WTA Summer Newsletter

WTA UPDATE

Mike Moe, Associate Director

There is no better place to be in the summertime than Washington. It’s the busiest time of year for the tourism industry because all around our state, visitors are enjoying the beautiful destinations we have to offer. It’s also a busy time for the WTA as the results of the last legislative session become clearer. While there was no floor action taken on our bill (SHB 1123/SSB5251) in the last legislative session, it is very much alive if the legislature reconvenes and will still be alive next session.

Our bill enjoys widespread, bi-partisan support as we head into 2018 thanks to the WTA lobbying and grassroots team and the hundreds of industry stakeholders who made sure their voices were heard by contacting their local representatives. The legislative budget included a specific appropriation item of $500,000 for fiscal year 2018 to the Department of Commerce to work with the private sector (the Washington Tourism Alliance) to develop a tourism marketing plan.

In the coming weeks, the WTA will work with the Department of Commerce to create a Request for Proposal (RFP) to select a contractor to develop a Washington State Tourism Marketing Plan. The details of the RFP will be made available as soon as possible. Our goal is to have a full marketing plan in hand when the next legislative session begins in January.

 The funding to create a statewide tourism marketing plan is a giant step ahead in our mission to reestablish a statewide tourism marketing effort. The WTA has never had access to dedicated funds to fully develop a comprehensive marketing strategy for Washington. This is truly an exciting time for the tourism industry in Washington because we’ll finally have an opportunity to show what it will look like to market our beautiful state.

Since 2011, the WTA has been working to reestablish a statewide tourism marketing organization. We know that the road has been long and we sincerely appreciate the support shown by businesses and organizations from across our state. The WTA is here today because of the extraordinary energy of our supporters. A big thank you goes out to every WTA member and industry stakeholder who participated in the grassroots effort this legislative session. As we start this new chapter, we hope that your enthusiasm and passion for the WTA mission endures and that you will continue to support our efforts.

 

IT’S NOT OVER ‘TIL IT’S OVER
Becky Bogard and Kathryn Hedrick  

 

The session ended but is it really over? On July 20, the third special session of the 2017 Washington State Legislature ended with a bit of a whimper. While there were many accomplishments, including passage of an operating budget right before the “shutdown” deadline, some major things were left undone. Although the legislature is not officially in session, work continues on two major pieces of legislation which failed to pass. The two items, the capital budget and a fix to the Hirst decision, have been politically linked; that is, passage of one is linked to the passage of the other.

Hirst was a state supreme court decision that limited private water rights. Specifically, a person wanting to develop a well on a residential site was limited by existing water rights including those of tribes and others. The developer community has asserted that this decision has stopped virtually all residential development. It is admittedly a very difficult issue to resolve. Several offers have been made but there has not been one acceptable to all the different parties involved.   The impact of Hirst is felt disproportionately in rural areas.

 The capital budget contains construction projects funded by the state. Failure to pass this budget has stopped may ongoing construction projects. While there are projects in rural areas, many believe that the capital budget is more important to urban areas. In fact, there is a document that is a so-called “agreed to” capital budget but the Senate will not consider passing it until a solution to Hirst is found.
What this means is that the legislature may not really be done. If Hirst and the capital budget can be resolved, then Governor Inslee will most likely call the legislature back into session to pass both.
Tourism funding outcome. As reported to WTA members, earlier, the FY 2017-19 operating budget had two provisions relating to tourism. They are as follows:
  • The FY 2017-19 budget contains $500,000 for the development of a statewide tourism marketing plan before July 1, 2018. While the budget language calls for this to be accomplished under the guidelines of SSB 5251, the tourism marketing bill supported by WTA. Since that legislation did not pass, WTA is working with the Department of Commerce to determine how the funds will be spent to develop the required plan. It is anticipated that an RFP for a marketing plan consultant will be issued soon.

The FY 2017-19 budget also contains a provision for a tourism “sector lead”. The purpose of the sector lead is to have a voice for the industry within the Department of Commerce and a line for communication to the governor’s office. The budget provision allows Commerce to designate an organization as a sector lead. WTA is working with Commerce to establish the parameters for the tourism sector lead and to hopefully have WTA designated as the lead.

As these activities are going on, we continue to talk with legislators to gain support for the comprehensive tourism marketing legislation, SHB 1123 and SSB 5251. Both bills will still be alive at the start of the 2018 session. Before the start of the 2018 legislative session we will be meeting with our key legislative supporters to get their advice on how to proceed. Assuming a marketing plan is crafted with the funds provided in the budget and legislators buy into the plan, legislation will be necessary to establish the mechanism for implementing the plan. That means we will be calling on all of you to work with your legislators for their continued support for a tourism market including program.

 WTA BOARD UPDATE
The WTA is pleased to announce the selection of two new board members: Shaun Tucker and Ron Williams.
Shaun Tucker is the General Manager of the Alderbrook Resort and Spa in Union, Washington. He sits on the Mason County Lodging Tax Advisory Committee and has been a property level GM since 2005. Shaun will represent Resorts on the WTA Board.
Ron Williams is the Executive Director of Visit Walla Walla and has extensive experience in both the non-profit worldand wineries. Ron will be filling the vacant Southeast Washington position on the WTA board.
Ron and Shaun hit the ground running by participating in the August board meeting and we are excited to work with them as we put together a statewide marketing plan.
 The WTA would also like to thank Cheryl Kilday of Visit Spokane for three and half years of leadership of the WTA as the Chair of our Board of Directors. The WTA would not be where it is today without her. Her experience and steady hand guided the WTA and helped mold our organization into what it is today. Cheryl will continue to serve on the Board of Directors and on our Executive Committee as Past Chair. Filling her large shoes will be Andy Olsen from Columbia Hospitality. Andy has served on the board and on our Executive Committee since WTA’s inception in 2011 and has been instrumental in leading our legislative efforts. After a smooth transition, the WTA leadership role certainly remains in capable hands.

 

EXPERIENCEWA.COM FALL PROGRAMS
Mike Moe, Associate Director 
Connect with people looking for things to do in Washington this Fall on ExperienceWA.com. We have several programs that will help you connect with users who are actively planning a trip in Washington. Here are a couple of examples:
  • Banner Ads: Our REWARDS program doubles the number of impressions you purchase for free. This year, our Banner Ad program is averaging a cost-per-click of $1.47, which is outstanding! Our Banner Ad packages start at only $604 for WTA members ($683 for non-members)
  • Deals Page: Highlight a special value-added package or discounted getaway on our Deals page. The specials on our Deals page are averaging less than $1.00 cost-per-click in 2017! You can highlight a package on our Deals page for only $450 for 3 months ($495 for non- WTA members) or $1,500 for a full year ($1,650 for non-members).
To check our full media kit, please click here. To learn more or to set up your fall campaign, email Mike Moe or call him at 425-444-0589

 

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 atdiana@watourismalliance.com.

 

WTA WELCOMES MAY, JUNE, AND JULY MEMBERS 

NEW MEMBERS:

Wildlife Trekking

 
RENEWING MEMBERS:

Arctic Club SeattleArgosy CruisesButler TransportationCedarbrook LodgeChrysalis Inn & SpaClark Nuber, PSColumbia HospitalityCopacino & FujikadoFran’s ChocolatesHard Rock Cafe, Holiday Inn Express – BellinghamHoliday Inn Express – PuyallupHoliday Inn Express – Spokane ValleyHoliday Inn/Express of Yakima/EllensburgHomewood Suites – SeattleHyatt Regency BellevueLynnwood PFDMaryhill Winery, McMenamins Olympic ClubMt. Adams Chamber of CommerceMt. Baker Foothills Chamber of CommercePineapple HospitalityQuality Inn Valley SuitesSaga City MediaSeattle Times CompanySheraton Bellevue HotelSheraton Seattle HotelSkagit Valley TourismSleeping Lady Mountain ResortSpringHill Suites – SeattleSpringHill Suites – WenatcheeTourism Walla WallaVisit Kitsap PeninsulaVisit Lewis Clark ValleyVisit SpokaneWhidbey & Camano Island TourismWing Luke Museum
If you have not yet joined the WTA and would like to become a member, please contact our Associate Director Mike Moe or join today online here.

May Newsletter

WTA UPDATE 

Mike Moe, Associate Director

Summer is just around the corner and tourism industry is busier than ever. While visitors are enjoying the hospitality of our many wonderful sights and destinations, there are important challenges facing the continued success of tourism here in Washington State as well as in the “other” Washington (DC).

Our Washington State Legislature is in double overtime with a second special session which began on May 23. Our priority Statewide Tourism Marketing Program legislation is still alive and our grassroots campaign is very active in reaching out to legislators as they finalize the state’s 2017-19 budget. Please continue to check for updates on our Tourism Works page. You’ll also find talking points and a link to find your legislators’ contact information. If you haven’t already, please add your name to the Statement of Support. Please consider sharing this webpage with your network. Every name counts!

There is new evidence that we need a Washington State Tourism Marketing program now more than ever……the Trump Administration has proposed a budget that totally eliminates the federal public/private partnership  BrandUSA which markets the United States to international travelers.  The U.S. Travel Association is working hard to fight for continued funding but we think it illustrates the need for Washington state to have its own marketing program which makes attracting international tourism a priority. You can read more about the national efforts to keep BrandUSA in the federal budget here.

If you have any questions about the legislation, or if you would like to schedule a phone call or meeting to talk about how you can help, please contact Mike Moe.

STATEWIDE TOURISM MARKETING PROGRAM STILL ALIVE IN OLYMPIA
Becky Bogard and Kathryn Hedrick

A second special legislative session is underway as lawmakers have not passed a state budget for 2017-19. The discussions in Olympia are focused on the funding of public schools and the revenue necessary to comply with the State Supreme Court “McCleary” decision as well as some court decisions requiring mental health expenditures. The state’s fiscal year begins on July 1 so there is tremendous pressure to finalize the budget in this 30-day special session. The current second special session ends June 22 so we expect legislative activity will increase after the Memorial Day holiday and reach a peak in mid-June.

There was no action on the WTA-supported tourism marketing program legislation (SSB5251/SHB1123) in the first special session, but the issue is still very much alive and continues to be a priority issue for the tourism industry and our legislative champions in both the House and Senate.

Currently the Senate version of the budget appropriates $500,000 in FY 2018 for planning money for tourism marketing. The House budget references tourism as a sector with a “lead” in the Department of Commerce but has no specific amount dedicated to tourism.

WTA is working with legislators to include a total of $3 million in the two-year budget cycle – $500,000 in FY 2018 for planning and then $2.5 million in FY 2019 to implement a tourism marketing program. These funds would be matched 2:1 by private sector funds.

It is critically important that the underlying authorizing legislation is also passed to provide the framework for the marketing program. Legislators understand that just appropriating money to the Department of Commerce without clear guidance on how to spend it won’t provide the opportunity for a successful return on investment from the state’s contribution and the 2:1 private sector matching funds.

Your WTA legislative lobbying team has been working with the sponsors of the legislation to reach the leadership of the House and Senate and their respective budget negotiators. Letters of support have been signed by dozens of legislators to emphasize their continuing support for a statewide tourism marketing program.

If you have contact with your legislators or are planning a trip to Olympia when they are in session, please let us know how to help you.

ADVOCATES HARD AT WORK TO REACH LEGISLATORS DURING SPECIAL SESSIONS
Barbara Smith, WTA Grassroots Manager

The special sessions give our grassroots network extra time to make their voices heard by their legislators. Every legislator needs to continue to hear from constituents about the importance of a statewide tourism marketing program.

With little action occurring in Olympia, advocates have taken advantage of their lawmakers being “home” in their districts. It is a time when many legislators are attending local business and community events so please make sure you invite your Senator and Representatives to any tourism-related festivals or conferences. It is important for them to see our industry in action in their own communities.

Targeted advocacy efforts have focused on reaching the key legislative caucus leaders and budget negotiators. Make sure you check the WTA’s Tourism Works website for updated talking points you can use to update your outreach calls, emails and meeting opportunities.

In addition to individual advocate outreach, legislators need to hear from special groups from the tourism industry. For example – the Big Tent Coalition of outdoor recreation businesses signed a joint letter to legislative leaders endorsing a tourism marketing program and describing the impact of economic development, jobs and tax revenue generated by their industry sector.   This is the time for you to reach out within your own region and find like-minded tourism supporters. We can provide you with draft letters and special regional branding and logos to help make an impact.

Media coverage of the legislature tends to focus on the budget negotiations, but we are working to make an impact through guest editorials and letters to the editor. We will post coverage on WTA social media platforms so please remember to “like” and repost/retweet any WTA news. Use the hashtag #tourismworksforwa on all your outreach!

Find the WTA on Twitter @WTAlliance and Facebook

If you need anything for your own advocacy and grassroots efforts, please don’t hesitate to contact Barbara Smith or Mike Moe.

WASHINGTON STATE VISITORS’ GUIDE WINPRESTIGIOUS PUBLISHING AWARD
SagaCity Media

Join us in celebrating the Washington State Visitors’ Guide! The publication-produced in partnership with SagaCity Media, Washington Hospitality Association, and Washington Tourism Alliance-recently received two awards for outstanding editorial content and design excellence.

The 2016 edition won Best Visitors’ Guide (circulation over 75,000) in the Maggie Awards. The Maggies recognize world-class publishing and are presented each year by the Western Publishing Association to promote the pursuit of excellence among publishing and media professionals. On top of that, the “Explore Like a Local” feature story from that issue won first place for Lifestyles & Travel Reporting in the Northwest Excellence in Journalism contest, hosted by the Society of Professional Journalists. In both cases, the Washington State Visitors’ Guide was selected as the winner by professionals in the publishing industry, which speaks to the quality of the guide. We are thrilled to have this award-winning publication represent Washington state tourism!

While we celebrate these two fantastic wins, we are also hard at work planning for the 2018 edition of the guide. Don’t miss out on your opportunity to be included in the award-winning Washington State Visitors’ Guide. To reserve your advertising space in the upcoming guide, contact Jeff Adams at 206-454-3007 or jadams@sagacitymedia.com.

EXPERIENCEWA.COM FEATURED LISTING SPECIAL
Mike Moe, Associate Director

As hopefully you know by now, every tourism-related business in Washington State is entitled to a free listing on ExperienceWA.com. A Featured Listing will make your business stand out from the thousands of other listings. It will be much easier to find because it will rotate at the top of the list of every relevant category. A longer description and more pictures will also give the user more information. Most advertisers who participate in our Featured Listing program end up paying less than $1 a click!

During the month of June, we are offering a $50 discount for new Featured Listings ($628 for members, $695 for non-members). Contact Mike Moe to take advantage of this great deal!

MEMBERS IN THE NEWS
 

APRIL NEWSLETTER

WTA UPDATE

Mike Moe, Associate Director

Spring is here which means warmer weather, longer days and great opportunities to promote tourism throughout Washington state. It also means the state legislature is going to be putting in longer days as well.
With only a few days left in the regular 2017 session, legislators have a lot of work to finalize the 2017-19 state budget. As you will read below, there is good news for the WTA supported statewide tourism marketing proposal but we have a long way to go before we see the return of the state’s support for tourism marketing.

 

Our Tourism Works for Washington campaign is going strong and you can find all the up-to-date information on our Tourism Works page. You’ll also find talking points and a link to find your legislators’ contact information. If you haven’t already, please add your name to the Statement of Support. Please consider sharing this web page with your network! Every name counts!

If you have any questions about the legislation or if you would like to schedule a phone call or meeting to talk about how you can help, please contact Mike Moe.

STATEWIDE TOURISM MARKETING PROGRAM STILL ALIVE IN OLYMPIA

Becky Bogard and Kathryn Hedrick

The end of the 2017 regular legislative session is April 23 but lawmakers will most likely need extra time this year to complete work on the state budget. Both the House and Senate have passed very different versions of the budget but the good news is both include funding for tourism marketing.
The Senate budget specifically mentions the WTA supported Tourism Marketing legislation SSB5251 and appropriates $500,000 for planning in fiscal year 2018. While this is not the full amount of funding we requested, it keeps the underlying legislation alive because it is considered “necessary to implement the budget” and provides funding that can be the subject of budget negotiations.
The House budget provides funding for a public-private match program through the Washington Department of Commerce. The appropriation is for $2.3 million to invest in several industry sectors including tourism. While this is not the full funding the WTA has asked for, it is important that tourism is explicitly listed as a priority. It gives House budget negotiators flexibility in their discussions with their Senate counterparts.

If the legislature does not finish its work this month, there are several options for legislators and the governor to call a special session. At this point, no one knows how or when a special session would be held but it could be well into June before the final budget is passed. Therefore, it is extremely important that tourism advocates continue to contact legislators to encourage support for tourism funding and specifically ask their budget leaders to ensure a fully funded statewide tourism marketing program.

STAY ENGAGED! CONTINUE CONTACTS WITH LEGISLATORS
Barbara Smith, WTA Grassroots Manager
The active WTA grassroots network is more than 700 strong and growing every day! Your contacts have had a direct impact and we must continue to keep the “pedal to the metal” with outreach to legislators. The WTA team has prepared updated talking points and advocacy tools available on the Tourism Works website.

Here are a few ideas to keep the momentum going!

Say Thank You!
Reach out to legislators who have supported tourism in the state budget.  Let them know their support is appreciated and you want them to keep pushing for passage of the tourism bill (SHB1123/SSB5251) and funding in the final state budget. Ask them to tell their budget leaders to support full funding for a statewide tourism marketing program. Call or post in social media, or send an email to legislators reminding them of the importance of tourism to your community and thanking them for keeping tourism a top priority. You can find a list of legislators and their contact information here.
Media
Use social media to “tag” legislators with positive tourism messages.  Make sure you use the hashtag #tourismworksforwa and add visuals (photos and short videos).  Remember that old fashioned media is also important!  Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper – the WTA staff will happily help you with a draft.

 

Virtual Visits
Make arrangements with your legislator for a virtual meeting (phone call, Skype, Facebook Live).  Gather a few tourism supporters from your district for a group call where you can emphasize your support for tourism.  Some legislators may even have in-district meeting opportunities for constituents on the weekends.  Look for those opportunities to meet face-to-face is possible.

 

Consider another visit to Olympia
Late in the session, many legislators who are not involved in budget negotiations have more time to meet one-on-one in Olympia with visitors to the capitol.  Let the WTA staff know if you are considering a visit and we can help you with scheduling.
Tourism Week

 

National Tourism Week is May 7 – 13.  Include legislators in your planning for activities in your community.  Invite them to events and include positive messages about the value of tourism in your Tourism Week messaging.  Legislators may not be able to attend but they like to be asked and included.

 

If you need anything, please don’t hesitate to contact Barbara Smith  or Mike Moe.

OFFICIAL 2017 WASHINGTON STATE VISITORS’ GUIDE RELEASED
SagaCity Media

The Washington Tourism Alliance, the Washington Hospitality Association, and SagaCity Media are thrilled to announce the release of the official 2017 Washington State Visitors’ Guide. This year, visitors can dive into adrenaline-pumping adventures, embark on culinary road trips, discover outdoor escapes and urban locales, and find out just what makes our state so breathtaking and unique. Previous guides have been recognized for their engaging articles and eye-catching artwork, with the 2016 guide named a Maggie Award finalist for best visitor guide.
With distribution locations in eight western states and British Columbia-as well as across the country via mail by request, online, and on tablet and smartphone devices-this year’s edition introduces nearly one million readers to the splendors of the state. This year’s guide will also receive exclusive distribution to thousands of Seattle Met and Portland Monthly subscribers. Pick up a copy today or read it online.
FEATURE YOUR EVENTS ON EXPERIENCEWA.COM!
Mike Moe, Associate Director

 

In the past year, the ExperienceWA.com website has had close to 800,000 unique visitors and over 1.8 million pageviews. One of the most visited pages on the ExperienceWA website is our Events page. Visitors who are looking for events are also among the most qualified because they are ready to be inspired! While any tourism-related business in Washington State can list their event for free, purchasing a Featured Event Listing is one of the most inexpensive yet effective ways to utilize ExperienceWA.com.
Featured Event Listings only cost  $370 ($378 for non-members), most advertisers who have utilized this program have paid less than $1 a click! Featured Events also have the chance to be included in our award-winning monthly eNewsletter for no extra cost!
To learn more about Featured Listings and all the other opportunities available on ExperienceWA.com click here for our Media Kit. To purchase a Featured Listing, email Mike Moe or call him at 425-444-0589.

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 WELCOMES MARCH MEMBERS 

NEW MEMBERS:

 

RENEWING MEMBERS:

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

FEBRUARY/MARCH NEWSLETTER

WTA UPDATE 

Mike Moe, Associate Director

The WTA legislation to create a statewide tourism marketing effort has momentum thanks to your support! However, there is still much work to be done and many ways you can help the cause. If you haven’t added your name yet to the Statement of Support, you can do so here. Please consider sharing this webpage with your network! Every name counts!

If you would like to reach out to your legislators, you can find all the up-to-date information on our Tourism Works page . You’ll also find talking points and a link to find your legislators’ contact information.

If you have any questions about the legislation or if you would like to schedule a phone call or meeting to talk about how you can help, please contact Mike Moe

STATEWIDE TOURISM MARKETING PROGRAM STILL ALIVE IN OLYMPIA

Becky Bogard and Kathryn Hedrick

 

Legislation to create a statewide tourism marketing program is moving forward in Olympia.  Both SHB 1123 and SSB 5251 remain alive because they considered “necessary to implement the budget”. The legislation will remain alive basically until the end of the session.
There are still many ways the legislation could change and the funding sources are still being discussed. We are reviewing all the proposed changes to make sure it is consistent with the WTA’s guiding policies for a statewide marketing program.
It is very important that legislators hear from advocates to ensure the proposal is included in the state budget. We need WTA members and advocates to continue to reach out to their legislators in support of the bills.
Here are the important points to include in your message:
  • We need a statewide tourism marketing program to bring more visitors to our state and to promote Washington internationally.
  • Please make sure a statewide tourism marketing program is a part of the 2017-19 Washington State Budget and references SHB1123/SSB5251.
  • The proposal does not raise new taxes and the small financial investment by the state will be returned by more economic development, jobs and tax revenue.
  • Local lodging taxes cannot be used for a statewide marketing. The proceeds of local lodging taxes are often committed to paying bonds for buildings such as convention centers, stadiums, arenas, and performing arts centers
  • While visitors to the Greater Seattle area have continued to be strong, many of our smaller and rural communities have struggled to keep vital tourism dollars (and the resulting jobs and tax revenue) flowing to their businesses.
  • Tourism is Washington’s 4th largest industry and impacts more than hotels, restaurants and destinations.  It benefits retailers, outdoor recreation, state parks, ports and cities – and ultimately the taxpayers of Washington.  More than $1.8 billion in local and state tax revenues are generated directly from tourism.  It’s the largest employer of women and minorities and is responsible for more than 170,500 jobs.

Please continue to call and email Olympia!

ATTEND YOUR TOWN HALL MEETING IN MARCH, PUMP UP SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS! 

Barbara Smith, WTA Grassroots Manager

Many legislators will be returning home to their districts to meet in Town Hall Meetings the weekends of March 11/12 or March 18/19. Please check the WTA website for a list of scheduled Town Hall Meetings and plan to bring your friends and neighbors to the event in your community.

Your calls, emails and visits to Olympia have helped support for a statewide tourism marketing program but there is no limit to how many times you can contact your legislators.

This week we are asking all WTA advocates to “tag” legislators on social media with messages about the importance of tourism to your community.

It’s simple – here’s what you need to do.
From your Facebook account, (It can be your personal or business account) post a photo of a something that signifies tourism in your community (a local park, your convention center, etc.) with a message like this:
This is what tourism looks like in ______________.   Please support HB1123/SB5251 to help us bring more tourists to Washington state and provide more economic development, jobs and tax revenue – especially for rural and tourism dependent communities.   #tourismworksforwa
To tag legislators in the post use the “@” symbol before the legislator’s name it should post right to their account.  Here is an example:

Remember to like the WTA Facebook and WTA Twitter pages and to use the WTA hashtag #tourismworksforwa in all your social media posts.

WTA SEEKING BOARD OF DIRECTORS APPLICANTS

The Washington Tourism Alliance is looking for applicants to fill vacancies on the WTA Board of Directors. There are two regional positions open:
  • Southeast Washington which includes Whitman, Garfield, Columbia, and Asotin counties
  • North Central Washington which includes Kittitas, Chelan, Grant, and Okanogan counties

We also have vacancies in the following sectors: Education, Arts and Culture, and Resorts.

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 submit the application, your resume, and a cover letter to Mike Moe.

CONNECT WITH PEOPLE ACTIVELY PLANNING A TRIP IN WASHINGTON!

2016 was an outstanding year for the advertisers on 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 your business or destination plans for this new year, we would like to share some highlights from the past year.

Last year we continued our REWARDS Program for our banner ad platform and it has been extremely successful. Our advertisers are only paying an average of just over $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 and Custom eNewsletter program was also big in 2016. As you know, there are limited spaces available spaces for 2017 are already filling up! If you want advertising space in our eNewsletter or to run a Custom eNewsletter, let us know as soon as possible.

Finally, our most successful program to date has been our Custom Content Creation. Our editors will work with you to write an article about your destination or property. You will get 100% approval throughout the process. Your article will live on ExperienceWA for a full year with an option to renew, and even better, you get to keep the article for your own website forever! One had an article that had 28,000 page views and generated more than 20,000 clicks to their website in 2016.

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

MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

THE COLUMBIAN SAYS “LET’S PAY TO BOOST TOURISM”

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 WELCOMES JANUARY AND MEMBERS 

January Newsletter

WTA UPDATE
Mike Moe, Associate Director

The WTA Summit and Tourism Day in Olympia on January24th brought tourism professionals from across the state for a day of statewide tourism advocacy.

The morning presentation opened with three members of the Legislative Tourism Working Group, Representatives Cindy Ryu, Cary Condotta and Gael Tarleton, sharing why they worked throughout the summer with seven other legislators to create a new plan to fund a statewide tourism marketing effort. They emphasized that the proposed legislation of HB1123 and SB5251 is bi-partisan and an investment in economic development for our state’s future. Their presentation, along with that of Roger Dow, the President & CEO of the US Travel Association, set the optimistic, enthusiastic tone for the day.

“The spirit of positive energy and forward momentum at last week’s Tourism Summit and Day in Olympia was exciting to say the least,” said WTA Summit Committee Chair and Board Member Christina Pivarnik of the City of Port Townsend. “It was especially rewarding to hear Reps. Ryu, Condotta and Tarleton speak in support of a statewide tourism marketing program and its long-term economic development opportunities.”

In the afternoon, Summit participants were encouraged to go up on the hill to visit with their legislators and promote the legislation. Tourism advocates met with legislators in almost every single district in the state. Coming out of the meetings, the tone was enthusiastic and the WTA received fantastic feedback from legislators.

The evening concluded with a reception at The Governor’s Hotel featuring a variety of Washington wine. The WTA would like to especially thank all of the Summit sponsors for helping make the event free and to all those who donated wine for the evening reception.

There’s more work still to be done and we look forward to hearing the strong voice of support from the tourism industry in the coming weeks.

TOURISM BILL MOVING IN THE LEGISLATURE

Becky Bogard and Kathryn Hedrick  

First, we want to give a big shout-out to those who attended the Tourism Summit and met with their legislators. We have been getting excellent feedback from both you and the legislators. You helped make legislators realize there is a much grassroots support for reinstating a statewide tourism marketing program!

There are now identical bills in the House and the Senate that reflect the agreement of the legislative tourism working group. The bills are HB 1123 and SB 5251, respectively.

Sponsors of the House bill, HB 1123, include Reps. Condotta (R., Chelan), Ryu (D., Shoreline), Barkis (R., Lacey), Kirby (D., Tacoma), Wilcox (R., Yelm), Tarleton (D., Seattle), McBride (D., Kirkland), Smith (R., Whidbey Island), Muri (R., Lakewood), Frame (D., Seattle), Tharinger (D., Sequim), Morris (D., Mt. Vernon), and J. Walsh (R., Longview). Sponsors of the Senate bill, SB 5251, include Sens. Takko (D., Longview), Warnick (R., Moses Lake), Rolfes (D., Bainbridge Island), McCoy (D., Tulalip), Zeiger (R., Puyallup), and Chase (D., Shoreline). If any of these are your legislators, please thank them for their support!

The House bill is the first to move. It was referred to the House Community Development, Housing and Tribal Affairs Committee where the bill had a hearing on Wednesday, January 25th, the day after the Tourism Summit. All who testified supported the bill. In addition to representatives from WTA, there was support expressed from the ports association, cities association, Washington Wine Institute, some destination marketing organizations and others. It should be noted that two of the members of the interim working group are members of this committee, Reps. Ryu and Barkis. They were clear to their colleagues about support for the bill. You can view the hearing here. This is the TVW location of the hearing on the bill.

On Thursday, January 26th, the same House committee took executive action and voted the bill out of committee unanimously. There were some technical amendments. One allows matching contributions to be from non-state rather than only private sources. This opens up the possibility of contributions from such organizations as ports, tribes, and DMO’s. Another amendment clarified the source of the public funding for the special tourism marketing fund. A final amendment changed that fund from a non-appropriated fund to an appropriated fund. This is technically necessary since the source of the proceeds in the fund are tax revenues.

So what’s next? As of this writing we know that the House bill was referred to the  House Appropriations Committee, with no hearing scheduled yet. Please keep checking the website for the latest on the path of the bill so you know which legislators are important to contact.

In the Senate, we anticipate that the Senate Agriculture, Water, Trade and Economic Development Committee will have a work session about tourism. Many of the members are new to the committee and would like to have a briefing about the industry before considering the bill. A hearing has been scheduled February 9th at 8am.

Again, please keep checking the WTA website for updates on the bill.

 
PORT OF SEATTLE ANNOUNCES 2ND ANNUAL TOURISM MARKETING SUPPORT PROGRAM

 

The Port of Seattle announces the 2017 Tourism Marketing Support Program available for organizations across the state of Washington. The match funding can be used for a variety of tourism marketing efforts such as website development, advertising and participation in travel trade shows. The focus is to increase out-of-state tourism and promote Port of Seattle travel related facilities such as Sea-Tac International Airport, cruise terminals and recreational marinas. Application forms and proposals for the 2017 program are due February 22, 2017.

“We are impressed with the results from last year’s grant winners and this is a great way to boost tourism for the state of Washington,” said Commission President John Creighton. “We remain committed to working with our partners to get more visitors to destinations across our state.”

The Port of Seattle is making $150,000 available to organizations such as chambers of commerce, convention and visitor bureaus (CVBs) and regional tourism organizations; government entities such as counties, cities, port districts, Native American nations, or state/federal agencies; and non-profit organizations focusing on events or activities that attract visitors. The maximum fund request from an organization is $10,000.

“With the Port of Seattle’s support, we are able to change the market for Walla Walla by advertising to likely flying travelers from out of state,” said Mary Angelo, Director of Client Services, DVA Advertising and Public Relations. “The Port of Seattle’s matching grant allowed our organization to present at the IPW travel trade show, garnering contacts and interest that will lead to an increase in international visitors to our destination,” said Sherrye Wyatt of Whidbey and Camano Islands Tourism.

“The Port of Seattle’s application process was very easy, and the 24th annual Wintergrass Music Festival was able to see four times the click rate on our website, which resulting in a 56 percent increase in out of state ticket purchases,” said Wendy Tyner of the Wintergrass Music Festival.

For more information, visit the Port of Seattle website.

EXPERIENCEWA BANNER ADS HAVE HAD ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL YEAR!

 

2016 was another outstanding year for the advertisers on 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 your business or destination plans for this new year, we would like to share a highlight from the past year.

In 2016, we continued our REWARDS Program for our banner ad platform and it has been extremely successful. Our advertisers are only paying an average of $2.17 per click. That is WAY below industry standard. The fact that ExperienceWA website visitors are there specifically to learn about traveling in Washington State only make these clicks more valuable.

There are so many different 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 here to view the full ExperienceWA Media Kit.

MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

LAKE CHELAN POPULAR RED WINE AND CHOCOLATE RETURNING NEXT MONTH

NEW MEMBERS:

Booking.com, Mukilteo Chamber of Commerce

RENEWING MEMBERS:

THE WTA MOURNS THE LOSS OF DONNA CAPPA
Mike Moe, Associate Director 

The board members and staff of the Washington Tourism Alliance are deeply saddened by the tragic passing of Donna Cappa. Donna died on December 3rd, 2016 after being in a terrible accident the night before.

As the Director of Sales and Hotel Operations for the Tulalip Resort Casino and a WTA board member, Donna was a strong advocate for the WTA and worked tirelessly for the betterment of the entire Washington tourism industry. Donna will be dearly missed by her friends and colleagues.

The Tulalip Resort Casino held a beautiful celebration of Donna’s life on December 10th. Following Native American drum and prayer songs, her eldest daughter Rianne gave a moving eulogy. Calling Donna “bigger than life” and “a force to be reckoned with”, she shared that friends and family meant everything to Donna. This sentiment was echoed many times as other family members and friends shared memories and spoke about her life with emotion, eloquence, and humor.

Please join us in keeping her family and friends in our thoughts during this difficult time. If you are able and interested, click here to assist the family with funeral and emergency hospital expenses that were incurred.

TOURISM LEGISLATION STARTING DOWN PATH OF CONSIDERATION AND PASSAGE
Becky Bogard and Kathryn Hedrick

As we approach the holidays and the new year, legislators are coming together to propose legislation intended to establish a long-term tourism marketing program for the state of Washington. As reported in this newsletter, a group of legislators have been working over the interim to fashion a program that will work within the constraints of the state budget.

While the bill is not quite final, it is taking shape and should be available very early in the legislative session, which starts January 9. Some of the features of the bill include the following:
  • Creation of an industry-led Washington Tourism Marketing Authority (WTMA) consisting of nine representatives from the tourism industry and four legislators. The Authority would also have and advisory committee with representatives from appropriate state departments and a federally recognized tribe.
  • Purpose of the WTMA would be to contract with a statewide non-profit entity to devise and implement a statewide tourism marketing plan and to evaluate the effectiveness of the program.
  • The marketing program would focus on bringing out-of-state tourists to Washington with special emphasis on outdoor recreation, tourism dependent counties and international tourists. It would also include provisions for helping tourism dependent areas impacted by natural disasters such as fires.
  • Funding for the program would come from a $15 million biennial fund. This fund has two components: a diversion of .1% of the state sales tax on lodging, restaurants and rental cars (up to $5 million) and a private match of $10 million. The match can be both cash and in-kind contributions.
Details of the legislation are being circulated among legislators for final approval before introducing the bill. For a more complete discussion of the details, please click here. As with any legislation, it will be discussed in committees and changes may be considered. Hopefully there will be something to start implementing when the 2017 legislature ends.
With the start of the new legislature, there are changes in committee structures that will impact consideration of this legislation. In the Senate, Sen. Judy Warnick (R., Moses Lake) will chair the Agriculture, Water, Trade and Economic Development Committee. This will be the initial committee of consideration in the Senate. The legislation will also have to be considered by the Senate Ways and Means Committee. That committee has a new chair, Sen. John Braun (R., Chehalis).
In the House, the bill will be referred to the House Community Development, Housing and Tribal Affairs Committee. Rep. Cindy Ryu (D., Shoreline) is the chair and one of the task force participants. The legislation will then be considered by the House Appropriations Committee, chaired by Rep. Timm Ormsby (D., Spokane).

Please check the WTA website for the most updated news about the legislation. The site also offers ways that you can be a part of WTA’s grassroots advocacy campaign and has downloadable fact sheets and other tools that you can use in your community.

JOIN THE WTA GRASROOTS EFFORT! 

Barbara Smith, Harris & Smith Public Affairs

The Washington Legislature begins its session in just a few weeks so the WTA Grassroots campaign is kicking into high gear!
We need strong advocates for the 2017 tourism marketing program proposal in every legislative district across Washington. Please take the time to fill out the form on the WTA website www.watourismalliance.com/tourismworks. It will ensure you are receiving up to date information about the grassroots efforts. We will provide you with everything you need to contact your legislator and support the new proposal.

Our coalition of supporters is growing! We are working with allied organizations who understand the benefits of tourism to Washington’s economy and they are joining us to show legislators that tourism works for ALL of Washington – including outdoor recreation, local governments, and business interests.If you know of an organization in your community that could join our grassroots, please let us know!

If you missed the recent WTA Grassroots Webinar, you can watch the entire program when it is convenient for you. The video is posted on the WTA YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOqfh6joACk. Stay tuned for information about future webinars in early January.
We hope we can count on your support, enthusiasm and energy to help us win big in the 2017 session.

2017 WASHINGTON TOURISM SUMMIT AND LOBBY DAY IN OLYMPIA DETAILS

Join us for a day of tourism advocacy focused on WTA efforts to secure long-term funding for Washington State tourism marketing and promotion. Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, we are able to offer the event free of charge!

Our exciting morning program includes a keynote address from Roger Dow, an interactive panel with legislators from the Tourism Working Group, and more information about our grassroots efforts. During the afternoon we will be moving to the hill to share our message with legislators, followed by an evening reception at the Governor Hotel.

Space is limited, so register here soon!

 

If you haven’t done so already, book your hotel room today! The Governor Hotel is offering special rates for Summit attendees, please call (360) 352-7700 and mention the WTA Tourism Summit & Lobby Day Group.

We look forward to seeing you in Olympia!

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 monthlynewsletter! To submit a story idea, email Diana Thibado atdiana@watourismalliance.com.

WTA WELCOMES NOVEMBER MEMBERS