WTA NEWSLETTER – September

THE WTA ANNOUNCES THE HIRING OF EARTH AND SKY STUDIOS AS INTERIM MARKETING CONTRACTOR
Mike Moe, Managing Director

The WTA is pleased to announce the hiring of Earth and Sky Studios, led by Jenn Tate, as its new marketing contractor. For the next 6 months, Jenn and her team will help the WTA assess current marketing initiatives, reignite the social media program, improve website and newsletter performance, expand the photo and video library, and get ready for the new brand launch in Spring of 2020.

Jenn Tate – Earth and Sky Studios

Earth and Sky Studios is a small creative agency located in North Central Washington that boasts a 20-year track record of delivering results to businesses and organizations of all types and sizes. It’s work includes integrated creative development, strategic planning, collaborative advertising campaigns, robust digital media management, collateral materials, and more.

With a passion for tourism, destination marketing, economic growth and ultimately the long-term success of small businesses, organizations, and events, Jenn is a dynamic, creative, and competent leader whose mission is to help Washington State Tourism succeed, grow and flourish.

“We’re excited to welcome Jenn Tate as a member of our statewide tourism marketing team,” said David Blandford, WTA co-chair. “She brings the right mix of strategic thinking, marketing expertise, and creativity to our efforts – she’s perfect fit for WTA at this critical juncture in our development.”

“We are so happy to be able to work with the WTA, the regional DMOs, and destinations across the entire state,” said Jenn. “We can’t wait to gather stories, images, video, content, and everything we can to help the WTA make Washington State a bucket-list destination for visitors from around the nation and the globe!”

DARRELL BRYAN 1948 – 2019

Darrell Bryan, former CEO of Clipper Navigation and WTA Board Member, passed away on September 7th after a battle with bone cancer. Born in Long Beach, CA, Darrell moved around the US and Canada in his younger years before completing his undergraduate degree at Washington State University in 1971.

He went to work for Amtrak for 14 years, living in 8 different cities. At the same time, Darrell completed his MBA at St. Mary’s and the School of Executive Management at the University of Virginia.

Darrell Bryan

Darrell and his young family then settled down in Seattle, where he was hired by Clipper Navigation, a new startup company providing passenger ferry service between Seattle, San Juan and Victoria, BC. He started as the second employee, but eventually became President, CEO and partial owner for 29 years.

In addition to joining the WTA board in 2011, Darrell was tapped for several other prestigious positions including by the US Secretary of Commerce to serve on the US Travel and Tourism Advisory Board in 2014. In 2016, he accepted an interim CEO role at Interferry, an international organization of worldwide ferry operators. He also joined the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners and Kitsap Transit in 2018.

As a WTA Board Member, Darrell was known for his humor and kindness, but also for moving the conversation forward when needed. “There are two types of people in this world,” said former WTA Board Member and CEO of Argosy Cruises, Kevin Clark. “People who light up a room when they walk in and those that light up a room when they walk out.  Darrell was someone that truly brightened a gathering when he entered the room.  Hospitality and service was in his DNA.”

Darrell is survived by his wife Cathleen of 48 years and sons Patrick and Matthew. In lieu of flowers, please give in memory of Darrell Bryan to Swedish Medical Center at https://www.swedishtributegifts.org/darrellbryan. 

EXPERIENCEWA NEWSLETTER SUBSCRIBERS GROW IN 2019

The subscriber base of the ExperienceWA newsletter has grown considerably in 2019, while maintaining an engagement rate far higher than the industry average. The subscriber base has been bolstered by a sign-up mechanism attached to ordering the Official Washington Visitors’ Guide. This provides for a subscriber base who have already proved their interest in traveling to Washington.

As you plan for 2020, make sure to include advertising in the monthly newsletter. Improvements to the newsletter are coming, so lock in your position now. Each month there is only one Sponsor position available for $750 ($825 for non-members) and they go fast! Featured Content positions are also available. To learn more, click here for the ExperienceWA media kit. Contact Mike Moe at mike@watourismalliance.com or 425-444-0589 to set up your campaign.

GET A DISCOUNT TO ATTEND THE NORTHWEST EVENT TRADE SHOW! SAVE 25%!

The WTA is sponsoring the Northwest Event Show Nov 13-14 and YOU benefit. See where events are headed-at the 2019 Northwest Event Show. The Northwest Event Show is the place to access advanced educational sessions, meet expert speakers, discover new ideas and tools for innovation, and connect with the event community.

For your discount use code: WTA25VIP

25% Off All Show Passes

Register now here!

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 NEWSLETTER – April

INTRODUCING THE 2019 OFFICIAL WASHINGTON VISITORS’ GUIDE

With peak travel season in the Pacific Northwest just around the corner, the Washington Tourism Alliance is excited to share details of the newly-published 2019 Washington State Visitors’ Guide, created through a partnership between the Washington Tourism Alliance, Washington Hospitality Association and SagaCity Media. Now in its 20th year, the guide is designed to lure travelers to Washington State and serve as a visitor guide once they’re here.

This special anniversary edition of the Washington State Visitors’ Guide focuses on adventures and indulgences throughout the state. The guide opens with “WAnderlust,” an overview of the state packed with fantastic photography and stories that showcase the diversity of experiences that await our guests. From hiking trails to hot springs resorts, wildlife spotting to wine tasting, and from whitewater rafting to waterfront dining, this introductory section highlights the best of the Evergreen State. 

The guide also includes detailed explorations of ten distinct regions: Greater Seattle, North Cascades, the Islands, Peninsulas and Coast, the Volcanoes, the Gorge, North Central, Wine Country, Northeast, and Southeast. Each section offers insight into the region’s unique character with suggested itineraries that cover local attractions, shopping, dining, and signature events, plus accommodation listings and a map of the area. 

This is invaluable tool for discovering Washington. To request copies for distribution, email the publisher at washingtonguide@sagacitymedia.com. Also, planning for the 2020 Washington State Visitors Guide has already begun. For advertising opportunities, contact Jeff Adams at SagaCity Media on 206-454-3007.

WTA SEEKING BOARD OF DIRECTORS APPLICANTS
Mike Moe, Managing Director

As the Washington Tourism Alliance grows in its role as statewide destination marketing organization, new leadership opportunities are available. The WTA is now accepting applicants to fill vacancies on the WTA Board of Directors. There are two regional positions open:
Northeast Washington which includes Ferry, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Stevens and Spokane Counties.

South Puget Sound which includes Pierce, Kitsap and Thurston Counties
There are also vacancies in the Restaurants, Retail, Tribes and Arts and Culture sectors.

Our Board members are asked to play an active role in the organization’s strategic marketing initiatives, destination development programming, and industry outreach, support and partnership development. Because of these important responsibilities, 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 and regular conference calls)
Several Committee meetings per year
Annual two-day board of directors retreat (November)
Annual tourism industry summit/tourism conference
WTA member events

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 in a leadership role, please complete and email me an application, your resume, and a cover letter. The deadline to apply is May 7th.

LAST CHANCE TO JOIN THE WTA AT IPW
Diana Thibado, Director of Operations

Would you like to have a presence at the U.S. Travel Association’s IPW? The WTA will be there and we invite you to participate with us by including your information on thumb drives that we will distribute during our appointments.  For just $75 for WTA members ($150 for non-members) you can have one PDF formatted fact sheet included on the thumb drive PLUS two digital images of your destination, attraction, product or service. If you are interested, please email me asap. Materials are due May 1st, 2019. 

MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

CONGRATULATIONS TO FORMER WTA BOARD MEMBER, KIM BENNETT, ON RETIREMENT!

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 NEWSLETTER – February

WHAT’S NEXT

Mike Moe, Managing Director  

Since long before signing the state tourism marketing contract with the Washington Tourism Marketing Authority and the Washington Department of Commerce, the WTA has been developing a list of priorities. Building a statewide destination marketing organization from scratch requires a strong foundation and there is much to do in 2019. For now, the WTA will still be led by a hard-working group of industry experts that sit on our board of directors. The board has formed committees that will take the next steps to create an effective organization.

Partnership

The success of the WTA will be determined by the strength of our partnership with the existing tourism efforts throughout Washington. WTA Co-Chair, Shiloh Burgess from the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce, leads our Outreach Committee. Our state is blessed with a strong core of regional destination marketing organizations, trade associations, tribes, port authorities, chambers of commerce, and businesses that provide the tourism product to our visitors. In the coming months, we will be doing everything we can do to strengthen our existing relationships, introduce ourselves to those unfamiliar with the WTA, and create value for our partners. If you are interested in having a WTA representative speak to your group, please contact me at mike@watourismalliance.com.

Consumer Travel Marketing

Led by our other WTA Co-Chair, David Blandford from Visit Seattle, the goal of our marketing committee is to create and implement a statewide tourism marketing program that positions and achieves incremental tourism growth for the destination, including visitor volume, expenditures, tax receipts and jobs. The process will include re-development of a state destination brand that will strategically position Washington State with target markets and serve as a foundation for myriad campaigns and programs in marketing, advertising, content and communications.

Travel Trade

Engaging the travel trade sector is one of the most efficient ways to spread the news about what we have to offer as a state. Led by Ron Williams from Visit Walla Walla, our travel trade subcommittee has identified five travel trade shows that the WTA will participate in for 2019, starting with Go West at the end of the month. This committee is also tasked with developing itineraries and seeking opportunities for familiarization tours throughout our state.

Digital Marketing

Our digital marketing subcommittee is chaired by Andi Day from the Long Beach Peninsula Visitors Bureau. This committee will lead consumer travel social media efforts, develop a consumer e-news and content strategy, identify digital marketing opportunities and initiate the process of evolving our consumer facing website. While the website, ExperienceWA.com has served us well over the past seven years, the goal is to re-design and update its functionality for users. We will fully integrate the improved website with our new brand.

Travel Media Development

This subcommittee is made up of experts in the communications field from throughout the state and is led by Christina Pivarnik from CP Communications in Port Townsend. This committee was formed last summer and has already been successful in generating editorial media coverage of Washington destinations to travel writers and creating media leads for our partners. Upcoming projects include rebuilding a much-needed state photo and video library.

The challenge to build something new is daunting, but it’s never been more exciting to be a part of the Washington Tourism Alliance as it transitions to the state’s official destination marketing organization. Since the inception of the WTA, professionals from corners of our state and sectors of our industry have united behind this vision. We will continue to depend on the unity of our industry and the strength of our partners to build an organization that will represent our amazing state. If you would like to join this effort, please email me at mike@watourismalliance.com.

We have hit the ground running, but there is still so much more to do. We are only getting started!

WTA WELCOMES NEW BOARD MEMBERS

Diana Thibado, Director of Operations

As the WTA heads into 2019 and begins work on the statewide tourism marketing program, we welcome four new board members from around the state.

Mary Kay Nelson has served as a professional in tourism marketing and non-profit organizational management for over 20 years in Washington State.  Nelson began her extensive career in tourism by building strategic partnerships with businesses and other non-profit organizations as well as governmental agencies.  She started the Lewis County Visitor and Convention Bureau and created a regional marketing effort for the Southwest Washington Region. Since then, Nelson has gone on to become active in Washington Scenic Byways program successfully creating the White Pass Scenic Byway program and South Cascade Loop, where she continues to serve as the Marketing Director.

Michael Novakovich is President and CEO of Visit Tri-Cities. He grew up supporting tourism-related businesses, starting work for his family’s graphic communications company at the ripe old age of 10. While new to the DMO world, he is a tireless advocate for tourism and a champion of community. Michael has over 25 years of professional leadership and management experience with a focus on strategy and marketing, continually leading teams to international, national and regional award recognition for marketing initiatives and strategic endeavors.

Peter Schrappen serves as the Vice President and Director of Government Affairs for the Northwest Marine Trade Association, which represents the state’s $4 billion boating industry. He’s a big believer in associations and recently became a Certified Association Executive. Before his time at NMTA, he spent time working for and then lobbying the state legislature. He serves on several boards and commissions, including board chair of the Big Tent Coalition (which represents the state’s $28 billion outdoor recreation economy) and the Washington Maritime Federation, which speaks for the Evergreen State’s $38 billion overall-maritime business community.

Sandy Ward, a 30+ year veteran of the travel, tourism and hospitality industry is the President & CEO of Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism. Prior to joining the Bellingham Bureau, she served for a dozen years as the founding sales and marketing director for the Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour in Everett, WA. She was the founding executive director of the Snohomish County Tourism Bureau where she served for nine years and was appointed by Washington’s Governor Christine Gregiore to s erve as a member of the Washington State Tourism Commission. In 2007, she and four others founded the Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA).

Welcome to the WTA Board!

MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

INDULGE IN RED WINE & CHOCOLATE IN THE LAKE CHELAN WINE VALLEY

SAN JUAN ISLANDS: WHALE WATCHING UPDATE

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK AND SEQUIM AMONG FROMMER’S 19 PLACES TO SEE IN 2019

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 Newsletter – September

WASHINGTON TOURISM MARKETING AUTHORITY HOLDS FIRST MEETING, SELECTS WTA FOR TOURISM MARKETING CONTRACT  

Mike Moe, Managing Director  

The Washington Tourism Marketing Authority (WTMA) held its first meeting on August 30th at Sea-Tac International Airport and voted to pursue a sole source contract with the Washington Tourism Alliance. If adopted, this contract will allow the WTA to begin implementing the marketing plan developed in early 2018 by the state and our tourism partners.

Made up of nine tourism professionals and four legislators from across the state, the WTMA was created as an oversight board for the new statewide tourism marketing program.

In addition to its favorable WTA decision, the new board had an ambitious agenda to work through in its inaugural meeting. The first task was to elect officers for its Executive Committee. Judy Tuohy of Schack Art Center in Everett was elected as the first Board Chair. Anthony Anton of the Washington Hospitality Association was elected Vice-Chair, Vijay Patel of A1 Hospitality as Secretary, and Robert Lerch of EDI Holdings/Enterprise as Secretary. The WTMA also established three initial committees: Finance, Bylaws, and Policies.

For more information about the new WTMA Board, please click here.

WTA COMMITTEE UPDATE

David Blandford and Shiloh Burgess, WTA Board Co-Chairs

There is much work to do as we begin to establish framework for a new tourism marketing program and the decision to pursue a sole-source contract with the WTA will jump-start the program. While the WTA can’t officially begin to market tourism on behalf of Washington State until the contract is adopted and signed by the WTMA, we are working hard to be ready for that day. The WTA board created committees for marketing and outreach to begin planning our path ahead.

The Marketing Committee will execute the statewide tourism marketing plan. Over the next three months, its goal is to build a 2019 marketing program that achieves broad industry support and engagement. The committee will focus on consumer marketing, including brand development and advertising; travel trade and packaged travel development; destination publicity; crisis communications; website, collateral and visitor information development; and destination development.

The purpose of the Outreach Committee is to foster investment, collaboration, and support for the statewide marketing program creating opportunities to procure $3 million in private sector investment in 2019. The Tourism Marketing Bill requires two dollars of industry investment for every dollar procured by the state and the committee will match marketing opportunities with investors. While investment is crucial to the success of the new program, the Outreach Committee will also work to increase awareness of programs that are free for any tourism-related business or organization. This group will work to build relationships with industry groups, Washington-based businesses, as well as local and state government entities.

It’s an exciting time for the tourism industry in Washington state. After seven years, our hard work is paying off and were moving forward with broad support and strong momentum. Please continue to support our efforts and get ready to be involved!<

WTA MEMBER SPOTLIGHT

 

YOU’RE INVITED TO THE LARGEST EVENT & HOSPITALITY TRADE SHOW IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST

With 115,000+ square feet of exhibit space, the re-imagined 2018 Northwest Event Show offers the latest trends and innovations in the event and hospitality industry.

Join Us on October 16, 2018 at the Washington State Convention Center!

Network with 2,500+ of the most qualified event, corporate and meeting planners, including an impressive number outside the Seattle area. One-third of the currently registered attendees are first-time visitors to the show.

The Butler Team encourages you to join more than 250 leading companies who are exhibiting their venues and services to professionals. We are looking to bring in unique event ideas, live entrainment options, fresh décor ideas and unique catering solutions to satisfy anyone’s taste buds.

We invite you to showcase your business at the Northwest Event Show

Butler Events is an award-winning company that places a high value on exceptional customer experiences. That’s why this year’s show has been re-imagined and grown to inspire creativity and networking. The Butler team has gathered some of the most influential people in the industry to be part of the Show and their Show Advisory Board. They’ve partnered with Supirb Events, a media tool, to give attendees a new and exciting way to plan, organize and share information while participating at the event. It is quickly becoming the event where Innovators and Influencers Connect.

The Butler team invites you to become a sponsor of the show, register to attend or claim a booth space.

INCLUDE EXPERIENCEWA.COM IN YOUR 2019 ADVERTISING PLANS 

Mike Moe, Managing Director 

2018 has been 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 the coming year, we would like to share some highlights from the past year.This year we have continued our REWARDS Program for our banner ad platform and it has been extremely successful. Many of 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 2018. As you know, there are limited spaces available spaces for 2019 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 article has had 10,000 page views and generated more than 3,200 clicks to their website in in the last year!

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.com Media Kit.

MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

LONG BEACH PENINSULA INVITES VISITORS TO THE WILD MUSHROOM CELEBRATION

WTA THANKS AUGUST MEMBERS

NEW MEMBERS

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 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.

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 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.

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.