Thanks to your communication and hard work we are pleased to announce that the House included $1,000,000 in its budget, released last week, for efforts to support tourism. This is much better than the $200,000 appropriated by the Senate. The letter of appreciation that the WTA sent last week to Representative Hunter and members of the House Appropriations Committee is on the WTA website, http://watourismalliance.com.
Now the House, Senate and Governor’s office will negotiate a final budget. At this time we need you to contact your legislators and encourage them to support the House budget position on funding tourism at the $1,000,000 level. Our suggested message is below. Please feel free to tailor the message to your local community and tourism efforts, as well.
The last day of the regularly scheduled legislative session is April 28. If no budget is agreed to by then the Governor will have to call a special session.
Please contact your legislators TODAY! Here is a letter YOU can use:
Dear [Insert Senator or Representative Name Here],
I am writing to ask that you please support the House position on funding for tourism in the operating budget. The $1,000,000 appropriated will provide us with the basics of a statewide tourism program for the next two years as we work to establish long-term, industry-led funding at a level that will allow us to market Washington State in a competitive manor.
As the only state in the nation currently without state support for tourism marketing, we are currently competing with other states that are spending tens of millions of dollars to attract visitors and the associated spending that comes with them.
Tourism is an essential industry in our state. It is Washington’s 4th largest export industry by Gross Domestic Product, with $16.9 billion in total direct visitor spending in 2012. More than $1,000,000,000 in local and state tax revenues are contributed by visitors to our state, equivalent to almost $400 for every household in the state. For many communities and regions of this state, tourism represents a significant percentage of their local economy. Without a statewide marketing program and platform upon which those communities and regions can promote their attractions they will continue to lag in the economic recovery. The tourism Industry supported 153,500 jobs and created $4.7 billion in payroll earnings in 2012.
Thank you for your support of tourism in Washington State.
Your business name and address
To find and contact your legislators:
- To identify your legislators visit www.leg.wa.gov and select ‘find my district’ tab
- Call the legislative hotline at 800-562-6000
- Find your legislator’s email address here