Gov. Jay Inslee opened the WTA 3rd Annual Washington Tourism Alliance Summit and Day in Olympiaon March 12, 2013, speaking to over 200 tourism industry representatives at the event. You can watch his presentation here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJA3-LtujI8&feature=player_embedded
March 12, 2013
State Tourism Summit Takes Place Today in Olympia
Industry gathers, Governor Inslee speaks in support of funding for tourism marketing – just as new state tourism impact numbers are released
SEATTLE – The Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA) will convene its third, statewide Tourism Summit today in Olympia to present a “state of the industry” and engage tourism stakeholders in discussions of its future funding, marketing programs and legislative agenda.
Governor Inslee will deliver the keynote address to some 200 attendees from destination marketing organizations, hotels, visitor attractions, tour and transportation companies, restaurants, retail establishments, meeting venues and other private and public sector organizations. Last month, the governor released his Working Washington Agenda which references the importance of re-engaging tourism – the state’s fourth largest export industry according to Gross Domestic Product – following the closure of the state tourism office nearly two years ago.
“We are so encouraged to have the support of Governor Inslee at this critical juncture for our industry,” said Louise Stanton-Masten, WTA Executive Director. “We’ve accomplished a great deal in the past two years, but we know that to stay competitive in a very competitive industry we’ll need the support of both the private and public sectors as we go forward.”
Figures released today by WTA indicate that tourism in Washington State improved slightly in 2012, thanks to the national economic recovery which spurred 5.2 percent growth in U.S. tourism. However, visitation to Washington State lagged behind the U.S. with just 2.1 percent growth. The state saw some 36.4 million total overnight person trips in 2012, and those visitors spent $16.9 billion, up 4.4 percent over 2011. As with the increase in visitor spending, total local and state tax receipts generated by travel spending increased 4.9 percent to just over $1 billion – the equivalent of $390 for every resident household in Washington State.
Travel and tourism supported more than 153,300 jobs in 2012, up 2.7 percent, and generated earnings (payroll) of $4.7 billion.
“Despite some incremental growth, we worry that tourism in Washington is not keeping pace,” said Stanton-Masten. “It’s critical that we address our competitive disadvantage to Oregon, Idaho, Montana, California – and every other state for that matter – all of which boast dramatically larger tourism marketing budgets and are poised to capture our share of the lucrative tourism market.”
Competing western state tourism budgets range from $10 and $60 million. Comparatively, WTA began work with a budget of some $300,000 when the state tourism office closed and has worked to sustain it by raising incremental funds through membership and corporate sponsorships.
Today’s tourism summit will feature a presentation by the WTA of its current destination marketing activities and discussion of possible solutions for short- and long-term sustainable funding. The tourism summit will be held at the Washington Center for Performing Arts in Olympia from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., followed by a tourism industry reception at the Governor’s Mansion in the evening. Registration for both is required. Follow on Twitter at #WTASummit.
Last year, President Obama announced an executive order that will establish a first-ever national strategy for travel and tourism.
About the Washington Tourism Alliance
The Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA) is a 501[c]6 organization established by industry stakeholders with the sole mission of sustaining WashingtonState destination tourism marketing. The WTA procures and administers funds for state destination tourism marketing activities and creates and implements a strategic statewide destination marketing plan. www.watourismalliance.com
The Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA) will host its third statewide Tourism Summit on Tuesday, March 12 at the Washington Center for Performing Arts in Olympia. The event will be held in conjunction with the WTA’s legislative advocacy event at the State Capitol. Governor Jay Inslee is the featured keynote speaker.
The WTA has planned the Summit for members and tourism industry stakeholders to participate in dialogue about its accomplishments and future long-term funding plans for statewide tourism marketing. WTA partners will present the organization’s new website, visitor guide, mobile app and statewide tourism research. Following an afternoon meeting with State legislators, the Summit will conclude with a reception at the Governor’s Mansion featuring Washington wines and hors d’oeuvres. Registration fees are $85 for WTA members by March 1st and $110 for non-members and registration received after March 1st.
For more information click here or visit www.watourismalliance.com.
Washington State Missing Out on Tourist Dollars
By Don C. Brunell
Association of Washington Business
When we moved from Montana to Olympia 35 years ago, we saw enticing television and magazine ads for our neighboring states, but none for Washington. Fast forward to 2013 and nothing has changed. It was puzzling then, but even more perplexing today, considering the money and jobs at stake.
Tourism in our state is no small potatoes, it is big business. Visitors spent $16.4 billion in 2011 and accounted for 150,000 direct jobs, which is nearly twice Boeing’s workforce in our state. But our state invests no money — nothing, zippo, nada — in statewide tourism promotion.
Now, consider what Florida is doing. Last year, Florida’s legislature increased state funding for VISIT FLORIDA, the state’s tourism marketing organization, by 55 percent to $54 million a year.
It makes financial sense because tourism is Florida’s largest industry, employing more than a million people and accounting for 23 percent of its sales tax collections. In 2011, Florida welcomed 86.5 million visitors, generating $67.2 billion in direct economic impact.
Gov. Rick Scott (R), who pushed the enhanced tourism budget through the legislature, said. “This investment is good for Florida taxpayers because for every dollar spent on tourism marketing, VISIT FLORIDA generates $177 in tourism spending and $11 in new sales tax collections.”
Other states recognize what tourism adds to their economies, and some have learned the hard way what happens when you don’t sell your state to the traveling public.
For example, when Colorado lost its statewide tourism program in 1993, tourism dropped 38 percent in seven short years. In contrast, Michigan invested $30 million, which resulted in 10,000 new jobs and $43.5 million in new tax revenues.
Over the years, state funding for tourism in Washington has been a hit-and-miss proposition. In good times, legislators toss a few million to the travel industry, but when things get tight, tourism funding is one of the first things on the chopping block.
In 2006, the Legislature allocated a paltry $500,000 and got “SayWA.” It misfired. In short, we got what we paid for and even today, we live with that unfortunate stigma. In 2011, the Legislature defunded our state’s tourism office.
Stacked against the tourism budgets in neighboring Montana ($18 million), Oregon ($12 million), British Columbia ($55 million) and Idaho ($9 million), you can see why slogans like “SayWA” don’t resonate like “Beautiful BC” or “Big Sky Country.”
Over the years, Washington governors and legislatures have treated tourism as a marginal program, whereas most of the other states and provinces view it as essential to their economy. We whack it when budgets are tight. They don’t.
In 2011, when the state jettisoned the tourism office, the Washington Tourism Alliance formed to market Washington. The WTA wants the tourism industry, rather than the government, to fund those high-quality ads you see on the web, in magazines and on television.
To jumpstart the effort, WTA is asking the Legislature for $7.5 million in seed money. According to Kevin Clark, owner of Argosy Cruises in Seattle and WTA chair, “State involvement is necessary as both the short term funding and implementation of the long term self-assessment funding model will need to be approved by the Legislature.”
The WTA is modeled after California’s program where private industry partners fund 98 percent of that state’s tourism promotion.
The WTA notes that Washington families pay $400 less in taxes because of revenue generated from out-of-state visitors. As long as funding a tourism effort generates more revenue than it costs, the decision for legislators is clear: Washington can’t afford not to invest in tourism.
About the Author
Don Brunell is the president of the Association of Washington Business. Formed in 1904, the Association of Washington Business is Washington’s oldest and largest statewide business association, and includes more than 8,000 members representing 700,000 employees. AWB serves as both the state’s chamber of commerce and the manufacturing and technology association. While its membership includes major employers like Boeing, Microsoft and Weyerhaeuser, 90 percent of AWB members employ fewer than 100 people. More than half of AWB’s members employ fewer than 10. For more about AWB, visit www.awb.org.
The Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA) announced the appointment of Louise Stanton-Masten as its executive director.
Stanton-Masten has more than 25 years of experience in organization management, business development, strategic planning and government and community affairs. She is a graduate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Organizational Management, has directed and served on numerous nonprofit boards and commissions and operated a successful consulting practice providing public policy and planning to clients in Washington, Oregon and Alaska.
Stanton-Masten served as President & CEO of the Everett Area Chamber of Commerce from 2001 to 2011 and as Business Development Director for the Economic Alliance of Snohomish County from September 2011 to January of 2012. She resumed management of her consultancy, Stanton-Masten Consulting, from January to present.
“I am excited to be working with our members and very dedicated board of directors to help advance the tourism industry in Washington State,” said Stanton-Masten. “Tourism is a $16 billion industry, responsible for more than 150,000 jobs in Washington State. While building upon the successes of the WTA over the past year, we’ll be aggressively working to establish a long-term and sustainable funding model for statewide tourism marketing and promotion in the future.”
Stanton-Masten’s education includes a Master of Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Vermont, in addition to her organizational management degree from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
She serves on the Future of Flight Foundation Board of Directors and served on the City of Everett Lodging Tax Advisory Committee and the executive board of Leadership Snohomish County. Professional affiliations include the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), and the American Planning Association. She served on the Washington Chamber of Commerce Executives board of directors between 2006 and 2012 and was board chairman between 2011 and 2012.
Stanton-Masten succeeds Suzanne Fletcher as WTA Executive Director. Fletcher stepped down last month after fulfilling her one-year employment contract, but remains an active WTA consult.
The Board of Directors of the Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA) has announced the organization’s move toward building advocacy for its long-term, sustainable funding model designed to create an industry-funded organization. The move involves finalizing a plan that will set up a mechanism to collect funds from various tourism-related business sectors in the state, and the funds will be used to promote the state as a travel and tourism destination.
The WTA was formed in March 2011 in anticipation of the June 30 closure of the Washington State Tourism office. On July 1, the WTA became Washington State’s official tourism marketing organization and assumed ownership and operation of tourism office assets in order to preserve Washington’s tourism market share.
About the Washington Tourism Alliance
The WTA is a 501[c]6 organization with a mission to advocate, promote, develop and sustain the economic well being of the Washington tourism industry. The WTA was established by industry stakeholders with the sole mission of sustaining Washington State destination tourism marketing. The WTA procures and administers funds for state destination tourism marketing activities and creates and implements a strategic statewide destination marketing plan. Visit www.watourismalliance.com to learn more.
SEATTLE – October 11, 2012 – KeyBank announced yesterday that it has joined the Washington Tourism Alliance to help fund efforts to promote, develop and sustain the Washington tourism industry. KeyBank is the first bank to join the coalition, and it invited other non-tourism companies to do the same.
“The health of the tourism industry does not just affect hotels and restaurants,” said KeyBank Seattle-Cascades District Retail Leader John Roehm at KeyBank’s Sound Thinking economic development forum. “The hundreds of attractions, retail and hospitality businesses, and the 160,000 people employed in this sector, are our bank customers – they open checking accounts, they pay mortgages and they make investments. It is in our interest to ensure the industry survives and grows.”
According to a 2011 Travel Impacts Report commissioned by the state, tourism is the fourth largest industry in Washington, a major economic driver generating $16.4 in business, $4.5 billion in payroll and $1.8 billion in state and local tax revenues each year. In 2011, in the midst of a desperate budget crisis, Washington lawmakers cut the $1.8 million that was allocated toward tourism promotion and closed the state’s tourism agency. Washington is the only state that does not provide funding to promote tourism
The Washington Tourism Alliance was formed in March 2011 by six industry leaders and is now shouldering the major responsibility for raising money to coordinate statewide marketing and promoting travel to the state.
“KeyBank recognizes that this is a major economic issue in our region,” said Suzanne Fletcher, executive director of the Washington Tourism Alliance. “To be successful and for tourism in Washington to stay alive, we need a collective, industry wide voice and support from all sectors across the state.”
Companies and individuals interested in joining the Washington Tourism Alliance can find more information at http://watourismalliance.com/join/
About KeyBank in Washington
KeyBank currently operates 165 branches in Washington and 95 from the Seattle-Tacoma Airport, north to Canada and east to Spokane.
Key traces its history back more than 160 years and is headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio. One of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies, Key has assets of approximately $86.5 billion at June 30, 2012.
Key provides deposit, lending, cash management and investment services to individuals and small businesses through its 14-state branch network under the name KeyBank National Association. Key also provides a broad range of sophisticated corporate and investment banking products, such as merger and acquisition advice, public and private debt and equity, syndications and derivatives to middle market companies in selected industries throughout the United States under the KeyBanc Capital Markets trade name.
For more information, visit https://www.key.com/. KeyBank is Member FDIC.
September 20, 2012
SEATTLE – The Board of Directors of the Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA) has announced the organization’s move toward building advocacy for its long-term, sustainable funding model designed to create an industry-funded organization. The move involves finalizing a plan that will set up a mechanism to collect funds from various tourism-related business sectors in the state, and the funds will be used to promote the state as a travel and tourism destination.
This final phase allows the state’s $16.4 billion travel and tourism industry to remain competitive in marketing on a national and international level to protect and expand the industry and bring the benefits to communities throughout the state.
“Details of the plan are being fleshed out now, so businesses within these sectors will know what their potential contribution to state-wide tourism promotion will be,” said Kevin Clark, WTA Board Chairman and President and CEO of Argosy Cruises and Tillicum Village. “We need to approach Olympia next legislative session with a solution for the huge void that was left when the state pulled all funding from the tourism office in 2011, and we need support from all sectors across the state to be successful.” Clark said it may take more than one legislative session to accomplish the organization’s goal.
Clark also announced the organization’s interim Executive Director, Suzanne Fletcher, has fulfilled her one-year employment contract and will be helping in the transition through October or until a new director for the organization is hired. “We appreciate Suzanne’s efforts in helping secure the state’s tourism promotion assets, like the website, and in helping us grow from zero to more than 450 members,” Clark said.
“For a start-up organization to have accomplished all we have, it has taken a strong voice like Suzanne’s and we are very grateful for her contribution to this state and this industry. She has been to every corner of the state carrying the WTA message, and she will be helpful as we identify resources needed to move to this next phase.”
Candidates interested in applying for the new interim director’s role should visit www.watourismalliance.com. WTA hopes to fill the role by November.
(206) 461-5806 firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Washington Tourism Alliance
The Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA) is a 501[c]6 organization established by industry stakeholders with the sole mission of sustaining Washington State destination tourism marketing. The WTA procures and administers funds for state destination tourism marketing activities and creates and implements a strategic statewide destination marketing plan. www.watourismalliance.com
Washington Tourism Alliance Launches First Online Fundraiser
Win an All-Inclusive Trip to Bellingham and Friday Harbor
SEATTLE – The Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA) announced its first online auction at today’s second annual tourism summit. WTA will auction off three weekend packages to Bellingham and the San Juan Islands during the month of April. Each all-inclusive vacation package includes meals, accommodations, and adventures for two people, May 5-7, 2012. All proceeds from this auction support WTA and its mission to advocate, promote, develop and sustain the economic well-being of Washington State’s tourism Industry.
“We’re excited to begin a series of online auction packages that will showcase the diversity of our state while raising funds for the WTA,” said Suzanne Fletcher, WTA Executive Director. “The Bellingham-San Juan package is our first offering.”
Each Bellingham-San Juan Island getaway package is valued at $1,200. They includes an overnight stay and gaming at the Silver Reef Spa-Casino-Hotel; a four-course dinner with wine at Anthony’s Restaurant at Squalicum Harbor; tickets to the Upfront Theatre (live improv theater founded by Ryan Stiles); breakfast at Silver Reef Spa-Casino-Hotel; San Juan Cruises narrated whale watching tour (and lunch) from Bellingham to Friday Harbor; a three-hour zip-lining tour; overnight stay at Friday Harbor House or Lakedale Resort; three course dinner at BLUFF restaurant; breakfast at Friday Harbor House or Lakedale Resort; ferry ride via Washington State Ferry to Anacortes; and a Bellair shuttle back to Bellingham. Winners will also receive a special gift basket of locally made food and sundries (including items from Birchwood Botanicals, Chocolate Necessities, Hammerhead Whole Bean Coffee, and Scratch Desserts). More details can be found here: www.biddingforgood.com/wta.
WTA has developed this mutually beneficial online auction program to support the Washington tourism industry while highlighting destinations across the state. This program includes vacation packages that highlight accommodations, attractions, dining services and experiences that demonstrate the unique qualities of respective regions. The packages will be auctioned off online to the highest bidder to support WTA. During the auction period, each region and its package elements will be highlighted on BiddingforGood.com, which boasts an audience of some 260,000 shoppers worldwide. In addition, the packages will be promoted through WTA’s social media resources, including WTA’s website, Facebook page and Twitter feed, as well as e-mailed to WTA’s mailing list.
For more information, contact Meagan McGuire at (206) 768-7104 or via email at MMcGuire@museumofflight.org.
About the Washington Tourism Alliance
The Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA) is a 501[c]6 organization established by industry stakeholders with the sole mission of sustaining Washington State destination tourism marketing. The WTA procures and administers funds for state destination tourism marketing activities and creates and implements a strategic statewide destination marketing plan. www.watourismalliance.com.
State Tourism Summit Takes Place Today, Industry Celebrates Milestone
Washington Tourism Alliance Celebrates its First Year of Operation,
Convenes Industry to Discuss the Future of State Tourism Marketing,
President of U.S. Travel Association Delivers Keynote Address
SEATTLE– The Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA) will host a state Tourism Summit inSeattletoday to present its first-year accomplishments and to engage the tourism industry in its future direction. Some 400 Industry stakeholders from hotels, airlines, cruise lines, tour companies, restaurants and convention and visitor bureaus will attend. National tourism industry leaders will speak of President Obama’s recent executive order to develop a first-ever national strategy on tourism, and will addressWashington’s challenges as the only state in the union without a state-funded tourism program.
One year after Governor Gregoire’s announcement that the state tourism office would close, this summit will feature a presentation by the WTA of its first-year destination marketing activities and discussion of possible solutions for long-term sustainable funding. A keynote address will be given by Roger Dow, President and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, and representatives of BrandUSA, the recently inaugurated U.S.corporation dedicated to travel promotion.
“Tourism promotion is at a critical juncture inWashington,D.C.and here inWashingtonState,” said Suzanne Fletcher, WTA Executive Director. “We’re encouraged by long-overdue progress at the national level, but here at home we have an incredible amount of work to do.Washingtonis the only state in theU.S.without a state-supported tourism program, so WTA’s success is inextricably bound by the combined commitment of our private sector industry, ports, cities and corporate sponsors.”
Washington’s primary competing states all boast dramatically larger tourism marketing budgets, ranging between $10 and $60 million. WTA began work with a budget of some $300,000 last July when the state tourism office closed, and has since been working to raise funds through membership and corporate sponsorships.
WashingtonStatetourism leaders understand how quicklyWashingtonStatecould be out-paced. “We know from national examples that tourism market share declines very quickly with the loss of tourism marketing programs,” said Fletcher. “Coloradoclosed its tourism office in the 1990s and suffered immediate declines in tourism market share that did not rebound for nearly a decade.”
Much is at stake. Tourism is the state’s fourth-largest industry according to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) produced, following software, aerospace and agriculture and food. Figures released last month by WTA indicate that visitors toWashingtonStatespent $16.4 billion and generated nearly $1 billion in local and state tax revenues in 2011. Travel and tourism supported more than 150,000, jobs and generated earnings (payroll) of $4.5 million.
The tourism summit will be held at the Hilton Seattle Airport & Conference Center Emerald Room) in SeaTac on April 5. Registration opens at 7 a.m. and the program runs from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
About the Washington Tourism Alliance
The Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA) is a 501[c]6 organization established by industry stakeholders with the sole mission of sustaining WashingtonStatedestination tourism marketing. The WTA procures and administers funds for state destination tourism marketing activities and creates and implements a strategic statewide destination marketing plan. www.watourismalliance.com
c: (206) 713-8314
There are only 9 days left for early pricing – for both members and non-members!
WHAT: 2nd Annual Summit
WHEN: Thursday, April 5, 2012, 7:00 am – 3:30 pm
WHERE: Hilton Seattle Airport
Registration fees prior to March 29:
$75 WTA members
Registration fees starting March 30:
$95 WTA members
A special thank you to PSAV for our Audio Visual Service at the Summit!
Join other summit attendees for networking over appetizers and cocktails, as we see old friends and meet new ones to salute the Tourism industry in Washington state.
Shuttle Express will provide transportation between the Hilton and Museum of Flight.
WHAT: Summit Opening Reception
WHEN: Wednesday, April 4, 2012, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
WHERE: The Museum of Flight
Cost: $15.00 per person
Thank you to our Reception sponsors: Squaxin Island Tourism, Port Madison Enterprises (Suquamish Tribe), Tulalip Resort Casino Spa and Northwest Tribal Tourism.