The Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA) held its third, statewide Tourism Summit on March 12, 2013 in Olympia. More than 200 tourism professionals from around the state gathered at the Summit to learn about the state of our industry, our most recent statewide visitor impact numbers and the WTA’s legislative agenda for short and long-term tourism funding.
An electronic version of the WTA 2013 Summit Power Point Presentation is available by clicking on this link: 2013 WTA Tourism Summit Presentation
Governor Inslee gave an inspiring welcome address and spoke about the importance of the tourism industry on jobs and the economy in Washington State. In his speech, he stated that “we have the best possible tourism magnet in the world.” He indicated his commitment to working with the WTA “to create a vigorous, robust, comprehensive and fairly financed tourism effort in the State of Washington.”
At the Summit the WTA released Washington State travel impact figures which indicate that tourism in Washington State was slightly improved in 2012 over 2011 figures. Thanks to a national economic recovery, U.S. tourism grew at 5.2 percent; however, visitation to Washington State lagged behind the U.S. with just 2.1 percent growth. The state saw some 36.4 million total overnight person trips in 2012, and those visitors spent $16.9 billion, up 4.4 percent over 2011. As with the increase in visitor spending, total local and state tax receipts generated by travel spending increased 4.9 percent to just over $1 billion – the equivalent of $390 for every resident household in Washington State. Travel and tourism supported more than 153,300 jobs in 2012, up 2.7 percent, and generated earnings (payroll) of $4.7 billion.
The morning Tourism Summit was followed by an afternoon of legislative advocacy. Our WTA delegation moved to the Capitol for meetings with their representatives and senators. In these meetings, we discussed with them the importance the tourism industry in Washington State and the positive impact that it has on our economy. We cited our competition from other states, which are spending from $7 million to $61 million in tourism marketing. Each legislator was asked to support our bridge funding request of $1.775 million, which will provide for the basics of a statewide tourism marketing program until we have our long-term funding program in place.
The day concluded with an industry reception at the Governor’s Mansion.
Thanks to the following Signature and Event sponsors for their support of the 3rd Annual Washington Tourism Summit and Day in Olympia: Port of Seattle; The Boeing Company; Spokane Public Facilities District; Washington State Convention Center; R.C. Hedreen Co.; Visit Seattle; Chihuly Garden and Glass; Pepsi; Snohomish County Airport Paine Field; Snohomish County; Squaxin Island Tribe Tourism Department; Tulalip Resort and Casino; Washington State Wine Commission.