WTA Newsletter – March

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR UPDATE
Louise Stanton-Masten

We are excited to report the release this month of the 2016 official Washington State Visitors’ Guide. Produced in a partnership of the Washington Tourism Alliance, the Washington Lodging Association and SagaCity Media, this edition marks the 17th annual publication of the guide.

This year 375,000 copies of the guide were printed and with extensive distribution readership will total nearly one million. Along with our website, www.experiencewa.com, the Visitors’ Guide is a primary tool for marketing Washington State.

The distribution includes mailing 65,000 copies to Seattle Met and Portland Monthly magazine subscribers and featuring copies at 2,000 visitor centers in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Washington State and Vancouver, B.C. The guide is also available for purchase on newsstands and checkout counters at retail locations in Washington, Oregon and California.

Prospective travelers can read the guide online and order a print copy through the website. Travelers can also access versions of the guide that are optimized for iPads, android tablets and smart phones.

The publication highlights the state’s ten travel regions and includes regional maps, insider travel trips, itinerary suggestions and contact information for an array of local businesses and attractions.

This year’s visitors’ guide celebrates Washington’s year of milestones, including centennials for the National Park Service and Boeing. The guide also features insider tips for travelers from a Seattle Seahawks player, a James Beard Award-winning chef, a whitewater rafting guide and other local experts and celebrities.

Click here to view or order a copy of the Visitors’ Guide on ExperienceWA.com.

 

2016 LEGISLATURE FINALLY FINISHES
Becky Bogard

At 10:59 p.m. on Tuesday, March 29, the gavel finally fell on the 2016 Washington State legislative session. Before adjourning the legislators passed a supplemental operating budget, a supplemental capital budget and bills to implement both of those budgets. In an unprecedented move, the Senate and House voted to override 27 vetoes. Governor Inslee had vetoed bills delivered to his desk before the end of the regular session hoping to get the legislature to finish on time, March 10. It didn’t work and in the end, even the governor agreed that the vetoes should be overridden.

What about tourism funding?
As you may know, WTA had requested some interim funding from the state for website enhancement, distribution of visitor guides and participation in Brand USA. The House version of the supplemental budget included funding for the website; the Senate budget included no funding for any of these activities.

In the end, the Senate position prevailed — there was no funding in the final budget for tourism activities. In spite of WTA’s best efforts, assisted by many of you, the budget negotiators did not include our request. Many of you contacted your legislators to encourage them to send a message to the budget negotiators. We appreciate all of your efforts. They were not in vain as tourism was part of the discussions but it unfortunately did not make the final cut.

So what is next?
Before the regular session ended, several legislators committed to working with WTA on a plan for long term, stable funding for a statewide tourism promotion program. These legislators include Sens. Brown, Takko, Ranker and Rolfes and Reps. Ryu and Condotta. WTA legislative consultants will be working with these members to develop a plan that will pass legislative muster in the 2017 session. In addition, our partners such as the Washington Restaurant Association and the Washington Lodging Association will participate with us in this effort. Ideas range from the current WTA proposal of industry assessments to a B&O tax credit.

Again, please know that your legislative consultants appreciate all the work you did with your legislators this past session. During the interim we will be working with you to make certain legislators really understand the importance of tourism!

 

THE WTA THANKS CARA EGAN

This month the WTA says goodbye to Cara Egan as she steps away from the WTA board. An early supporter of the WTA mission, Cara joined the board in 2012 in part because of her belief that our economy depends on a vibrant tourism industry. During her time on the board she served as a strong advocate for cultural tourism and reflects that “It was a tremendous honor to work with such a dedicated group of board members working towards a common goal of a creating a sustainable and thriving state-wide tourism industry.”

Cara recently made the transition from the Seattle Art Museum to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, where she continues her work in marketing and public relations.
The WTA offers great thanks for her years of dedicated service and wishes her the best of luck in the future.

 

PORT OF SEATTLE HIRES RON PECK AS TOURISM DIRECTOR

The Port of Seattle has hired WTA Board Member Ron Peck as its new Tourism Director. As Tourism Director, Peck will be responsible for finding innovative ways of increasing the number of visitors to the region. For the last three years Peck has been the Executive Director of Visit Walla Walla. Peck starts work at the Port of Seattle on April 18.

“The Port of Seattle is excited to have Ron Peck on board as Tourism Director,” said Dave McFadden, Economic Development Director at the Port of Seattle. “With the fastest growing airport in the nation, and our biggest cruise season ahead of us, we are looking forward to having his ideas and energy to make Seattle, and our region, a top tourist destination worldwide.”

Prior to joining the Port of Seattle, Peck served as President and COO of the Alaska Travel Industry Association for over 10 years, where he was responsible for a statewide tourism marketing budget that reached $16 million dollars. Peck’s over 35-year career in tourism also includes stints with Alaska Airlines and Princess Cruise Lines.

FEATURE YOUR EVENTS ON EXPERIENCEWA
Mike Moe

One of the most visited pages on the ExperienceWA.com website is our Events page. It averages over 11,500 visitors a month! Visitors who are looking for events are also among the most valuable because they are ready to be inspired. While any tourism-related business in Washington State can list their event for free, purchasing a Featured Event Listing is one of the most inexpensive yet effective ways to utilize ExperienceWA.com.

This year a museum in Seattle promoted their exhibit as a Featured Event on the Events page. Their website garnered over 400 clicks from their listing and at only $340 ($370 for non-members), they paid less than $1 a click! Featured Events also have the chance to be included in our award-winning monthly eNewsletter for no extra cost!

To learn more about Featured Listings and all the other opportunities available on ExperienceWA.com click here for our Media Kit. To purchase a Featured Event, email Mike Moe at mike@watourismalliance.com or call him at 425-444-0589

MEMBERS IN THE NEWS

THE SHELBURNE INN CELEBRATES 120 YEARS
 

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 diana@watourismalliance.com.

 

WTA WELCOMES FEBRUARY MEMBERS

NEW MEMBERS:

Vertigo Marketing

RENEWING MEMBERS:

If you have not yet joined the WTA and would like to become a member, please contact our Director of Business Development and Media Sales Mike Moe at mike@watourismalliance.com or join today online here.