Tourism Funding Study Bill Passes State House and Senate

Washington Tourism Alliance Thanks the Legislature for its Support

Olympia, Wash. – Last night, the Washington State Senate passed Substitute House Bill 2229 to support study of long-term tourism funding legislation in the next session. The bill, which has been vigorously promoted by the Washington Tourism Alliance and the statewide tourism industry, now goes to Governor Inslee for his signature.

If signed by the governor, the bill will recognize a structure, level of funding and governance for a state tourism marketing program and direct state agencies to work with the WTA to create a collection methodology for long-term tourism marketing funds.

“What this bill does is stipulate that an initial budget of $7.5 million is reasonable to implement a competitive state tourism program and identifies the five major areas that benefit from statewide tourism,” said Senator John Braun. “It then directs several state agencies to work with the WTA and industry representatives to present a report to the legislature by December of this year about how we could best fund tourism on a long-term basis.”

The WTA’s tiered funding framework would assess key sectors of the tourism industry including lodging, food service, transportation, attractions and entertainment, and retail. No state funds would be needed, but the bill requires the WTA to submit a report to the legislature in December 2014 which will propose the collection method and governance structure. The WTA would return to the legislature in the 2015 session to amend the legislation to allow for collection of the assessments.

“We’re so grateful to the prime sponsors of the bill, Senator John Braun, Senator Marilyn Chase, Representative Jeff Morris and Representative Sherry Appleton,” said

Louise Stanton-Masten, WTA Executive Director. “We thank them for their leadership on this legislation and we also thank each legislator throughout our state for their votes to pass this bill, and for their recognition of the importance of the tourism industry in our state.”

Since the closure of the state tourism office in 2011, the private, non-profit, industry-led WTA has operated on a minimal budget with limited support, establishing incremental funds through membership and corporate sponsorships. Additionally, last year the WTA secured short-term bridge funding from the state to underwrite the basics of a tourism marketing program including the state’s consumer travel web site, postage for mailing the Washington State Visitors’ Guide, operation of a travel call center, research and international marketing.

 

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