WASHINGTON STATEWIDE TOURISM MARKETING PLAN RFP

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

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

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

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.

Great News from Olympia!

WTA TOURISM CALL TO ACTION  

CALL/EMAIL YOUR LEGISLATORS IMMEDIATELY
Contact your legislators NOW and ask them to support SSB5251 to create a Statewide Tourism Marketing Program.

The bill will be considered by the Senate Ways & Means Committee early Friday and then on to the Senate and House floors.

We need to reach every legislator!

Tell them to Vote YES on SSB5251to establish a Tourism Marketing Authority and the critical framework necessary to establish the statewide marketing program for Washington State.

  • VOTE YES on SSB5251
  • The structure of a Tourism Marketing Authority is necessary to ensure accountability and a return on the state investment.
  • Tourism impacts more than hotels, restaurants and destinations.  It benefits retailers, outdoor recreation, state parks, ports and cities….and ultimately the taxpayers of Washington.
  • A statewide tourism marketing program would concentrate on bringing more tourists to Washington from outside the state and nation.
  • The Washington Tourism Alliance believes there is a minimum of a three-to-one return to the state treasury on investment for the proposed statewide tourism marketing program.

This return on investment will happen quickly.  Unlike other state programs that may take years to show results, increased tourism will return the investment almost immediately.

WTA ACTION ALERT! CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATORS TODAY!

ACTION ALERT!

CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATORS TODAY

HELP THE WTA BRING A STATEWIDE TOURISM MARKETING PROGRAM OVER THE FINISH LINE

The Washington State Legislature is in the final days of passing a new state budget and we need to make sure our priority legislation SHB1123/SSB5251 is passed and funded for the 2017-19 biennium. The current deadline for a new budget is June 30, a week from Friday!

Our WTA grassroots network has been awesome in contacting legislators over the past few months but we need you to do it again …and soon! Even if you’ve already send an email, text or made a call, please make those outreach contacts again this week!

The basic messages:

  • We urge you to talk to your leadership and budget negotiators and ask them to make sure SHB1123/SSB5251 are funded in the state budget and bills are passed to implement the program in the 2017-19 biennium.
  • The small investment by the state will be matched 2-for-1 by the tourism industry and provide almost immediate returns on the investment to state coffers. The important tax and spending revenue generated by tourism will make a difference for years to come.
  • Washington is the only state in the nation without a statewide tourism marketing program.
  • Our communities do an excellent job with local lodging taxes to promote themselves, but to grow tourism revenues for the state, Washington needs to have a statewide tourism marketing program that brings national and international visitors into Washington state. One of the primary goals of the legislation is to reach travelers and get them to areas of the state outside urban centers.

Everything you need is on the Tourism Works page. You’ll find talking points and a link to find your legislators’ contact information. Please forward this message and webpage link to your network. Every name counts.

 

Social media is especially important in these final days of the session. Please use the hashtag #tourismworks on all your posts and tag your legislators to let them know you support statewide tourism marketing.

 

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.

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”