The 2016 Washington Tourism Summit will be held on October 14th at the Crowne Plaza in SeaTac. This year we will present a new legislative plan that will create a long-term funding source for a statewide tourism marketing effort. As our members and industry partners know, a legislative taskforce has been meeting regularly this summer to develop our long-term funding plan that will be presented as legislation during the 2017 congressional session. This task force includes members of legislature from both the House and Senate and each of the political caucuses, as well as WTA board members.
The morning session will include members of the legislative task force who will provide an update on the legislative plan. The afternoon session will include a Rally for Success – the 2017 Grassroots Launch where you will learn how to mobilize your community to help pass this important legislation. This year we need all hands on deck and we will provide you with the tools and information you need to support this effort. Chris Ihrig, CEO of Fired-Up! Culture, will provide an exciting wrap up at the end of the session to crystallize the important messages of the day and finish the Summit on an enthusiastic and positive note.
We are pleased to announce that Roger Dow, the President and CEO of the US Travel Association will be the keynote speaker for this year’s Summit. Since 2005, Roger has led the US Travel Association and has been instrumental in transforming the organization into one of the most effective industry associations in the country.
“This year’s tourism Summit will be the most important to date!” said Christina Pivarnik, WTA Board member and Chair of the Summit Planning Committee. “We are excited to welcome Roger Dow as our keynote speaker and look forward to presenting the new WTA plan for legislation that will provide long-term funding for a sustainable statewide marketing effort. After hearing your feedback from previous Summits, we are also going to provide plenty of networking time so you can catch up with your colleagues from across the state. Please plan to join us in October!”
LEGISLATIVE WORKGROUP CONTINUES DELIBERATIONS ON TOURISM FUNDING
- start-up funding that would expire once an industry-based mechanism is generating funds;
- identifying current taxes, with a nexus to tourism, a portion of which or an increased amount could be repurposed to the program;
- identifying where and what state agencies are currently spending on tourism related marketing efforts (e.g. state ferries) and using these funds in a more strategic way;
- tax credits directed to a program; and
- generating new revenues through a voluntary fee structure collected by the state.
ASSEMBLING A TEAM FOR OUR NEW DIRECTION
The WTA board of directors has added to our team of professionals for our stronger, more robust grassroots campaign for the 2017 legislative session. We are excited about the team and their roles to help get legislation passed to fund a sustainable tourism promotion for all of Washington state.
Another new team member is Megan Folkestad, our key communication and coordinator point person supporting our public affairs between the grassroots and legislative teams. Megan is experienced with legislative policy, communications, and knows the legislators and their aides. She will quickly coordinate meetings, communication strategies, etc. You may also soon hear from Megan encouraging you to participate in meetings, hearings, and signing letters to support our legislative and grassroots efforts. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
The WTA board and staff are prepared to do whatever we can to actively implement the strategies to help us succeed. Our key point WTA staff person is Mike Moe, Associate Director. Mike will continue to sell advertising on the website and eNewsletters while expanding his role to include more advocacy assignments. Diana Thibado is our WTA office “secret weapon” and has expanded her hours to act as our administrator for membership, advertising sales, and coordinating the WTA board and committee meetings.
Our board of directors will be the face of the tourism industry representing our shared objectives to support and pass legislation at hearings, meetings, and with media.
SPONSOR THE 2016 TOURISM SUMMIT
The 2016 Washington Tourism Summit is the best event to connect with tourism industry partners from all over Washington State. Hundreds of members of the industry will converge on the Crowne Plaza in SeaTac to discuss the new legislative plan and to network. This year’s event will include plenty time in the morning and a reception in the afternoon for participants to have time to mingle with vendors. Free tickets come with every sponsorship as well as prominent display of your logo. For only $300, you can purchase a vendor table. There are also opportunities for time on the microphone in front of hundreds of tourism professionals.
MEMBERS IN THE NEWS
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 email@example.com
2016 Washington Tourism Summit will take place on October 14th at the Crowne Plaza in SeaTac. Registration is now open! Register by September 16th to take advantage of early registration pricing.
Summit Agenda – is now up on our summit webpage
We ask that you indicate your legislative district when you register for the Summit. You can look it up here.
We look forward to seeing you all this year!
The Official Washington State Visitors’ Guide is the essential, one-stop source for Washington State travelers. With stunning photography, detailed maps, and insider information on the state’s must-see attractions, the guide highlights the unique and appealing aspects of each of the state’s diverse travel regions. Convenient, complete, and compelling, the Official Washington State Visitors’ Guide makes it easy for travelers to find everything they need to enjoy and extend their stay in the Evergreen State. Order yours today!
View the online version of this guide.
Order a copy of the 2016 Official Washington State Visitors’ Guide. You should receive your Visitors’ Guide in approximately 2-3 weeks.
For advertising information for the Official Washington State Visitors’ Guide please contact our publishing partner, SagaCity Media. Jeff Adams, VP Custom Publishing at 206-454-3007 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 6th annual Tourism Summit will be held on October 14th at the Crown Plaza in Sea-Tac. This year’s keynote speaker is Roger Dow, the President and CEO of the US Travel Association. The specific event details will be announced in July. If you are interested in sponsoring the summit, please contact Mike Moe at 425-444-0589 or email him at email@example.com.
This week the WTA joins with other tourism organizations from around our state and nation to recognize and celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week-America’s annual salute to travel and tourism. The event was established by a congressional resolution in 1983 and serves to recognize the economic power of the tourism industry.
According to the U.S. Travel Association, direct spending by resident and international travelers in the U.S. in 2015 averaged $2.6 billion a day and had a total economic benefit of $2.1 trillion, which included $947.1 billion in direct travel expenditures and an additional $1.2 trillion from related industries. Nationally, 15.1 million jobs and $231.6 billion in wages were supported by travel expenditures, with one out of nine jobs in the U.S. dependent on travel and tourism. $147.9 billion of tax revenue was generated by travel spending for federal, state and local governments.
The WTA believes that the research underscores the importance of maintaining the WTA’s current marketing programs while continuing our efforts to secure adequate long-term, industry led funding for programs which will benefit the entire state.
In addition, WTA board members will be asked to review and discuss the principles of the WTA proposal. The purpose of this discussion is to give guidance to WTA consultants and staff as we pursue a proposal to present to the 2017 legislative session. It is important that WTA prioritize what is important in a proposal as discussions with legislators proceed. Another part of the board discussion will focus on grassroots organization – what more WTA needs to do to make sure that legislators understand from their own constituents that a robust tourism marketing program will benefit the state economically.
WTA WELCOMES MARCH AND APRIL MEMBERS
Olympia, Wash. – Preliminary figures released today by the Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA) indicate that tourism in Washington State improved slightly in 2015, but inconsistently throughout various counties in Washington and comparatively slower than the state’s overall taxable sales growth.
“The research underscores the importance of maintaining the WTA’s current marketing programs, which include the Washington State Visitors’ Guide and ExperienceWA.com destination website,” said WTA Board Chair Cheryl Kilday. “It also points to the need for a long-term, industry led and funded tourism marketing program.”
The total number of overnight person-trips (39.4 million) increased by 3.1 percent in 2015, similar to the preceding year, according to preliminary data compiled for the WTA by Dean Runyan Associates in the report State Travel Impacts & Visitor Volume 2000 -2015.
Direct visitor spending in Washington was $20.7 billion in 2015, up 5.4 percent in current dollars over 2014. This compares with 6.8 percent growth in overall state taxable sales during the same period, according to figures released by the Washington State Department of Revenue.
WTA’s new research also reported on tourism employment and tax revenue. The travel and tourism industry supported more than 170,500 jobs in 2015, up 3.8 percent from 2014. Local and state travel-generated tax revenue was $1.8 billion, an 8 percent increase over 2014; this is equivalent to $650 in tax revenue for each Washington household. This includes $1.2 billion in tax revenues directly related to the purchases of visitors and $610 million in tax revenues attributable to travel industry employees and businesses.
“Robust worldwide travel, combined with the individual tourism marketing investments of the state’s major cities, port districts and private sector companies, have helped buoy our industry for the past five years since the state tourism office closed,” said Kilday. Nevertheless, WTA officials worry about loss of tourism market share in the absence of a legislatively approved, statewide industry funded long-term marketing program.
“Seattle, Spokane and other destinations with local tourism promotion areas (TPAs) have raised marketing funds to offset the loss of statewide funding when the State tourism office closed five years ago, but our research continues to suggest that this cumulative return is not enough for our state as a whole,” said WTA Executive Director Louise Stanton-Masten. “The WTA strategy for funding a statewide tourism marketing program is essential to benefit the entire state.”
For example, while total direct visitor spending increased by 5.4% overall for Washington State last year, when King County is excluded the statewide increase is only 2.5%. “Our latest research illustrates the disparity of tourism impacts in eastern and western Washington,” Stanton-Masten said. “Annual tourism spending growth and tax revenue varies greatly between counties in eastern and western Washington, as well as urban and rural areas.”
Senate and House bills supporting WTA’s tourism marketing funding plan were introduced in Olympia this session with significant support, but ran out of time for approval during this year’s short session. Plans are underway to continue the approval process in the next session.
Since the closure of the state tourism office in 2011, the private, non-profit, industry-led WTA has operated on a minimal budget. Competing western state tourism budgets ranged from $7-$50 million last year. The WTA continues to operate this year with minimum funding provided by membership and corporate sponsorship, but with no supplemental funding from Washington State.
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