvd., Port Angeles, WA 98362.

Donations may also be made online here . For questions regarding any donations, please call the Peninsula College Foundation office at 360.417.6246.

SPOKANE CONVENTION CENTER EXPANSION COMPLETE 

After 17 months of work, the $55-million expansion of the Spokane Convention Center is finally complete. With the addition of 91,000 square feet to the facility, the Center now has a 120,000 sq. ft. exhibit hall, 32 meeting rooms and three ballrooms. Dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows have opened the Convention Center to spectacular views of the Spokane River and surrounding environment.

“The facility is stunning and it takes great advantage of the proximity to our beautiful river,” said Keith Backsen, Visit Spokane Vice President of Sales & Services. “What we’re really happy about is being able to share this important new chapter in Spokane’s story with meeting planners and groups who we may not have been able to reach before.”

 

OWN YOUR OWN EXPERIENCEWA ARTICLE!
Mike Moe 

Content is king when it comes to improving your search optimization.  Let Miles create new and compelling editorial for you on ExperienceWA.com that will be prominently featured on the site and designed to share the experience of your business or destination with travelers eager to add your adventure to their vacation plans. Click here to see the sponsored articles already on ExperienceWA. Even throughout the winter season, these articles have been getting 200-600 views per month!

You will work with an experienced editor who will create a feature length article with final approval on all content. Once finished, the article will be promoted and linked throughout ExperienceWA.com from open display inventory.  The entire article page will be devoted to your business, and the display advertising space on that page will also be yours providing links to your website.  The article is live on the site for a full year – but you’ll own the content forever with the ability to repost the information wherever you choose. Cost: $2,500.

Set up your call today with a Miles editor – and have your article live on the site in time for summer!  Contact Mike Moe at 425-444-0589, mike@watourismalliance.com. Click here > for our full Media Kit.

 

WTA MEMBERS IN THE NEWS   

SMITHSONIAN NAMES PORT TOWNSEND A TOP 20 BEST SMALL TOWN TO VISIT IN 2015 >