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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Alderbrook Resort & Spa, City of Lynnwood, Coast Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Long Beach Peninsula, Okanogan County Tourism Council, Olympic Peninsula Visitor Bureau, Olympic Property Group, Port Madison Enterprises – Clearwater, Port of Friday Harbor, Republic Regional VCB, Seattle Bed and Breakfast Association, Seattle Seahawks, Skamania County Chamber of Commerce, Travelodge Seattle Center, Vertigo Marketing, Visit Bellevue WA, Washington State Fair, Woodinville Chamber of Commerce