EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR UPDATE
Since last month’s newsletter, there have been several important WTA activities, with positive impacts on our programs and statewide tourism promotion efforts.
First was passage of SHB 2229, the WTA legislation which recognizes a structure, level of funding and governance of a future state tourism marketing program. Governor Jay Inslee signed the legislation on March 27th at a ceremony in Olympia. I was pleased to attend the event, joined by WTA board members, WSDMO representatives, tourism partners and WTA legislative council. The WTA will be working over the summer with our partners to develop the specifics of the industry-funded plan and will deliver our report and recommendations to the legislature in December. We thank everyone who contributed to the successful passage of this bill.
In early April the WTA began distribution of the 2014 official Washington State Visitors’ Guide, which is produced in partnership with the Washington Lodging Association and SagaCity Media. 375,000 copies will be available at visitor information centers throughout Washington and in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Texas and Vancouver, B.C. The print guide is also linked to www.experiencewa.com, our official state tourism web site. Travelers can read the guide online and order a free copy through the website. WTA is mailing the Guide at no charge to addresses in the United States using funding we received from the Washington State Legislature last year. If you haven’t already received your copy of the Guide, please go on-line and order yours soon.
Also this month, the WTA released the findings of our statewide tourism impact report, Washington State Travel Impacts & Visitor Volume 1991 – 2013 p., prepared by Dean Runyan Associates for the WTA. Each year the WTA publishes this data which document travel industry trends and present the most current travel spending, visitation, tax receipts, international travel and employment numbers. The data in this year’s report indicates that tourism in Washington State improved slightly in 2013, but that the rate of growth has slowed while the rate of growth has accelerated in the U.S. travel industry as a whole. From 2012 to 2013 direct visitor spending in Washington State was up 2.4 percent, after last year’s 3.6 percent increase. Other data detailed in the report shows similar trends in comparing 2012 and 2013 growth rates for Washington State. Meanwhile, at the national level there has been an increase in the growth rate of the U.S. travel industry. You can read more from the report on the WTA website www.watourismalliance.com. The WTA continues to be concerned about the slowing rate of tourism growth in Washington, particularly in comparison with the national growth rate and believes that these figures support our message of the need for long-term funding to support statewide tourism marketing.
And finally, in early April the WTA participated in IPW 2014, the U.S. Travel Association’s international travel show, in Chicago. We joined the Visit Seattle booth at the show along with tourism partners from the Port of Seattle, EverGreen Escapes, Savor Seattle, Space Needle, and Tulalip Resort Casino. IPW is the travel industry’s premier international market place, with over 6,000 buyers, supplier and media there to connect and conduct business. Over the course of the three-day show, our team had over 130 appointments and meetings with representatives of international travel and tour operators and related businesses. The U.S. Travel Association estimates that IPW generates $4.7 billion in future travel, bringing 8.8 million international visitors to the U.S. The WTA is pleased to be part of this effort to bring a portion of these travelers to Washington State.
Did you know travel research shows that 33% of Americans are planning to spend more in the coming year? Or that even though 85% of Americans use the internet for travel planning, print has reached a new record in use by U.S. Travelers, with over 49% using a print resource for planning a trip in the previous 12 months? In partnership with our website developer Miles Media, the WTA is presenting this information and more in our Tourism Marketing Educational Road Show. During the months of April and May, we are making presentations in communities throughout Washington, presenting The State of the American Traveler, Creating and Tracking Effective Advertising Campaigns and how to advertise for FREE on ExperienceWA.com. The first event was in Bellevue at Cast Iron Studios on March 27th. Over 40 tourism professionals attended the successful event sponsored by Visit Bellevue. Click here to find out when the Road Show is coming to a city near you!
THANK YOU TO OUR WTA VOLUNTEERS
April is National Volunteer Appreciation Month. Founded forty years ago by President Nixon and sponsored by the Points of Light Institute, National Volunteer Appreciation Month provides an opportunity for organizations to recognize the important role of volunteers throughout the country. This is a perfect time to thank you, our tourism industry partners and volunteers, for your support of WTA’s activities this past year. We extend a warm thank you and grateful appreciation to the WTA Board of Directors and committee members for all of the time and dedication devoted to the WTA. Additionally, thanks to all of you who were our advocates this past year as we worked to secure passage of the WTA funding legislation, and to the Destination Marketing Organizations, tourism ambassadors and visitor information center volunteers throughout the state for helping to promote Washington State.
OLD FASHIONED. CASINO ACTION.
LUCKY EAGLE CASINO & HOTEL
Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel delivers an old school casino experience. Not because they are old fashioned, but because they believe there’s a right way to run a casino and to treat people.
At the risk of oversimplifying, Lucky Eagle never compromises quality or service for convenience and expedience. And in an age of smart phones and GPS, that’s saying something.
Led by enigmatic CEO John Setterstrom, Lucky Eagle has implemented an old-fashioned, straight-from-the-glory-days-of-Vegas philosophy of casino operations. The casino follows a simple manifesto: provide a good product and treat people like you yourself would like to be treated.
Guests will notice this traditional approach in every aspect of their Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel getaway. They will be greeted with a smile, called sir or ma’am and asked if they need anything. Cocktail waitresses will bring them a drink right to their slot machine. The chef will prepare Bananas Foster for them at the table, flames and all. And, in general, every employee will go above and beyond to make sure each guest has an unforgettable experience.
Lucky Eagle Casino & Hotel has all the amenities and latest technology you could ever want in a casino – more than 1,000 slots (many of them Certified Loose by CDC Report’s Jeffery Compton, an independent slot expert), a handful of nice restaurants, a 171-room hotel, and much more. But amenities and square footage fail to capture the essence of what makes a trip there so unique.
BEST WESTERN HOTELS OF WASHINGTON
Plan your next vacation to the Evergreen State! Travelers can choose from 55 Best Western hotels throughout the state of Washington. Each independently owned and operated hotel reflects the charm and culture of its surrounding area, and is close to amenities and attractions.
Whether traveling for business or pleasure Best Westerns offer amenities and services to meet your individual travel needs, finding the right hotel is now easier than ever!
MAXIMIZE YOUR PRESENCE ON THE WTA WEBSITE
Did you know that every tourism related business in Washington is entitled to a listing on the ExperienceWA website, www.experiencewa.com? If you are not listed on the website, please contact Mike Moe, WTA Director of Business Development and Media Sales at email@example.com.
For information on supporting tourism promotion in Washington State by linking your website to the ExperienceWA website, click here.
WTA MEMBERS IN THE NEWS
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 Sarah Winter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WTA WELCOMES MARCH 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 email@example.com or join today online at http://watourismalliance.com/join/.