WTA Newsletter September 2013


EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR UPDATE 
Louise Stanton-Masten

 This month, as part of our focus on promoting and expanding travel and tourism to Washington State, the Washington Tourism Alliance and Visit Seattle jointly hosted a travel and tourism roundtable with Rep. Rick Larsen in Seattle. Several issues which are currently being considered in Congress have direct impacts on the tourism industry here in Washington State. Rep. Larsen serves the 2nd Congressional District and is a member of several key Congressional committees where these debates are taking place, including the House Aviation Subcommittee of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Tom Norwalk, President & CEO of Visit Seattle, and I invited industry representatives of the 2nd District and others to join us and meet with Rep. Larsen to discuss the role that travel can play in building upon the economic recovery and how these issues can be addressed during the 113th Congress.

Participants included: Darrell Bryan, President & CCO of Clipper Navigation/Victoria Clipper and a member of both the WTA and Visit Seattle Boards of Directors; David Blandford,V.P., Communications at Visit Seattle and WTA board member; John Creighton, Port of Seattle Commissioner; Deborah Hopkins, Executive Director of the San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau; Dan Moore, EVP Business Development & Strategy at EverGreen Escapes and a member of the WTA Board of Directors; and Sherrye Wyatt, Public Relations & Marketing Manager at Whidbey & Camano Island Tourism.

Topics of discussion at the national policy level included a smarter visa policy, specifically through support of the “Jobs Originated through Launching Travel” (JOLT) Act; reauthorization of the Travel Promotion Act (TPA) and Brand USA; the need to preserve and support funding for government meetings and conferences; the immigration reform debate in Congress; airport/aviation policies; and, transportation infrastructure support.

Industry participants informed Rep. Larson of regional initiatives and issues throughout his district and the need for continued statewide support of WTA and the tourism industry. Rep. Larson pledged to keep working with the state’s travel industry.

More policy roundtables with other elected officials are planned for the future.

ANNOUNCING THE 4TH ANNUAL WTA SUMMIT AND DAY IN OLYMPIA JANUARY 28, 2014

Thanks to your support at the 2013 Summit and throughout the session, the WTA received $1 million of short-term funding. Now the push is on for long-term funding and we hope you’ll join us for the 4th Annual Washington Tourism Alliance Summit and Day in Olympia to support these efforts.

The event will include a morning meeting and lunch at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts followed by an afternoon at the capitol and a special evening reception at the Governor’s Mansion. New and improved this year – a separate meeting room for lunch and networking, and appointments with legislators scheduled for you by the WTA team.Registration will open in November, so watch your email and we hope to see you in Olympia!

EXCITING UPDATES ON EXPERIENCEWA.COM AND THE OFFICIAL WASHINGTON STATE VISITOR’S GUIDE 

ExperienceWA.com continues to add new features. “Sponsored Content” gives advertisers the opportunity to more fully engage visitors while featuring their offerings. Other new areas to engage with the visitor audience will include monthly e-newsletters and proprietary e-blasts.

Miles Media, the WTA’s website developer, reports that ExperienceWA.com’s engagement metrics show dramatic improvement year over year, are on the top end of industry standards, and suggest visitors are finding what they need on the site and engaging with it. Time on site is up 18%, pages per visit is up 5% and ExperienceWA.com is serving up over 10,000 partner referrals per month!

On the print side, the 2014 official Washington State Visitors’ Guide will again feature fresh new editorial. The guide’s writers are currently fanning out across the state, collecting those stories that make Washington a must-see destination.

WTA members enjoy preferred pricing for both website and Visitors’ Guide advertising. Early bird discounts for the Visitors’ Guide are available through September 30. For more information and to book an integrated package, please contact Jeff Adams, VP of Custom Publishing, SagaCity Media.  206.454.3007 or jadams@sagacitymedia.com.

LINK TO THE EXPERIENCEWA WEBSITE!

Help support the Washington Tourism Alliance and tourism promotion in Washington State by linking your website to the ExperienceWA website, www.experiencewa.com. The official travel and tourism website for the State of Washington, the site provides destination information, maps, the official Washington State Visitors’ Guide and other important resources that help visitors plan their trip to Washington. We invite you to link to the site. For more information, please visit http://www.experiencewa.com/link.

WTA REGIONAL MEETINGS
Watch for special announcements from the WTA about regional meetings planned throughout the state for the latter part of October.  These meetings will provide an informative discussion of the WTA’s 2014 legislative objectives, including the industry-funded, self-assessment model that will be sought in 2014.

WTA PARTNER NEWS: SUQUAMISH CLEARWATER CASINO RESORT BREAKS GROUND FOR SIGNIFICANT EXPANSION

Construction began in June on a five-year project that will dramatically expand the Clearwater Casino Resort. The project will add a new fine dining restaurant, 100 water-view hotel rooms, 700 parking spaces and 25,000 square feet of flexible convention space, not including the expanded pre-function areas and terrace for outdoor events. The casino will undergo an extensive remodel and expansion including the addition of a new 350-seat lounge. The Longhouse Buffet will be remodeled and the Cedar Steakhouse will be relocated to the southwest corner of the property to incorporate views of the water and the resort. Phase I, encompassing the new restaurant, buffet remodel, parking lot, and first meeting space expansion, is expected to be completed by December 2014, with the remaining additions and enhancements completed in phases over the following three years.

CEO Russell Steele is confident in the demand for more hotel and convention space, noting that they had to turn down 13,000 room nights in 2012. “The appeal of this venue will continue to be the unique water-view location and easy access via ferry where guests are met at the terminal by Clearwater shuttles. Clearwater Casino Resort plans to add 180 staff and management positions over the next four years to support the expanded operations.” The resort and casino will remain open for business during construction.

 

AT A GLANCE: WTA MEMBERS IN THE HEADLINES

Click to read full articles

SEATTLE FOOD TOURS’ NEW CAPITOL HILL SOCIAL FEATURES FIVE CURATED RESTAURANTS HIGHLIGHTING CAPITOL HILL’S PIKE/PINE CORRIDOR FOR SMALL GROUPS OF 2-12 PEOPLE

SPOKANE FALLS SKYRIDE MAKES THE HUFFINGTON POST’S LIST OF INCREDIBLE GONDOLA RIDES AROUND THE WORLD

 

SUBMIT YOUR STORIES

Want to brag about something your destination was recently recognized for? Got 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 Sarah Winter at sarah@watourismalliance.com.

WTA WELCOMES AUGUST MEMBERS 

NEW MEMBERS:  

Beeline ToursFairmont Olympic Hotel SeattleFlipKey RentalsGreat Wolf LodgeHeavy Restaurant GroupThe Herb FarmMOHAIWashington State University

RENEWING MEMBERS: