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
.
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.