The WTA Summit and Tourism Day in Olympia on January24th brought tourism professionals from across the state for a day of statewide tourism advocacy.
The morning presentation opened with three members of the Legislative Tourism Working Group, Representatives Cindy Ryu, Cary Condotta and Gael Tarleton, sharing why they worked throughout the summer with seven other legislators to create a new plan to fund a statewide tourism marketing effort. They emphasized that the proposed legislation of HB1123 and SB5251 is bi-partisan and an investment in economic development for our state’s future. Their presentation, along with that of Roger Dow, the President & CEO of the US Travel Association, set the optimistic, enthusiastic tone for the day.
“The spirit of positive energy and forward momentum at last week’s Tourism Summit and Day in Olympia was exciting to say the least,” said WTA Summit Committee Chair and Board Member Christina Pivarnik of the City of Port Townsend. “It was especially rewarding to hear Reps. Ryu, Condotta and Tarleton speak in support of a statewide tourism marketing program and its long-term economic development opportunities.”
In the afternoon, Summit participants were encouraged to go up on the hill to visit with their legislators and promote the legislation. Tourism advocates met with legislators in almost every single district in the state. Coming out of the meetings, the tone was enthusiastic and the WTA received fantastic feedback from legislators.
The evening concluded with a reception at The Governor’s Hotel featuring a variety of Washington wine. The WTA would like to especially thank all of the Summit sponsors for helping make the event free and to all those who donated wine for the evening reception.
There’s more work still to be done and we look forward to hearing the strong voice of support from the tourism industry in the coming weeks.
Becky Bogard and Kathryn Hedrick
First, we want to give a big shout-out to those who attended the Tourism Summit and met with their legislators. We have been getting excellent feedback from both you and the legislators. You helped make legislators realize there is a much grassroots support for reinstating a statewide tourism marketing program!
Sponsors of the House bill, HB 1123, include Reps. Condotta (R., Chelan), Ryu (D., Shoreline), Barkis (R., Lacey), Kirby (D., Tacoma), Wilcox (R., Yelm), Tarleton (D., Seattle), McBride (D., Kirkland), Smith (R., Whidbey Island), Muri (R., Lakewood), Frame (D., Seattle), Tharinger (D., Sequim), Morris (D., Mt. Vernon), and J. Walsh (R., Longview). Sponsors of the Senate bill, SB 5251, include Sens. Takko (D., Longview), Warnick (R., Moses Lake), Rolfes (D., Bainbridge Island), McCoy (D., Tulalip), Zeiger (R., Puyallup), and Chase (D., Shoreline). If any of these are your legislators, please thank them for their support!
The House bill is the first to move. It was referred to the House Community Development, Housing and Tribal Affairs Committee where the bill had a hearing on Wednesday, January 25th, the day after the Tourism Summit. All who testified supported the bill. In addition to representatives from WTA, there was support expressed from the ports association, cities association, Washington Wine Institute, some destination marketing organizations and others. It should be noted that two of the members of the interim working group are members of this committee, Reps. Ryu and Barkis. They were clear to their colleagues about support for the bill. You can view the hearing here. This is the TVW location of the hearing on the bill.
On Thursday, January 26th, the same House committee took executive action and voted the bill out of committee unanimously. There were some technical amendments. One allows matching contributions to be from non-state rather than only private sources. This opens up the possibility of contributions from such organizations as ports, tribes, and DMO’s. Another amendment clarified the source of the public funding for the special tourism marketing fund. A final amendment changed that fund from a non-appropriated fund to an appropriated fund. This is technically necessary since the source of the proceeds in the fund are tax revenues.
So what’s next? As of this writing we know that the House bill was referred to the House Appropriations Committee, with no hearing scheduled yet. Please keep checking the website for the latest on the path of the bill so you know which legislators are important to contact.
In the Senate, we anticipate that the Senate Agriculture, Water, Trade and Economic Development Committee will have a work session about tourism. Many of the members are new to the committee and would like to have a briefing about the industry before considering the bill. A hearing has been scheduled February 9th at 8am.
Again, please keep checking the WTA website for updates on the bill.
The Port of Seattle announces the 2017 Tourism Marketing Support Program available for organizations across the state of Washington. The match funding can be used for a variety of tourism marketing efforts such as website development, advertising and participation in travel trade shows. The focus is to increase out-of-state tourism and promote Port of Seattle travel related facilities such as Sea-Tac International Airport, cruise terminals and recreational marinas. Application forms and proposals for the 2017 program are due February 22, 2017.
“We are impressed with the results from last year’s grant winners and this is a great way to boost tourism for the state of Washington,” said Commission President John Creighton. “We remain committed to working with our partners to get more visitors to destinations across our state.”
The Port of Seattle is making $150,000 available to organizations such as chambers of commerce, convention and visitor bureaus (CVBs) and regional tourism organizations; government entities such as counties, cities, port districts, Native American nations, or state/federal agencies; and non-profit organizations focusing on events or activities that attract visitors. The maximum fund request from an organization is $10,000.
“With the Port of Seattle’s support, we are able to change the market for Walla Walla by advertising to likely flying travelers from out of state,” said Mary Angelo, Director of Client Services, DVA Advertising and Public Relations. “The Port of Seattle’s matching grant allowed our organization to present at the IPW travel trade show, garnering contacts and interest that will lead to an increase in international visitors to our destination,” said Sherrye Wyatt of Whidbey and Camano Islands Tourism.
“The Port of Seattle’s application process was very easy, and the 24th annual Wintergrass Music Festival was able to see four times the click rate on our website, which resulting in a 56 percent increase in out of state ticket purchases,” said Wendy Tyner of the Wintergrass Music Festival.
For more information, visit the Port of Seattle website.
2016 was another 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 a highlight from the past year.
In 2016, we continued our REWARDS Program for our banner ad platform and it has been extremely successful. Our advertisers are only paying an average of $2.17 per click. That is WAY below industry standard. The fact that ExperienceWA website visitors are there specifically to learn about traveling in Washington State only make these clicks more valuable.
There are so many different ways to reach the qualified audience of ExperienceWA.com. To learn more, please contact Mike Moe at email@example.com or call him at 425-444-0589. Or, click here to view the full ExperienceWA Media Kit.
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