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.

Dean Runyan State Report Overview

Washington State Travel Impacts & Visitor Volume, 2000-2016 – Preliminary Dean Runyan Associates April 2017

Overview

Summary The Washington State economy saw robust growth in 2016, which stimulated in-state consumer confidence and many industries in the state.

As Washington residents currently comprise two thirds of all trips to destinations within the state, tourism visitations, expenditures and visitor-generated tax revenues grew. The pace of overall tourism growth slowed, however, and Washington has dropped in stature from the state’s fourth largest industry to fifth largest.

• Overall visitation in Washington increased modestly (1.7 percent), compared to 3.2 percent growth the previous year and 2.5 percent visitation growth in Oregon in 2016. • While state residents are helping sustain tourism in their own back yard, Washington is failing to attract out-of-state visitors at comparable rates to competing states. • While Sea-Tac International Airport reported record passenger volumes and 11.1 percent growth in international passengers in 2016, spending by foreign visitors in Washington decreased slightly due the strength of the U.S. dollar or competition from other U.S. destinations. • Tourism disparity between Washington’s urban and rural counties continues. Compound average annual tourism growth between 2010 and 2016 shows that King, Pierce and other urban counties are as much as 50 percent above their long-term growth levels, in stark contrast to most other counties in the state which are at or below those growth levels. • Travel spending and employment grew at 4.4 percent, respectively, buoyed by robust hotel occupancies in Seattle and other urban centers, an 8 percent reduction in motor fuel prices, instate consumer confidence and other factors.

Tourism Snapshot – preliminary $21.4 billion Visitor expenditures 40.1 million Overnight person trips $1.8 billion State and local visitor-generated tax receipts 177,000 Jobs supported by tourism throughout the state

Business and Competitive Landscape in 2017 • Competing western states continue to invest significantly in tourism as a driver of jobs, economic impact and relieve for communities that incur natural disasters and other crises. Oregon plans to double its state tourism budget over the coming biennium to $76 million. • The position of the U.S. dollar, travel security and U.S. immigration policy are expected to continue to soften inbound business from overseas markets to the U.S. Some destinations have launched overseas advertising campaigns to counteract these challenges.

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
 

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”

The WTA Mourns the Passing of Donna Cappa

The board members and staff of the Washington Tourism Alliance were saddened to learn of the tragic passing of Donna Cappa. Donna died this weekend after being in a terrible accident on Friday night.

Donna was the Director Of Sales and Hotel Operations for the Tulalip Casino and a WTA board member. She was a strong advocate for the WTA and worked tirelessly for the betterment of the entire Washington tourism industry. Donna will be greatly missed by her friends and colleagues at the WTA.

Please join us in keeping her family and friends in our thoughts during this difficult time. If you are able and interested, click here to assist the family with funeral expenses and emergency surgery hospital expenses that were incurred.

A service for Donna will be at Tulalip Resort in the Chinook Room at 10am on Saturday.

 

 

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

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

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

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