WTA Leadership

WTA Board of Directors

David Blandford – Senior Vice President, Public Affairs Visit Seattle  Executive Committee, WTA Board Co-Chair

 David Blandford is Senior Vice President, Public Affairs Visitor Seattle, where he oversees public policy, industry advocacy, government relations, crisis communications and strategic communications. He previously served as Vice President, Communications for several years where he led the public relations department and directs many aspects of organizational communications. His career in tourism began with statewide travel promotion, running press trips throughout Washington and working closely with the state tourism office on destination PR programs. Blandford currently serves on the Communications Committee of the U.S. Travel Association and previously was President of the Puget Sound Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America and served on the board of directors of the Society of Amerian Travel Writers.

Shiloh Burgess– Executive Director, Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce, Executive Committee, WTA Board Co-Chair

Red hair, wicked smart with a touch of sass and a heart of gold would be a good start describing the Executive Director of the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce. Shiloh spent 10 years working with Washington State Senator Linda Evans Parlette prior to accepting the job at the Chamber in 2013. With an orchardist heritage she enjoys a common red delicious apple right off the tree, but store bought Pink Lady’s are pretty good too. “Then again, I like Jonagolds and Honey Crisp and…,” and just about then you could see the memories start to well up.

Andy Olson – Vice President, Columbia Hospitality                                        Executive Committee, Past Chair

 Andrew Olsen has over forty years of varied experience in the hospitality and leisure industries.  His background includes property and asset management, market research and financial analysis, expert testimony, and receiverships and trusteeships. Mr. Olsen has been an Adjunct faculty member at the Washington State University School of Hospitality Business Management.  He is currently on the Advisory Board for Washington State University’s School of Hospitality Business Management, a Board member of the Lynnwood Public Facilities District in Lynnwood, and Immediate Past Chair of the Washington Tourism Alliance. Mr. Olsen is a member of the International Society of Hospitality Consultants and the Cornell Hotel Society.  He is also past chair of the Board of Directors of the Washington Lodging Association. Mr. Olsen received his B.S. degree from the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University.

Cheryl Kilday – President & CEO, Visit Spokane                                                  Executive Committee, Past Chair

Cheryl Kilday has almost 30 years’ experience in the tourism industry, which includes a background in destination management and marketing, brand management, hotel sales and catering, meeting planning and event management.  Cheryl also earned the prestigious Certified Destination Marketing Executive (CDME) designation through Destinations International in 2011 and has earned the DMAP accreditation in both Loudoun, VA and Spokane, WA. Cheryl joined Visit Spokane in 2010 after living in the Washington DC region in Northern Virginia for several years.  She began her tourism adventure in the Willamette Valley in Oregon and often relays that the three destinations where she has worked all have wine experiences and Nordstrom as part of their visitor appeal. Cheryl currently serves as the Immediate Past Chair of the Washington Tourism Alliance, Washington’s statewide tourism organization that replaced Washington’s government-run tourism office and a Trustee for the Destinations International Travel Foundation.  Cheryl is active in state, regional and national tourism-related organizations, is on the Design Steering Committee for Riverfront Park, the Mobius Board as well as a variety of community boards and committees.

Skip Thompson – Director of Airline Marketing Services, Boeing          Executive Committee, Secretary

 As Director of Airline Marketing Services, Skip Thompson is responsible for building a preference for Boeing products with airline customers, global airline alliances, the travel trade and the premium passenger segment.  Focused on airline and leasing customers in Europe, Thompson leads the marketing consultation with Boeing’s airline customers to drive innovative marketing solutions and to maximize customer revenues and yields. Prior to his current role, Skip was a Sales Director for Boeing in the Middle East & Africa region.   In this role, Skip worked extensively with Boeing airline customers at all levels including aircraft acquisition, marketing, scheduling, finance and other strategic areas.  Before to his sales role, Skip led a new team within Boeing which was created to cooperate with new startup airlines around the globe and assist them toward launching service. Skip has his undergraduate degree from Southern Methodist University in Economics and International Politics.  He currently resides in Seattle, Washington.

Kim Bennett – President and CEO, Visit Vancouver USA

Kim Bennett is the President & CEO of Visit Vancouver USA. Bennett has more than two decades of experience in developing and managing economic development agencies, including the establishment of the Vancouver USA Regional Tourism Office. Bennett is the current Board President of DMA West (Destination Marketing Associations of the West) and serves by gubernatorial appointment on the Washington Film Commission, representing destination marketing organizations throughout the state. She also serves as a Board member on the Washington Tourism Alliance and the Washington State Destination Marketing Organization since 1999. Bennett previously served on the Washington State Tourism Commission under Governor Christine Gregoire.

 

 

Mark Berejka – REI, Director, Government & Community Affairs

Marc Berejka has served as REI’s government affairs director since 2011 and its director of community affairs since early 2013. REI is a national outdoor retail cooperative with over 16 million members and annual sales exceeding $2.5 billion. The co-op’s mission is to “inspire, educate and outfit people for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship.” In the policy realm, Mr. Berejka guides the co-op’s engagement in federal, state and local issues. This includes efforts to assure REI’s current and future members can continue to enjoy outdoor recreation – whether that be recreating close to home or at the nation’s many iconic destinations. It also includes advocacy on matters that affect retailers, such as main-street business regulation, Internet sales and international trade. Mr. Berejka also oversees the co-op’s community grants program. Most recently, the program distributed more than $9 million to over 300 local, regional and national organizations that help sustain and promote the country’s inspiring places to recreate.  Before joining REI, Mr. Berejka served as technology policy advisor to then-Secretary Gary Locke at the US Department of Commerce. Prior to that, he worked for 12 years in various public policy roles at Microsoft, both in Washington D.C. and in Washington State.  He spent the first part of his career as a telecommunications attorney.  He holds a J.D. from Georgetown University and a B.A. from Princeton University.

Kevin Clark – CEO & President of Argosy Cruises

 Kevin Clark has served on the Washington Tourism Alliance board since 2011 representing the State’s Attractions industry.  Kevin and his wife Cary own and operate Argosy Cruises, which operates a fleet of vessels providing daily tours of Elliott Bay and surrounding Lakes, private charters, ferry service and community special events.   Since 2009 their company has operated on behalf of the Washington State Parks Commission ferry service to Blake Island State Park and the island’s dining and cultural center, Tillicum Village. Kevin’s focus has been the promotion of a statewide tourism nationally and internationally as an effective tool to for economic growth. He has been an active member of the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce, Visit Seattle, Puget Sound Economic Development Council and various industry/civic groups.

John Cooper – President & CEO, Visit Yakima Valley

John Cooper graduated from the University of Oregon and is a graduate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute of Organization Management at U.C.L.A.  He has been with the Yakima Valley Tourism since June 2007.  Prior to that, he was CEO of Bellingham/Whatcom County Tourism. Past professional jobs include being Executive Director of the Southern Oregon Visitors Association and the Corvallis Convention and Visitors Bureau. Cooper has served on a number of industry and community boards including the Yakima Rotary and Downtown Association of Yakima boards plus is a past-president of the Western Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus.  In recognition of his work, over the years John was named Executive of the Year by the Washington Society of Association Executives, Tourism Professional of the Year by the Washington State Tourism office and Tourism Concierge by the WA Wine Commission. Outside work John loves to travel, hiking the trails of the Cascades and is an artist for chalk art festivals in the region.

Andy Day – Executive Director, Long Beach Peninsula Visitor’s Bureau

Andi Day is the Executive Director of Long Beach Peninsula Visitors Bureau serving Pacific County in the very southwest corner of Washington State. Andi’s extensive and diverse experience in small business, nonprofit management and marketing have been a great fit for the Long Beach Peninsula area.  She has implemented new marketing technology, and together with the board of directors, promotes an overall strategy based on sustainable tourism, maximizing positive results from limited resources. She brings this same approach into regional and state tourism marketing through her involvement and service on the board of Washington State Destination Marketing Organizations and Washington Tourism Alliance.

Dan Moore – Founder, Pandion Consulting

Dan Moore has served on the Washington Tourism Alliance board since 2011 representing Adventure Travel and Outdoor Recreation. He applied to join the board because he firsthand experienced the benefit of statewide tourism marketing while COO of regional adventure tour company Evergreen Escapes. The elimination of Washington State Tourism inspired Dan to get involved. In 2014 Dan opened Pandion Consulting & Facilitation, a travel industry consultancy. Pandion’s mission is to raise the standards, quality, and sustainability of the travel industry. Pandion specializes in rural tourism development and helping communities tap into adventure and experiential tourism markets – growing tourism sectors. Dan is a member of the faculty for Adventure EDU, the education and consulting arm of the Adventure Travel Trade Association. He also teaches Ecotourism, Adventure Travel, and Guide Training at Peninsula College in Washington State. He is a founding chair of the Governing Board of the International Adventure Travel Guide Qualifications and Performance Standard.

Ron Peck – Director of Tourism, Port of Seattle

A Washingtonian, Ron’s career started with Alaska Airlines.  From 1977 until 1996 he served in a variety of sales and marketing positions.  From 1996 until 2001 he was Director of marketing and sales for Princess Tours.  After a short stint at Alyeska Ski Resort, in 2002 he became President of the Alaska Travel Industry Association (ATIA).  For 10.5 years he successfully led the organization through periods of challenge, recovery and growth.  He oversaw a marketing budget that reached $16 million.  While at ATIA he served on the US Travel Association Board of Directors, was tourism co-chair for the Taiwan Alaska Trade Investment Corporation Council, served on the Alaska Medallion Air Safety Foundation and was a member of the National Parks Conservation Association, Alaska. In 2013 he accepted the Executive Director position for Visit Walla Walla. In 2016 Ron took on the position of Director of Tourism Development for the Port of Seattle.

Christina Pivarnik – Marketing Director, City of Port Townsend

Christina Pivarnik has owned her marketing and communications business for 28 years, working with over 50 firms on the local, regional, national and international level, specializing in tourism. She has been the contracted Director of Marketing for the City of Port Townsend for 10 years and on contract with the Port of Seattle’s International Tourism Development since 2014. She has served on the board of the Washington Tourism Alliance, since July 2011. Pivarnik is a member of the Olympic Peninsula Tourism Commission and a founding board member of the Olympic Culinary Loop, serving as president in 2016 and 2017. She was on the board for EDC Team Jefferson for 12 years and is a past president for the Port Townsend Chamber of Commerce (now the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce). She was the co-owner of Christina James Winery with her husband for 9 years and also works as a freelance travel writer.

Shaun Tucker – General Manager, Alderbrook Resort

Shaun always thought he would have a career as a mathematics educator, but his real passion pointed him in the direction of the hospitality industry. Born in Bellingham, Washington and raised in a small town just a few miles north, Shaun began his career in the restaurant business at the early age of 14.  After graduating high school, he attended the University of Washington and then transferred to Arizona State University.  While attending college, he worked at the critically acclaimed Royal Palms Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, where he fell in love with destination properties. Since 1999, Shaun has worked for several properties around the northwest including, the Semiahmoo Resort, Willows Lodge, Bellevue Club, Cave B Inn and the Alderbrook Lodge. In June 2008, he returned to Willows Lodge as General Manager.  After almost 4 years, Shaun rejoined Alderbrook Resort & Spa as the General Manager. New challenges are the fuel that keeps him going.  Taking care of people and seeing the positive reactions he gets from customers are deeply gratifying to Shaun. Tucker, his wife and 2 kids reside in Olympia, WA.

Steve Warner – President & CEO, Washington Wine Commission

Steve Warner was appointed as President & CEO of the Washington State Wine Commission in February 2012. Steve came to the Commission from Merck & Co., Inc., where he was the Managing Director based in Bucharest, Romania. Prior to that, he held General Manager and marketing positions in global and regional marketing in the Asia Pacific region and led teams while living in Seoul, South Korea; Bangkok, Thailand; and several domestic markets. In addition to a bachelor’s degree in biology, Steve holds a Master of Business Administration degree in international business and finance from Rutgers University. Born and raised in eastern Washington State, Steve graduated from West Seattle High School before serving in the United States military’s Special Operations Command, first as a Sergeant in Pararescue and then as a Lieutenant Commander in U.S. Navy Special Operations.

Ron Williams – Executive Director, Visit Walla Walla

Ron Williams is an enthusiastic newcomer to the world of destination marketing, with just two years under his belt at Visit Walla Walla. But with a strong background in project management, hospitality management and nonprofit arts management, he is well-versed in the skills required for the job. With a degree from Occidental College in Los Angeles, Ron worked in theater and film management for many years, in Los Angeles, Orlando (Disney), New York, and eventually Rome, Italy.  As an independent contractor, he made a living along the way working in restaurants, resorts, Wall Street firms, editing rooms, dubbing studios and as on camera talent in film and television. On the set of a film shooting in Greece, he met his life partner, Raffaele Exiana. They both lived and worked in Rome, and eventually moved back to the states, settling in Seattle. There they ran an architectural design and construction firm for a decade.  Sunshine, wine and real estate development brought them to Walla Walla, where Ron transitioned to managing a large winery (Waterbrook), then a resort in the Columbia Gorge, then a nonprofit theater company. With a nudge from the outgoing director of Visit Walla Walla, Ron applied for the job, and was chosen to lead the DMO. He finds destination marketing an exciting and dynamic business, where every day presents new challenges and opportunities. He is happy to be managing a destination at the center of the universe: Walla Walla, WA!

 

WTA Staff

Mike Moe – Managing Director

Mike is a Washingtonian through-and-through. Born in Spokane, he grew up on Tiger Mountain, 30 minutes east of Seattle. After high school, Mike fell in love with the tourism industry, working on steamboat cruises up and down the Mississippi River. His tourism career has taken him around the world. Among his many jobs, he was a bartender, photographer, maitre’ d and overland tour guide in South America. In 2012, he was the second employee to join the WTA as the Business Development Manger.  Mike has a passion for people and experiences and is happiest when he brings the two together. He now lives in Seattle with his wife Shannon, son Kieran, and dog Pacha.

WTA Newsletter – August 17th, 2018

WTA BOARD OF DIRECTORS CO-CHAIR UPDATE

Dave Blandford and Shiloh Burgess  

This is an exciting time for the tourism industry in Washington State. In July, Governor Inslee announced the selection of the Washington Tourism Marketing Authority (WTMA). This group of tourism industry leaders will meet for the first time in late August and we’re hopeful that in the very near future will name the Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA) as the contracted statewide tourism marketing organization.

In the meantime, the WTA’s working board and staff have already rolled up their sleeves, putting together plans to participate in international travel/trade shows, build statewide itineraries, develop great co-op opportunities for our partners and promote the state to travel media. We’ll also participate in several events around Washington this fall, including:

October 16th: The WTA will be sponsoring the NW Event Show at the Washington State Convention Center. This annual event will be produced by WTA member Butler Events and is a great opportunity for vendors to interact with meeting planners from all over the country. We’ll have a booth during the show, so stop by and say hi! For more info, click here.

October 15th-17th: The Washington Chamber of Commerce Executives will be holding their annual conference in Pullman. The WTA has been invited to present on the future of our organization.

November 1st and 2nd: The WTA will be a guest speaker at the Olympic Peninsula Tourism Summit taking place at the Vern Burton Center in Port Angeles. This annual event always has fantastic workshops and provides excellent networking opportunities. Stay tuned for more information soon!

November 6th: The Washington Bed and Breakfast Guild will be holding their annual meeting and our Managing Director, Mike Moe will give a presentation on the progress made by the WTA and how businesses can benefit from participating in our programs.

November 12th: WTA board members will participate in a panel discussion on the future of Washington State’s tourism marketing and destination development at the Washington Hospitality Convention.

If you have an upcoming event you would like WTA to consider presenting at, or participating, please let us know. We value the opportunity to connect with the members and communities we serve.

We can’t thank our stakeholders enough for supporting the WTA for the last seven years. We look forward to working with you to build a successful state tourism marketing program in the coming months.

WTA SEEKING BOARD OF DIRECTORS APPLICANTS

Mike Moe, Managing Director

The Washington Tourism Alliance is looking for applicants to fill vacancies on the WTA Board of Directors. There are two regional positions open:

  • Northwest Washington which includes Skagit, Whatcom, San Juan and Island, counties
  • South Puget Sound which includes Pierce, Kitsap and Thurston Counties

There are also vacancies in the Tribes and Arts and Culture sectors, as well as at-large positions.

Our Board members are asked to play an active role in the organization’s strategic planning and goal-setting.  Because of this, we ask you to consider the following criteria when making your decision.

Board member time investment:

8-12 Board meetings per year (quarterly in person, the others by phone)
Several Committee meetings per year
Annual 2-day retreat (November)
Annual Summit Meeting

WTA member events as planned

Board member financial investment:

Travel to meetings [held at various locations in Washington State]

Board retreat registration [room, travel + some meals]

If you are interested, please complete and email me an application (download here), your resume, and a cover letter. The deadline to apply is September 7th.

MARKETING AUTHORITY UPDATE

The Washington Tourism Marketing Authority will meet for the first time on August 30th in the Sea-Tac area. This first meeting will be largely organizational. The Marketing Authority will NOT be charged with the actual marketing of the state, but it will be an oversight board that will select the contractor according to the qualifications in the legislation. They will determine what can be used in the match funding and will gauge the return on the state’s investment in tourism marketing.

THE WTA BOARD WELCOMES JULIE EISENHAUER

Diana Thibado, Director of Operations

The WTA is excited to welcome Julie Eisenhauer to the Board of Directors. Julie is a shareholder in Clark Nuber’s audit practice and has personally worked with many clients in the hospitality industry, making her a perfect fit for the WTA board. Additionally, she will bring years of experience in public accounting to her role as Treasurer on the Executive Committee. “I am proud to be a member of the Washington Tourism Alliance board,” Julie said, “and look forward to playing an active role in supporting the organization’s mission.” Clark Nuber is a longstanding member of the WTA and we look forward to strengthening the partnership with the addition of Julie to the board!

CREATE YOUR FALL EXPERIENCEWA BANNER AD NOW

Mike Moe, Managing Director 

With Fall just around the corner, make room in the budget for the banner ad program on ExperienceWA.com.  Our traffic is growing, creating more banner ad inventory so we are rewarding our advertisers with FREE impressions. Each ad impression purchased will receive a FREE additional run-of-site impression to drive even more business your way.

WTA members can buy as few as 20,000 impressions for $604 ($683 for non-members) and receive 20,000 more impressions for FREE!

Clicks from ExperienceWA are more likely to convert to sales because most people who use ExperienceWA are actively planning a trip in Washington. Utilize Washington’s official destination website to connect with travelers as they research their vacation! Click here to view our full Media Kit. Please let me know if you’re interested.

MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

BUTLER EVENTS INVITES YOU TO JOIN THEM AT NORTHWEST EVENT SHOW

A KEY AGENCY FOR OUTDOOR RECREATION, WDFW, FACES $30 MILLION SHORTFALL

SUBMIT YOUR STORIES

Want to brag about something your destination was recently recognized for? Have news that impacts Washington State tourism? Please add the WTA to your distribution news list! We’re always looking for story ideas for the WTA monthly newsletter! To submit a story idea, email Diana Thibado at diana@watourismalliance.com.

If you have not yet joined the WTA and would like to become a member, please contact our Managing Director Mike Moe or join today online here.

JULY 2018 NEWSLETTER

GOVERNOR INSLEE ANNOUNCES MARKETING AUTHORITY MEMBERS  

Mike Moe, Managing Director   

On July 11th, Governor Jay Inslee announced official appointments for the Washington Tourism Marketing Authority (Marketing Authority), the state tourism marketing oversight body created by E4SSB 5251, which was passed unanimously by the legislature this spring. Industry representatives include:

Marsha Massey – Olympic Peninsula Visitor Bureau, Clallam County
Anthony Anton – Washington Hospitality Association, Thurston County
Cindy Verge – Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, Skagit County
Robert Lerch – Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Island County
Jody Kayler – Spokane Sports Commission, Spokane County
VJ Patel – Hotelier, Benton County
Judy Tuohy – Schack Arts Center, Snohomish County
Tiffany Turner – Hotelier, Pacific County
Rob Sendak – Washington Wildlife and Recreation Coalition, King County

The law stipulates the selection of nine representatives with expertise in the tourism industry by the governor to serve on the Marketing Authority board. Based on recommendations from the Lieutenant Governor and the Speaker of the House, representatives must reflect diversity in geography, size of business, gender, and ethnicity. No county may have more than two appointments and no city may have more than one appointment.

Four legislators will join the nine tourism industry representatives on the Marketing Authority, one from each caucus in each house:
Rep. Bill Jenkin (R) – 16th District
Rep. Cindy Ryu (D) – 32nd District
Sen. Maureen Walsh (R) – 16th District
Sen. Dean Takko (D) – 19th District

More than 50 tourism professionals applied for the Marketing Authority board positions. We appreciate their willingness to serve, as well as their significant contributions toward making a positive impact on the tourism industry.

While the implementation of the tourism marketing program will be executed by a private, non-profit organization, the Marketing Authority will have three primary tasks:

  1. To enter into a multi-year contract with a statewide nonprofit organization in existence on the effective date of the law whose sole purpose is marketing Washington State to tourists.
  2. To determine what qualifies as a match within the funding structure. The law requires that the tourism industry match two dollars for every dollar provided by the state.
  3. To contract for the evaluation of the impact of the statewide tourism marketing program.
This summer, the Marketing Authority board will begin its work on the first two of their primary tasks. Once the contractor is selected and the match is defined, work can finally begin on promoting Washington State as a tourism destination. The Washington Tourism Alliance congratulates these appointees and looks forward to advancing a statewide tourism marketing program.

WTA UPDATE

Mike Moe, Managing Director

Since Governor Inslee signed the Tourism Marketing legislation, the WTA has been preparing to hit the ground running when the Marketing Authority selects the non-profit organization to implement the statewide tourism marketing plan. In anticipation of being selected as the contractor, the WTA Board of Directors selected David Blandford and Shiloh Schauer to head the organization as Co-Chairs.

Shiloh Schauer is the Executive Director of the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce and she has served on the WTA board since 2014. A former Legislative Aide to Senator Linda Evans Parlette, she served as the Legislative Chair for the WTA and was instrumental in guiding our organization through the legislative process to pass the Tourism Marketing Bill.

David Blandford is the Senior Vice-President of Public Affairs for Visit Seattle and has served on the WTA Board since 2013. David has two decades of experience in global, national, and regional markets. Over the past two years, David served as the Communications Chair for the WTA and played a key role in coordinating our communication strategy during our efforts to pass the Tourism Marketing legislation.

The WTA would like to thank Andy Olsen for his past year of service as the WTA Board Chair. Under his leadership, our organization improved efficiency and took the necessary steps to finally pass the legislation we had been working on for so long. Andy will continue to be a vital member of our Board and serve as Past-President on our Executive Committee.

While the WTA has been actively marketing Washington to tourists since 2011 with limited resources, we are excited about the opportunity the new legislation presents for our state. We are confident in David and Shiloh’s leadership over the next two years . Together, they represent both eastern and western Washington, big city and small, and they are eager to launch our new program. The WTA has a monumental task before us and we will rely on the expertise, initiative, and resourcefulness of our industry partners like never before.

WTA THANKS DEPARTING BOARD MEMBERS
Diana Thibado, Director of Operations

So much of the WTA’s success can be attributed to the hard work and dedication of the Board of Directors. As we begin the next chapter, the WTA would like to sincerely thank those board members who have helped us get to this point and are now moving on.

Anthony Anton joined the WTA board in 2013 and in his role as the President & CEO of the Washington Hospitality Association, provided critical support and wisdom during the legislative process. He was recently appointed to the Washington Tourism Marketing Authority and we appreciate his continued commitment to Washington tourism.

John Bookwalter is the President of Bookwalter Winery. He joined the board in 2011 and served as Treasurer, donating many extra hours to ensure that the WTA continued to operate smoothly through the years. We raise a glass to John and wish him nothing but the best in the future.

Bennish Brown is leaving his post as President & CEO of Travel Tacoma to become the President & CEO at Augusta Convention & Visitors Bureau. Bennish has been a smart and thoughtful voice on the board since joining in 2014 and Washington’s loss is truly Georgia’s gain.

Drew Schmidt is the owner of San Juan Cruises in Bellingham and has served as a WTA board member since 2013. Drew was a consistent contributor on the board and brought valuable knowledge and experience as the Northwest Regional Representative.

Matt Van Der Peet is the General Manager of the Westin Bellevue and joined the WTA board in 2014. We often relied on his years of experience in the hospitality industry and will miss his voice on the board going forward.

The WTA thanks you all for your years of service!

DON’T FORGET TO INCLUDE EXPERIENCEWA IN YOUR FALL ADVERTISING BUDGET 

2018 has been an outstanding year so far for ExperienceWA.com . The official tourism website for Washington State has proven to be the best place to connect with people who are planning their trip to our state.  As you begin to plan for the Fall, we would like to share a couple of opportunities still available.

Our REWARDS Program for our banner ad platform is still going strong. Our advertisers are paying an average of less than $2.00 per click. That is WAY below industry standard. The fact that ExperienceWA website visitors are there specifically to learn about travelling in Washington State only make these clicks more valuable.

Our monthly eNewsletter program has also been big in 2018. As you know, there are limited spaces available to advertise in our eNewsletter and there are only a few spaces left in the Fall newsletters! If you want advertising space in the Fall, let us know as soon as possible.

There are so many ways to reach the qualified audience of ExperienceWA.com. To learn more, please contact Mike Moe at mike@watourismalliance.com or call him at 425-444-0589. Or, click to view the full ExperienceWA Media Kit.

MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

SUBMIT YOUR STORIES

Want to brag about something your destination was recently recognized for? Have news that impacts Washington State tourism? Please add the WTA to your distribution news list! We’re always looking for story ideas for the WTA monthly newsletter! To submit a story idea, email Diana Thibado at diana@watourismalliance.com.

 

WTA THANKS MARCH, APRIL, MAY AND JUNE MEMBERS

NEW MEMBERS
Heritage Distilling

RENEWING MEMBERS

360 Hotel Group7 Cedars Casino & Resort PropertiesAlderbrook Resort & SpaArctic Club SeattleArgosy CruisesChrysalis Inn & SpaCity of Port TownsendCoast Hotels & ResortsCopacino & FujikadoCourtyard by MarriottCourtyard Downtown/Pioneer SquareCourtyard KirklandCrowne Plaza HotelDoubletree – SeatacExpedia, Inc.Fran’s ChocolatesLake Chelan Chamber of CommerceLong Beach Peninsula, Lynnwood PFDMcMenamins Olympic ClubMt. Baker Foothills Chamber of CommercePort of Friday HarborResidence Inn – RedmondSan Juan Islands Visitor BureauSeattle Bed and Breakfast AssociationSeattle Times CompanySheraton Bellevue HotelSheraton Seattle HotelSkamania County Chamber of CommerceSnohomish County Tourism BureauUnion Gap TourismVertigo MarketingVisit Bellevue WAVisit Lewis Clark ValleyWA State Parks and RecWashington Indian Gaming AssociationWashington State FairWestern Prince Whale & Wildlife ToursWillows LodgeWoodinville Chamber of Commerce


If you have not yet joined the WTA and would like to become a member, please contact our Managing Director Mike Moe or join today online here.

2017 Dean Runyan Preliminary Report Overview

Washington State Travel Impacts & Visitor Volume, 2000-2017

Preliminary Report by Dean Runyan Associates, April 2018

Overview

The Washington State economy continued to see robust growth in 2017, which stimulated in-state consumer confidence and many industries in the state. As Washington residents currently comprise two thirds of all trips to destinations within the state, tourism visitations, expenditures and visitor-generated tax revenues grew. However, the pace of overall tourism growth has slowed.

Overall visitation in Washington increased 3.6 percent, compared to 3.8 percent growth the previous year, to 40.1 overnight person trips, as in-state residents help to sustain visits.

Travel spending increased 7.0 percent in $21.4 billion in current dollars, 5.8 percent in real (inflation-adjusted) dollars in 2017, buoyed by robust hotel occupancies (+3.0 percent) and motor fuel prices (+15 percent), in-state consumer confidence and other factors. Strong hotel occupancies in the state’s urban centers were driving factors in this growth, as they maintain the majority of the state’s accommodations inventory (i.e. King County comprises 53 percent). Seattle saw record hotel occupancy of 84.2 percent in 2017.

Visitor-generated Tax Receipts

State and local visitor-generated tax receipts increased 4.8 percent to $1.8 billion in 2017.

Travel generated employment

Jobs supported by tourism increased 2.8 percent to 177,000 in 2017.

 International Tourism

While Sea-Tac International Airport reported record passenger volumes and 5.4 percent growth in international passengers in 2017, spending by foreign visitors in Washington decreased slightly (2 percent) due the strength of the U.S. dollar. Overseas inbound tourism to the U.S. has seen percentage declines since 2015 and the nation is beginning to see market share decline due to the strong U.S. dollar, national political rhetoric and questions about immigration and travel policy changes.

 Business and Competitive Landscape in 2018

Competing western states continue to invest significantly in tourism as a driver of jobs, economic impact and relief for communities that incur natural disasters and other crises.

 

APPLICANTS FOR THE WASHINGTON TOURISM MARKETING AUTHORITY NEEDED!

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
LEG 339C
Olympia, WA. 98504-0600
Or by email: cathy.maynard@leg.wa.gov

Cyrus Habib, President of the Senate
ATTN: LaTasha Wortham
LEG 220
Olympia, WA. 98504
Or by email: Latasha.wortham@leg.wa.gov

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 becky@bogardjohnson.com.

March WTA Newsletter – Governor Inslee Signs Tourism Bill!

WTA Update

Today at 2:37pm, Governor Jay Inslee signed SB 5251 into law. This moment is the result of seven years of hard work and tenacity by the tourism industry in Washington State.  Even when faced with immense obstacles, our WTA board members, legislative team, supporters and advocates never wavered in their determination to make this happen. We cannot thank you enough for your support!

With a marketing plan in hand and a bill now signed, our real task has just begun. However, to make our marketing plan a reality, there are still steps to be taken before we can begin. As you’ll read in the article below, the process for selecting the Washington Tourism Marketing Authority (WTMA) will take place over the next couple of months. Once the WTMA is established, the industry will need to provide two dollars for every dollar of state funding. While the WTMA will determine the different ways match funding can be raised, membership will remain an important way to support the WTA.

In this new chapter, we must continue to build upon our strong partnerships.  The challenge to reestablish a statewide tourism effort inspired the industry to come together in a way it never has before. Every sector of our industry, from every region of our state has worked together over the past seven years, and we will continue to count on that unity moving forward. We are excited for what’s to come and look forward to working together to build a marketing program that will make Washington proud!

IT’S DONE…BUT IT’S JUST THE BEGINNING!

Becky Bogard and Kathryn Hedrick 

On March 5, the final step in legislative approval of the statewide tourism marketing bill took place when the Senate concurred by a unanimous vote in the House changes to E4SSB 5251. At that point the bill was on its way to the governor’s desk and Governor Inslee signed the bill yesterday.

The governor also signed the supplemental appropriations bill yesterday. That bill has $1.5 million for FY 2019 to implement the new tourism marketing law.

The tourism legislation had wide legislative support. In its final form, it passed both houses unanimously. We have many legislative leaders to recognize but really all legislators deserve thanks for working with us on this journey to get a new statewide tourism marketing
program established. Some deserve special recognition.
Here are just a few of the Senators who played a particularly important role:

  • Sen. Dean Takko (D., Longview) – a member of the work group that help write the legislation and the prime sponsor of the bill that passed
  • Sen. Christine Rolfes (D., Bainbridge Island) – a member of the work group, co-sponsor of the bill and chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee which included funding in the 2019 supplemental budget to implement the legislation
  • Sen. Sharon Brown (R., Tri-Cities) – a member of the work group and supporter of the 2018 funding and getting the bill passed
  • Sen. Maralyn Chase (D., Shoreline) – chair of the Senate Trade and Economic Development Committee and co-sponsor of the bill
  • Sen. Judy Warnick (R., Moses Lake) – former chair of the Senate Trade and Economic Development and co-sponsor of the bill

For the House, here are a few representatives who played a visable and vocal role:

  • Rep. Cindy Ryu (D., Shoreline) – a member of the work group, co-sponsor of the House bill and chair of the House Community Development, Housing and Tribal Affairs Committee
  • Rep. Cary Condotta (R., Wenatchee) – prime sponsor of the House version of the bill and member of the work group
  • Rep. Gael Tarleton (D., Seattle) – a member of the work group and staunch advocate for the bill
  • Rep. Andrew Barkis (R., Lacey) – co-sponsor of the House bill, a member of the work group and ranking member of the House Community Development, Housing and Tribal Affairs Committee
  • Rep. Gina McCabe (R., Goldendale) – a hotelier and vocal advocate for the legislation, who helped her colleagues understand the importance of tourism
  • Rep. Mike Chapman (D., Port Angeles) – advocate for the legislation because of its impact on rural areas

Again, all legislators deserve thanks. These are just a few who played a special role!

On behalf of my legislative team, I want to thank all of you who helped get this passed. Each of you played a critical role. You came to testify, you wrote letters when we needed them, you called your legislators and you came to tourism day. We could not have done it without you!

So now the real work begins! Under the process established in the new law, the first thing that needs to happen is for the governor to appoint the members of the Washington Tourism Marketing Authority (WTMA) by July 1. He will be making nine appointments to the WTMA board, primarily from lists provided to him by the Speaker of the House and the Lieutenant Governor. These appointments are supposed to be from the tourism industry and must include at least one each from the following sectors: lodging, restaurants, rental cars, outdoor recreation, retail and attractions.

If you are interested in being on the WTMA board, you must submit an application to either the speaker of the house, the lieutenant governor or both. These offices have until May 1 to put together their lists. The offices have indicated that they would like to have information from interested parties by April 20. WTA will be providing more specific contact information in the next week. If you are interested in being on the WTMA board, you cannot be on the board of an organization that might be the contractor for implementing the statewide marketing program.

Once the WTMA board is appointed, they will need to meet and organize for moving forward. Among other things, the board will be tasked with contracting with an entity that will implement a statewide tourism marketing program and determining what constitutes a match. Remember that state general funds have to be matched on a 2:1 basis.

Once the contractor is selected the WTMA will be responsible for making certain that the new marketing efforts reflect the priorities in the law. And, of course, there will be the job of making certain there are matching funds and in-kind contributions to make the program a success.

You have all been helpful with our efforts to date. We look forward to working with you as the program becomes an actuality!

WTA THANKS BOARD MEMBER KRIS WATKINS

Diana Thibado, Director of Operations

The WTA would like to sincerely thank Kris Watkins for her dedicated service to both the Washington Tourism Alliance and Washington State tourism. Kris will retire on April 6th after leading Visit Tri-Cities as President and CEO for more than two decades.

Kris joined the WTA board in 2015 and served as a passionate advocate for statewide tourism funding during that time.  We sincerely appreciate everything she’s done to support tourism throughout her career and especially her strong advocacy during the critical legislative process over the past 3 years. Kris wanted to share the following words with her industry colleagues:

My career in the tourism industry has been an adventure, an education and an exciting experience all rolled into one. And one of the greatest honors of my career was serving on the WTA Board.

The timing of my retirement is somewhat bittersweet because we are on the cusp of creating tourism greatness. I am thrilled with the passage of tourism funding bill. It is vitally important to have an appropriately funded state tourism program, and the bill before the Governor is a great first step to creating a strong WTA. I am excited to see what will be accomplished as more tourism jobs are created and tourism continues to flourish in cities and counties throughout Washington State.

However, as I look back, one of the greatest treasures of my career is the relationship I have built with you, my tourism colleagues. I have made so many wonderful lifetime friends in the tourism industry, and for that, I am very grateful.

Thank you for 24 wonderful years in tourism.

We wish Kris nothing but the best in her retirement!

YAKIMA CENTRAL PLAZA MOVES FORWARD

The Yakima Central Plaza Steering Committee successfully completed a campaign that raised $9.6 million from nearly 500 donors for the City of Yakima to build a new gathering space in Downtown Yakima. Slated to open in late 2019, the Yakima Central Plaza will be a three-acre open space. The park like square will have many features including a shaded grove with seating, running water channels, water jets for children and various structures.

John Cooper, CEO of Yakima Valley Tourism and a board member of the Washington Tourism Alliance, was on the committee of community leaders that raised the funds. Yakima Valley Tourism’s non-profit foundation was also a conduit for many of the donations. “The plaza will be a major catalyst for the positive development of downtown Yakima” stated Cooper. “Not only will it be a gathering place for the residents, it will be a draw for groups and visitors.” The plaza is designed by renowned landscape architect Kathryn Gustafson, a Yakima native who designed the Princess Diana Memorial in London and the grounds for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

For more information on the project visit  www.yakimacentralplaza.com.

MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

WASHINGTON STATE’S NEWEST DRIVE TOUR: THE SOUTH CASCADES LOOP

VISIT TRI-CITIES ANNOUNCES NEW CEO

SEATTLE SOUTHSIDE HOSTS TOURISM SYMPOSIUM MARCH 29TH

SUBMIT YOUR STORIES

Want to brag about something your destination was recently recognized for? Have news that impacts Washington State tourism? Please add the WTA to your distribution news list! We’re always looking for story ideas for the WTA monthly newsletter! To submit a story idea, email Diana Thibado at diana@watourismalliance.com.

WTA THANKS DECEMBER, JANUARY, AND FEBRUARY MEMBERS

NEW MEMBERS

Global Yodel, Vance Creek Railriders, Visit Kent

RENEWING MEMBERS

Campbell’s Resort, Cascade Loop, Chateau Ste Michelle, City of Edmonds, City of Gig Harbor, Discover Lewis County, Explore Port Orchard, Food Services of America, Grays Harbor County, Hilton Garden Inn – Yakima, Hilton Vancouver Washington, Holiday Inn Express – Puyallup, Jefferson County Tourism, Munchen Haus Bavarian Grill and Beer Garden, Olympic Peninsula Gateway Visitor Center, Prosser Chamber of Commerce, Puget Sound Express, R. C. Hedreen Co, REI Seattle, River Park Square, San Juan Cruises, San Juan Island Outfitters, San Juan Safaris, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle Southside, Smith Tower, Space Needle, Spokane Public Facilities District, Swinomish Casino & Lodge, The Embassy Suites – Sea-Tac, Three Rivers Convention Center, Travel Tacoma + Pierce County, Visit Spokane, Washington Bed and Breakfast Guild

If you have not yet joined the WTA and would like to become a member, please contact our Managing Director Mike Moe or join today online here.

WTA Tourism Bill Passes through the Legislature

Thanks to your advocacy efforts the statewide tourism marketing legislation- Engrossed 4th Substitute Senate Bill 5251- passed the House UNANIMOUSLY, after being voted out of the full Senate UNANIMOUSLY last month. This day would not be possible without the hard work and support of so many over the last 7 years. We want to thank our legislative team, the Washington Hospitality Association, all the other industry groups in Washington who helped advocate for our bill and most importantly, YOU for getting us over the finish line this session!

The final steps will include going back to the Senate for concurrence, inclusion in the supplemental operating budget, and Governor Inslee’s signature. We have one last ask of you.  Please make sure you send a note to your legislators thanking them for their support! All House and Senate members voted in support of the bill!

Please look for more information in the coming days and weeks. In the meantime, let’s all celebrate how far we’ve come and the exciting future of tourism in Washington state!

WTA Newsletter – December 2017

WTA UPDATE 

Mike Moe, Managing Director

In November, the Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA), along with the Department of Commerce (Commerce), entered into an agreement with GreenRubino to create a marketing plan for tourism in Washington State. After six years of hard work by our board of directors, staff, and volunteers all over the state, we are very excited to take this next step in our mission to finally reestablish a statewide tourism marketing effort. In the 2018 legislative session, we will still count on you, our partners and industry stakeholders, to spread the message and support the WTA, but we will have a new story to tell and a new vision to share.

Last summer, the legislature passed an operating budget that included a proviso with funding to build the marketing plan. The bill allocated the dollars to Commerce “solely for the department to formulate a statewide tourism marketing plan in collaboration with a nonprofit statewide tourism organization as provided in Substitute Senate Bill No. 5251.” The WTA worked with Commerce to draft an RFP that was dispersed in early October. There were eleven responses to the RFP, which were graded in accordance with strict state standards by a committee comprised of WTA board members and Commerce staff. The proposal from GreenRubino was the successful bid.

Before the ink was dry on the contract, GreenRubino hit the ground running. They met with the WTA and WSDMO boards to hear feedback and are already in the process of conducting several surveys to assess the current state of the tourism industry in Washington. The goal of this process isn’t to come up with a new brand or a catchy slogan, but to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the industry in our state and to fully understand how a statewide organization can best work with existing regional destination marketing organizations, local associations, government entities, and most importantly tourism-related businesses. We’re developing a road map, so our statewide tourism marketing organization will know exactly where to go when the legislature passes our bill in 2018.

 

NOVEMBER ELECTIONS AND TOURISM GOING FORWARD
Becky Bogard and Kathryn Hedrick

 

2017 Elections. The results of the November 2017 elections brought a shift of power to the Washington State Legislature. With the decisive win of now Sen. Manka Dhingra, the Democrat running to replace the late Sen. Andy Hill, control of the Senate shifted to the Democrats. Now the Senate, the House and the governor’s office are controlled by one party, the Democrats.

In the Senate, this means that all the committee chairs have changed. Sen. Christine Rolfes (D., Bainbridge Island) is now chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, the budget writing committee. Sen. Rolfes is very familiar with tourism; she served on the interim work group in 2016 that crafted the legislation intended to establish and fund a new statewide tourism marketing program. Sen. Maralyn Chase (D., Shoreline) is chair of the Economic Development and Trade Committee, the substantive committee that oversees tourism issues. Sen. Chase was a co-sponsor of SB 5251, the legislation that grew out of the 2016 working group.

However, tourism is not really a partisan issue. We have support for the WTA legislation from both sides of the aisle. Key members like Sen. Sharon Brown (R., Richland) and Sen. Judy Warnick (R., Moses Lake) will still be critical to the success of our efforts. Similarly, in the House, Rep. Cary Condotta (R., Chelan), Rep. Andrew Barkis (R., Olympia) and Rep. Gina McCabe (R., Goldendale) will continue to be important in securing support in the House. House Democrat members who have been critical to our success include Rep. Cindy Ryu (D., Shoreline), Rep. Gael Tarleton (D., Seattle) and Rep. Nicole Macri (D., Seattle).

Status of Tourism Legislation. Both HB 1123 and SB 5251 are still alive. The “life” of a bill is two legislative sessions. Since this proposal was introduced in the 2017 legislature, it is alive for the 2018 legislature.

In the House, SHB 1123 remains in the House Appropriations Committee. The legislation had a hearing, but the committee did not take action before the legislature adjourned last July. In the Senate, 2SSB 5251 is in the Senate Rules Committee. It passed out of both the Senate Economic Development and Trade Committee and the Senate Ways and Means Committee. As the session was adjourning, WTA was working with sponsors to try to get some agreed to language about funding.

Marketing Plan. In the meantime, the legislature did approve $500,000 in the 2017-19 biennial budget for the Department of Commerce (Commerce) to work with WTA to put together a draft statewide tourism marketing plan as required in 2SSB5251. Although the latter legislation did not pass, Commerce has worked with WTA to ensure that the marketing plan follows the substance of 2SSB 5251. Please see Managing Director Mike Moe’s article for more details about the work on the marketing plan.

It is anticipated that the statewide tourism marketing plan will be in a form that can be used to show legislators the benefits of passing legislation that will enable the plan to be implemented.

Going Forward in the 2018 Session. WTA is currently working with lead legislators to get an agreement on language for 2SSB 5251 and SHB 1123, particularly regarding state funding and the match. Additionally, there are technical amendments which must be made to update the bill. Most of these relate to dates which are deadlines for certain things to occur. WTA is also working with key members of the fiscal committees, particularly the Senate Ways and Means Committee, to get funding for the second year of the biennium in the supplemental budget.

In summary, WTA has two “asks” for this session. First, we want the bill providing the mechanism for tourism funding passed and signed by Governor Inslee. (This is either SHB 1123 or 2SSB 5251.) Second, we need funding in the supplemental operating budget so that the implementation of the marketing plan can move forward.

Please come to Olympia on January 29-30 to meet with your legislators to ensure they will support our requests!

2018 WASHINGTON TOURISM RALLY INFORMATION

Diana Thibado, Director of Operations

RSVP now for the 2018 Washington Tourism Rally! Our annual event takes on a new look as we celebrate the successes of the past year and meet with legislators to build on the progress made during the last legislative session. There is no cost to attend this rally, but we need to get your RSVP by December 22nd so we can secure appointments with your legislators.

The rally will kick off with a reception hosted by the Washington Hospitality Association at the Hands On Children’s Museum in Olympia on the evening of January 29th, 2018. The next morning, January 30th, we will gather at the United Churches of Olympia for a legislative briefing, and review talking points and handouts for your legislative meetings. A formal schedule of the day and other information will be circulated in early January.

Hotel block information will be available soon. Please click here to RSVP by December 22nd to ensure you get the most up to date information about the rally.

EXPERIENCEWA.COM DEALS AND NEWSLETTER COMBO
Mike Moe, Managing Director 

Does your business have a great winter deal ready to be offered to shoulder-season travelers? Connect with people who are planning a trip in Washington on the ExperienceWA.com Deals Page and through the ExperienceWA eNewsletter!

Now is the time to double up and place your best offers on both ExperienceWA.com – and its opt-in monthly eNewsletter.

ExperienceWA reaches Washington-bound travelers who are looking for deals and information to plan their best vacation. Place your offer on ExperienceWA.com for three months and add that deal for one month on the e-Newsletter for the low combo rate of only $550!

Here’s what you’ll receive:
* 3 months placement in the deals vault on ExperienceWA.com
* 1 month placement in the Deals and Events section of the monthly ExperienceWA eNewsletter

This deal is only good if booked in December, so contact Mike Moe at mike@watourismalliance or call him at 425-444-0589 today!

MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

SKAMANIA LODGE UNVEILS NEW OUTDOOR AERIAL PARK

SUBMIT YOUR STORIES

Want to brag about something your destination was recently recognized for? Have news that impacts Washington State tourism? Please add the WTA to your distribution news list! We’re always looking for story ideas for the WTA monthly newsletter! To submit a story idea, email Diana Thibado at diana@watourismalliance.com.

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WTA THANKS AUGUST, SEPTEMBER, OCTOBER, AND NOVEMBER MEMBERS 

 

Adrift HotelAmerican Hertiage RailwaysAuburn Tourism BoardBainbridge Island Chamber of CommerceBainbridge Island Downtown AssociationBale Breaker Brewing CompanyBellevue Square CollectionBellingham Whatcom County TourismBill Speidel’s Underground TourBogard & Johnson LLCBookwalter WineryCanlis RestaurantChihuly Garden and GlassCity of IssaquahCity of Port AngelesCity of RedmondCity of SequimClarion Hotel SeatacClipper NavigationColville Chamber of CommerceCourtyard by MarriottCowlitz County Tourism BureauEdelmanExperience OlympiaFour Seasons Hotel SeattleHampton Inn RichlandHampton Inn Spokane AirportThe HerbfarmHilton Garden Inn Spokane AirportHilton Vancouver WashingtonHoliday Inn Express & Conference CenterHolland America LineHomewood Suites RichlandHotel AndraHotel Rio VistaKalispel Tribe of IndiansKenmore AirLedgestone HotelNorthwest Travel MagazineNW ToursOlympic Peninsula Tourism CommissionPandion ConsultingParadigm Communications GroupPort of EdmondsPort of IlwacoPort of SeattlePullman Chamber of CommerceQuality Inn OakwoodQuinault Beach Resort & CasinoRenton Chamber of CommerceSeattle AquariumSeattle Monorail ServicesThe Westin BellevueThe Westin SeattleTillicum VillageVisitor Guide PublicationsVisit RainierVisit Tri-CitiesW Seattle HotelWashington Hospitality AssociationWashington State Convention CenterWashington State Wine CommissionWenatchee Valley Chamber of CommerceWSDMOYakima Valley Tourism

 

If you have not yet joined the WTA and would like to become a member, please contact our Managing Director Mike Moe or join today online here.

WASHINGTON STATEWIDE TOURISM MARKETING PLAN RFP

In the 2017-19 state operating budget, the Washington State Legislature appropriated funds to the Department of Commerce (Commerce) and directed the department to use the funds in collaboration with the Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA) to develop a draft statewide tourism marketing plan. Since the end of the legislative session, WTA representatives have been working with Commerce to develop a request for proposal (RFP) to find a qualified entity with marketing expertise to work with the two organizations.

Commerce has officially published the RFP on the WEBS for Vendors website. A copy of the RFP can be found here. The RFP includes the scope of work, qualifications for applicants and timeline for submittals, among other information. To respond to the RFP, please register here. Questions about the RFP should be directed to the RFP Coordinator designated in the document.

We wanted to make sure that you as tourism professionals had a copy of this document. Please feel free to circulate it to anyone who you think might be interested and qualified. Thanks for your assistance in getting the word out!