May marks a very important month for tourism, as we all celebrated National Travel and Tourism Week May 4-12. The Washington Tourism Alliance [WTA] continues to advocate, promote, develop and sustain the economic well-being of the Washington tourism industry. And we want to make sure we effectively communicate the tourism news that matters the most to you!
Please welcome Bridget Baeth as the new editor of the WTA e-newsletter. Bridget currently serves as the Director of Marketing + Communications at the Tacoma Regional Convention + Visitor Bureau.
With Bridget’s help, we are taking the WTA e-newsletter to the next level. What does “next level” mean? It means enriching the content to provide a well-rounded account of tourism across the state to include not just advocacy information but also member news, destination highlights and more! However, before we make major changes we’d like to solicit your feedback-as this is YOUR e-newsletter! Please take a few minutes to share with us what you would like to see in your WTA e-newsletter.
This is your newsletter. Please tell us how we can make it better and enter to win a free registration for next year’s WTA Summit!
Legislative Session Update
This week marks the second week of the State legislative special session. The focus is on budget negotiation of the differences between the House and Senate passed versions of the budget. Representatives of the House, Senate and Governor’s office are meeting to negotiate a final budget.
The 30 day special session may extend until June 11. However, the next State revenue forecast is due to be released June 18 and there is some speculation that legislators will wait for the new revenue forecast before reaching an agreement; there is some thought that the forecast will be favorable and thus allow for a final budget without any new taxes.
Our WTA bridge funding request is still included in both the House and Senate budgets. As we reported to you in the past, the two-year biannual budget includes $1 million in the House budget, but only $200,000 in the Senate budget to support our work. WTA supports the House budget. We continue to work with legislators from throughout the state to ask for support for our funding request at the House budget level of $1 million.
As the special session continues, look for legislative alerts from WTA with our call to action in support of our bridge-funding request.
DMOs Celebrate National Travel & Tourism Week
David Blandford, WTA Board Member and Communications Committee Chair
National Travel & Tourism Week, May 4-11, was promoted and celebrated across Washington State.
Nine top UK tour operators and travel agents visited Seattle and the state to plan future tour itineraries during National Travel & Tourism Week. Our area was selected by Brand USA, the newly created national tourism marketing entity, as one of seven simultaneous “MegaFam” trips around the US. The trip was hosted by the Port of Seattle in conjunction with Visit Seattle, Yakima Valley Visitors and Convention Bureau and hotels and attractions around the region.
The Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau also recognized National Tourism week by promoting National Wine Tourism Day on May 11 and creating a member and industry blog post looking at Tourism from a different point of view: “We Help Create Memories.”
Seattle Southside Visitor Services held its Annual Tourism Network meeting on May 1 where it presented the 2013 Seattle Southside Tourism Ambassador award to its Seattle Southside Tourism Promotion Area Steering Committee members.
The San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau distributed a press release on May 2 on the importance of tourism to the island’s economy, employment and tax base.
The Tacoma Regional Convention + Visitor Bureau launched a training program for frontline customer service professionals in Pierce County on May 10. More than 30 participants ranging in hotel concierge to tour guides from Tacoma, Fife, Gig Harbor, Puyallup and Mount Rainier experienced the Tacoma region through the eyes of a visitor.
Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism held its annual meeting and member luncheon on May 22 but included National Travel & Tourism Week as part of its theme with 200 representatives from local businesses and a presentation by Mark Hoffmann, Chairman and CEO of the National Tour Association.
Visit Seattle produced a six-page special section themed to tourism in the Puget Sound Business Journal’s May 3 issue, hosted an industry open house with some 700 guests, headlined Mayor McGinn’s City Business Casual event which was themed to tourism and positioned tourism stories in local media.Member News Snohomish County Tourism Bureau Launches New Destination Brand
On May 2, the Snohomish County Tourism Bureau officially launched its new destination brand and tourism website designed to create more awareness of the area and increase the number of visitors.
“Open Up” is the key branding tagline, which is paired with the many activities and attractions Snohomish County has to offer.
The Snohomish County Tourism Bureau partnered with Nashville-based North Star Destination Strategies, which has developed destination brands for more than 150 communities nationwide. North Star created a comprehensive branding program designed to effectively heighten awareness of the region.
In addition to a new brand effort, the primary communication tool to potential visitors is the newly-developed website, www.snohomish.org. Consistent with the graphic design elements created in the branding process, the new website will enable visitors to learn about Snohomish County through unique content and tools that sort through the area’s attractions and events based on their specific interests or by a serendipitous exploration of the site. The website features a state-of-the-art responsive design to accommodate all mobile platforms in addition to traditional desktop computers.
Member News – Seattle Southside Announces Group of Hoteliers as 2013 Tourism Ambassadors
Seattle Southside Visitor Services, the official tourism department for the cities of Tukwila, SeaTac, Kent and Des Moines, presented the 2013 Seattle Southside Tourism Ambassador award to the Seattle Southside Tourism Promotion Area Steering Committee (made up of seven hoteliers).
For the past several years Seattle Southside has honored individuals who do outstanding work for the Southside tourism industry. These Tourism Ambassadors go above and beyond the call of duty to support the tourism industry. This year was slightly different. Seattle Southside hoteliers have been working on creating a Tourism Promotion Area for quite some time.
“This group really believes in the value of tourism and the Seattle Southside program,” said Katherine Kertzman, Executive Director of Seattle Southside Visitor Services. “They are such strong believers, they are willing to assess themselves in order to devote more funds to tourism promotion.” For more information visit www.seattlesouthside.com.Washington Tourism Alliance Welcomes April New and Renewing Members New members: Chihuly Garden and Glass, Courtyard Seattle Federal Way, Courtyard Seattle Downtown/Pioneer Square, Courtyard Seattle Bellevue/Downtown, Courtyard Seattle Kirkland, Courtyard Seattle Southcenter, Lake Chelan Chamber of Commerce, Northwest Travel Magazine, Residence Inn Seattle East/Redmond, Seattle Center, Shuttle Express Renewing members: Baymont Inn & Suites, Canlis, City of Kirkland, Coast Hotels, Green Rubino, Hilton Bellevue, Hilton Vancouver Washington, Hotel Bellevue, Hotel Murano, Hyatt Regency Bellevue, Ivar’s, Meeting Professionals International WA Chapter, Mt. Rainier Visitor Association, Olympic Peninsula Gateway Visitor Center, Olympic Property Group, San Juan Islands Visitor Bureau, Seattle Bed and Breakfast Association, Sheraton Seattle Hotel, Silverdale Chamber of Commerce, Skamania County Chamber of Commerce, Snohomish County Tourism Bureau, Town of Coupeville, Travelodge Seattle Center, Vancouver USA Regional Tourism Office, Visit Bellevue WA, Visit Seattle