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 

LEGISLATURE CONSIDERING STATEWIDE TOURISM MARKETING PROGRAM AS PART OF NEW BUDGET

At the half-way point of the Washington State Legislature’s 105-day session, a proposal to create a statewide tourism marketing program is gaining support for inclusion in the next state budget. Committees in both the Senate and House have approved legislation to create an industry-led Tourism Marketing Authority and provide performance-based industry funding mechanisms without additional taxes on Washington’s fourth largest industry. Tourism advocates are working with legislators to ensure the proposal is a part of the next biennial budget. “We have great support from both sides of the political aisle, as well as from legislators in both urban and rural districts,” said Cheryl Kilday, chair of the Washington Tourism Alliance. “Our strategy now is to have the program noted in the budget and therefore the bills will be accepted as a part of the legislature’s most important fiscal action this year.” The tourism marketing program has broad support for its key objectives: • Independent oversight of the industry-run program by a board of tourism industry representatives and legislators. • A marketing plan and campaign that focuses on bringing more tourists to Washington and out to rural and tourism-dependent counties, emphasizing outdoor recreation opportunities and designed to attract international tourists, crafted by a non-profit entity representing the geographic and cultural diversity of the state. • A funding mechanism for a Tourism Marketing Account that does not raise taxes and offers the potential for a $15 million marketing program over the next two years for a tourism marketing program.

Washington State closed its tourism office in 2011 and while visitors to the Greater Seattle area have continued to be strong, many smaller and rural communities have struggled to keep vital tourism dollars (and the resulting jobs and tax revenue) flowing to their businesses. Tourism 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.

The WTA continues its statewide grassroots effort to support the legislation to rally support. The “It’s a Great Return – Tourism Works for Washington” campaign showcases how tourism benefits every community throughout the state. Links to more information are found here.

https://www.facebook.com/Washington-Tourism-Alliance-197125650316989/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzh8CjNQt-6hmYv0px96RpA
 

Upcoming Town Halls

2017 Town Halls

Now is your chance to have your voice heard! Please consider attending one of the upcoming town halls to ask your legislator about supporting HB 1123 and SB 5251 to create a statewide tourism marketing effort.

SUBJECT TO UPDATES / CHANGES BY MEMBERS AT ANY TIME.
District Members Location Address Date Time Notes
1 Palumbo, Kloba, Stanford Cascadia College Mobius Hall 18345 Campus Way NE, Bothell 3/12/2017 2:30pm-4:00pm
3 Riccelli, Ormsby, Billig Washington Cracker Company Building 304 W. Pacific, Spokane 3/11/2017 9:30pm-11:00am
5 Rodne, Graves Maple Valley Community Center 22010 SE 248th Street, Maple Valley 3/11/2017 10:00am-11:00am
Rodne, Graves Issaquah Police Station — Eagle Room 130 E Sunset Way, Issaquah 3/11/2017 12:00pm-1:00pm
Rodne, Graves Mount Si Senior Center 411 Main Avenue South, North Bend 3/11/2017 3:00pm-4:00pm
6 Holy Northwest Museum of Art and Culture (MAC), Eric A. Johnston Auditorium 2316 W. First Avenue, Spokane 3/11/2017 2:00pm-3:00pm
11 Bergquist, Hudgins, Hasegawa Office of Emergency Management 3511 Northeast 2nd Street, Renton 3/18/2017 10:30am-12:00pm
19 Takko, Blake Telephone Town Hall TBD 3/28/2017 6:00pm-8:00pm
21 Liias, Ortiz-Self, Peterson Meadowdale High School Great Hall 6002—168th Street SW, Lynnwood 3/18/2017 2:00-4:00pm
22 Dolan, Doglio, Hunt South Puget Sound Community College- Lacey Campus, Building 1, Room 194 4220—6th Ave SE, Lacey 3/11/2017 2:00-4:00pm
23 Appleton, Hansen, Rolfes Kitsap Fairgrounds, Eagle’s Nest 1200 NW Fairgrounds Rd, Bremerton 9:30pm-11:00am
23 Appleton, Hansen, Rolfes Bainbridge Island City Hall, Council Chambers 280 Madison Ave N, Bainbridge Island 3/11/2017 1:00pm-2:30pm
24 Tharinger, Van De Wege Telephone Town Hall TBD 3/14/2017 6:00pm-7:00pm
27 Jinkins, Darneille, Fey The Evergreen State College-Tacoma Campus 1210 6th Avenue, Tacoma 3/11/2017 10:00am-12:00pm
28 Muri, Kilduff Steilacoom Town Hall 1717 Lafayette St., Steilacoom 3/12/2017 4:00pm-6:00pm
29 Conway Bates Technical College, South Campus Cafeteria 2201 South 78th St., Tacoma 10:00am-12:00pm
30 Miloscia
30 Reeves, Pellicciotti Federal Way Senior Center 4016 S. 352nd St, Auburn 3/11/2017 10:00am-12:00pm
31 Stokesbary, Irwin Edgewood Town Hall 2224 104th Ave. E, Edgewood 3/11/2017 10:00am-11:00am
Stokesbary, Irwin Bonney Lake Justice and Municipal Bldg 9002 Main St. E, Bonney Lake 3/11/2017 12:00pm-1:00pm
Stokesbary, Irwin Enumclaw Fire Department 1330 Wells St., Enumclaw 3/11/2017 2:00pm-3:00pm
33 Orwall, Gregerson, Keiser Kent City Hall, Council Chambers 220 4th Ave S, Kent 3/11/2017 10:00am-12:00pm
36 Tarleton, Frame, Carlyle Leif Erickson Lodge 2245 NW 57th St, Seattle 3/11/2017 11:00am-12:30pm
37 Saldaña Rainier Beach Community Center, multipurpose room 8824 Rainier Ave. S, 98118 Seattle, WA 98118 3/18/2017 10:30am-12:00pm
37 Pettigrew, Santos Rainier Beach Community Center, multipurpose room 8825 Rainier Ave. S, 98118 Seattle, WA 98118 3/11/2017 10:00am-12:00pm
41 Senn, Clibborn, Wellman Somerset Elementary School Gymnasium 14100 Somerset Blvd SE, Bellevue 3/18/2017 10:00am-12:30pm
43 Macri, Chopp, Pedersen Seattle First Baptist Church 1111 Harvard Ave, Seattle 3/11/2017 1:00pm-2:30pm
44 Lovick Lake Stevens Fire District Conference Center 10518 18th St SE, Lake Stevens 3/11/2017 9:30am-11:00am
Lovick Mill Creek Council Chambers 15828 Main Street, Mill Creek 3/11/2017 2:30pm-4:00pm
45 Springer, Goodman Lake Washington Institute of Technology West Building, Room 305A 11605 132nd Ave NE, Kirkland 3/11/2017 12:00pm-1:30pm
45 Rossi Telephone Town Hall TBD 3/29/2017 6:30pm-7:30pm
47 Sullivan, Hargrove, Fain Golden Steer Restaurant 23826 104th Ave SE 3/18/2017 11:00am-12:30pm
48 Slatter, McBride, Kuderer Redmond City Hall, Council Chambers 15670 NE 85th St, Redmond 3/11/2017 10:30am-12:00pm

WTA News Report – HB 1123/SB 5251

Here’s the latest news from around the state on HB 1123 and SB 5251, including some editorial endorsements.

Yakima Herald – 3/8/17

Lack of state funding makes it tough for small towns to chase tourism dollars

 

The Columbian – 2/14/17

“In Our View: Let’s Pay to Boost Tourism”

 

The Everett Herald – 2/13/17

“Editorial: Reopening state tourism office would boost economy”

 

The Daily World – 2/10/17

“Legislation to promote Washington tourism heard in Olympia”

 

Vancouver South Washington Business Journal – 2/10/17

“State looks to restore tourism promotion program”

 

Associated Press – 2/8/17 (Ellensburg Daily Record, Aberdeen News, KOMO TV, Oregon Public Broadcasting, The Daily Astorian)

“Lawmakers Push for Statewide Tourism Program”

 

Stanwood Camano News – 2/8/17

“State may form a Tourism Marketing Alliance”

 

The Wenatchee World – 2/6/17

“Legislature to consider tourism funding”

 

The Olympian – 2/1/17

“Tourism Bill May Help Rural Areas”

 

Chinook Observer – 1/31/17

“Tourism marketing vital for rural success”

 

Tri City Herald – 2/2/17

“Our Voice: State needs to join rest of nation with statewide tourism promotion effort”

 

Northwest Life Channel (Wenatchee) – 1/26/17

“State tourism plan could help communities throughout Washington”

State tourism plan could help communities throughout Washington

 

The Lens – 1/26/18

“Tourism Funding Gains Traction in the House”

 

Walla Walla Union-Bulletin – 1/24/17

Legislature to consider re-establishing tourism marketing program”

 

 The Lens – 1/23/17

“Public-Private Pact Eyed for State Tourism”

 

Yakima Herald – 1/22/17

“Reporter’s Notebook: Three Business-Related Developments to Watch in Olympia”

Watch HB 1123 House Committee Hearing

The Washington House Committee for Community Development, Housing & Tribal Affairs heard House Bill 1123 today that would establish a statewide tourism marketing association. Among those who spoke in support of the bill were Rep. Cary Condotta, the sponsor of the bill, Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce Executive Director and WTA Board Member Shiloh Schauer, Port of Seattle Tourism Director and WTA Board Member Ron Peck, and Washington Retail Association Vice-President of Government Affairs Mark Johnson. There were no speakers against the bill. You can view a recording of the hearing here.

NEW PERFORMANCE-BASED STATEWIDE TOURISM MARKETING PROGRAM READY FOR LEGISLATORS

STATE SENATE AND HOUSE LEGISLATION INTRODUCED IN 2017 SESSION

(Olympia) — Washington would no longer be the only state in the nation without a statewide tourism marketing program under legislation introduced in both the state House and Senate this week.  The legislation would create an industry-led Tourism Marketing Authority and provide performance-based industry funding mechanisms without additional taxes.  Both HB1123 and SB5251 (the same legislation but entered in both the Senate and House) have bipartisan support from legislators representing urban and rural districts throughout the state.  “This legislation has strong support from the tourism industry,” said Cheryl Kilday, chair of the board of the Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA).  “We want to thank the sponsors who have worked so hard to find a solution that will provide for more economic development and jobs as well as state and local tax revenue from increasing tourism to Washington.”  Washington State closed its tourism office in 2011 and 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.  “Washington is the only state in the union that does not have a statewide tourism program. With this legislation, a small investment by the state should see double or even triple the return from the tourism industry. It is a great way to raise revenue without raising taxes,” said Rep. Cary Condotta, R-Wenatchee. “We should see a boost to our tourism industry and economy. It is time to get the word out about our great tourist destinations.”

“We’re lucky to live in one of the most beautiful places in the world, so it only makes sense to encourage more economic growth by attracting more tourism in Washington state,” said Rep. Cindy Ryu, D-Shoreline. “This is especially in rural areas, where we have such natural beauty and a need for new jobs. So I want to thank everyone who visits our state and all those who work to make those visits a memory they will treasure forever.”  The measure also has bipartisan sponsorship and support in the Washington Senate.    “The true wonder of Washington is that with just a two-hour drive in any direction, you can find yourself in a completely different natural ecosystem,” said Sen. Dean Takko, D-Longview. “Establishing a Washington Tourism Marketing Program is win-win, benefitting our small business owners on the shores of coastal towns and expanding our ability to share our distinct cultures and environments with the world.”  “We need these kinds of creative solutions to expand and promote the tourism opportunities in our state,” said Sen. Judy Warnick, R-Moses Lake. “The tourism industry is such a large part of our economy and these are wise investments that the state should make to promote all we have to offer. My district is so geographically diverse, spanning from the Cascades to desert areas in the East –  I want to showcase this beauty as much as possible.”   A tourism working group of legislators met with industry leaders over the 2016 interim to create the new legislation which contains the following key provisions:

  • Independent oversight of the industry-run program by a board of tourism industry representatives and a legislator from each of the four political caucuses. There will also be some non-voting representatives from relevant state agencies including the Department of Commerce, Parks and Recreation Commission and the Department of Revenue.
  • A marketing plan and campaign that focuses on bringing more tourists to Washington and out to rural and tourism-dependent counties, emphasizing outdoor recreation opportunities and designed to attract international tourists, crafted by a non-profit entity representing the geographic and cultural diversity of the state.
  • A funding mechanism for a Tourism Marketing Account: Beginning July 1, 2017, 0.1 percent of general sales taxes collected on retails sales of lodging, restaurants and rental cars will be deposited into the Statewide Tourism Marketing Account. Deposits are limited to $5 million per biennium (every two year state budget cycle) and are subject to private matching funds prior to expenditure. The plan offers the potential for a maximum of $15 million per biennium to be spent on the tourism marketing program.

There will be a hearing on HB 1123 on January 25th before the House Community Development, Housing & Tribal Affairs Committee.  Senate consideration of the legislation is being scheduled.    Other House and Senate Sponsors include:  Rep. Andrew Barkis R-Olympia, Rep. Steve Kirby D-Tacoma, Rep. J.T. Wilcox R-Yelm, Rep. Gael Tarleton D-Seattle, Rep. Gina McBride R-Goldendale, Rep. Norma Smith R-Clinton, Rep. Dick Muri R-Steilacoom, Rep. Noel Frame D-Seattle, Rep. Steve Tharinger D-Dungeness, Rep. Jeff Morris D-Anacortes, Rep. Jim Walsh R-Aberdeen  Sen. Maralyn Chase D-Edmonds, Sen. Christine Rolfes D-Bainbridge Island, Sen. John McCoy DTulalip, Sen. Hans Zeiger R-Puyallup.

The WTA has launched a statewide grassroots effort to support the legislation to rally support.  The “It’s a Great Return – Tourism Works for Washington” campaign showcases how tourism benefits every community throughout the state.

Links for an overview of the bill, frequently asked questions, and information on how to contact your legislators are found here: http://watourismalliance.com/tourismworks/

Make sure to follow the WTA on social media:

https://twitter.com/WTAlliance

https://www.facebook.com/Washington-Tourism-Alliance-197125650316989/ https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzh8CjNQt-6hmYv0px96RpA

#tourismworksforwa

U.S. Travel Association Issues a Cautionary Tale of Washington State’s Divestment in Tourism Marketing

“Washington State travel spending and tax revenue lags seriously behind not only its neighboring competitor states, but the rest of the country as well,” according to new research from the U.S. Travel Association. In 2011 alone – the year the Washington State tourism office closed – travel spending growth was 13 percent slower and travel-generated tax revenue was 26 percent slower than the national rate. Read more here: https://www.ustravel.org/news/updated-us-destinations-little-self-promotion-goes-long-way

 

The 2017 Tourism Summit and Day in Olympia is now FREE!

tourism-works-for-washington
Thanks to our generous sponsors, we are able to offer all the programs of the 2017 Washington Tourism Summit and Day in Olympia at no charge!

It is now going to be even easier to join the WTA on January 24th, 2017 in Olympia at The Washington Center for Performing Arts. The Summit program will include a keynote address from Roger Dow, the President and CEO of the US Travel Association, a Tourism Works for Washington rally and briefing of Tourism legislation, one-on-one meetings with legislators at the Capitol, and a fabulous evening reception at The Governor Hotel.

For those of you who signed up for the 2016 Washington Tourism Summit your registration fee will be refunded and your registration will roll over to the 2017 Summit. You will not need to re-register
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We hope you will join us for this exciting and productive day! Encourage everyone in your community to join us in Olympia on January 24.  Click here to learn more and register.