WASHINGTON TOURISM ALLIANCE NAMES ANDI DAY BOARD OF DIRECTORS CHAIR

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 21, 2021

MEDIA CONTACT:
Dave Blandford
206-713-8314/david@watourismalliance.com

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Board of Directors of the Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA) elected Andi Day Chair of its board of directors for a one-year term which began July 1, 2021. Day has been a member of the WTA board since 2012, has served on its executive committee and chaired its marketing advisory committee. 

     Day has been the Executive Director Pacific County Tourism Bureau (aka Visit Long Beach Peninsula) for the past nine years, leading the city and county’s tourism marketing programs and destination management programs and doubling organizational revenue in a five-year period. She also serves on Pacific County’s Lodging Tax Advisory Committee. She is noted for her commitment to sustainable tourism growth, rural economic development through sustainable tourism, bridging the urban-rural divide and improving quality of life, diversity, and economic mobility. 

     “Andi was a committed advocate for WTA’s enabling legislation in 2018, and she has played a critical role in re-establishing a functioning statewide tourism marketing program in the last three years,” said Shiloh Burgess, WTA’s immediate past board chair and Executive Director of the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce. “Andi’s marketing expertise, industry knowledge and commitment to the cause make her an ideal leader at this juncture of our development.” 

      “My primary objective is to strengthen WTA’s impact to bolster the recovery for Washington’s $13 billion tourism industry while rebuilding and growing our share of the visitor market,” said Day. “For the first time in a decade, we have the funding in place to roll out a robust brand marketing campaign to attract out of state visitors to our beautiful state and support refinements in our tourism product, particularly in rural areas.”

      Day leads the WTA’s Executive Committee. In addition to Burgess as Immediate Past Chair, Ron Peck with the Port of Seattle serves as Vice Chair, Skip Thompson with Boeing as Corporate Representative, Julie Eisenhower with Clark Number as Finance Chair, and Meg Winchester with Visit Spokane as Secretary. 

     Day is an active member of the WSU Alumni Association and serves on the Marketing Advisory Board of WSU’s Carson College of Business. She is also a board member and past president of the Washington State Destination Marketing Organization (WSDMO).

     An entrepreneur at heart, Day’s career started in retail as an owner/operator and then followed a marketing and promotion path. Her marketing experience includes tourism and events promotion in both the Greater Puget Sound area and in rural Pacific County.     

     A fourth generation Washingtonian, Day spent nearly 20 years active in the Pacific Northwest rowing community as a coach and coxswain.   

About the Washington Tourism Alliance

The Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA) is a 501[c]6 organization established by industry stakeholders with the sole mission of developing and sustaining Washington State destination tourism marketing. The WTA procures and administers funds for state destination tourism marketing activities and creates and implements a strategic statewide destination marketing plan. www.watourismalliance.com

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WTA Seeks Content Manager

The WTA is seeking qualified applicants for a new Content Manager position. Click here for the job description.

If you are interested and you meet the selection criteria please respond with a resume and cover letter and prior to 5 p.m., July 16, 2021. Applicants must be a Washington State resident or willing to relocate at their own expense. Send resume and cover letter to wtainfo@watourismalliance.com.

WTA Appoints Board Members to Represent Industry Sectors of Lodging, Attractions, Education and Beer, Wine and Spirits

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 24, 2021

MEDIA CONTACT:
Dave Blandford
206-713-8314/david@watourismalliance.com

The State of Washington – The Washington Tourism Alliance announced the appointment of four tourism industry professionals to its Board of Directors, each serving three-year terms to begin July 1, 2021.

     Heather Bradshaw, Communications Director at Washington State Wine will serve as the Beer, Wine and Spirits Representative on the WTA Board of Directors. In her current capacity, Bradshaw manages industry communications and media relations for the state’s wine industry. Bradshaw has been in the wine industry for 10 years, with previous experience at the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance and Jackson Family Wines. She began her career as a journalist, working at TV stations in Yakima and Seattle.

     Megan Ching, General Manager for the Seattle Center Monorail, is appointed to serve on the WTA Board as its Attractions Sector Representative. Ching served seven years as President of the Puget Sound Attractions Council (PSAC) Board of Directors and more than a decade on the organization’s Executive Committee. The nonprofit cooperative marketing organization is comprised of premier attractions across the Puget Sound region. During Ching’s tenure at PSAC she inaugurated participation in travel trade initiatives to attract and increase visitation to Washington through participation in sales missions as well as tradeshows including U.S. Travel Association’s International Pow Wow (IPW) and Icelandair’s Mid-Atlantic.

     Dipra Jha, Associate Professor in the Carson College of Business and Assistant Director of the School of Hospitality Business Management at Washington State University (WSU), is appointed to serve as the Education Sector Representative on the WTA Board. Professor Jha is recognized as an expert in luxury hospitality and tourism strategy and is a recipient of the prestigious John Wiley & Sons Innovation in Teaching Award from the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education (ICHRIE), among other honors. In addition to his WSU duties, Professor Jha collaborates with communities, government entities and private sector organizations in the United States and overseas on training, research, and outreach projects. His collaborations include Nebraska Tourism Commission, Tourism Authority of Thailand, Nebraska City Tourism & Commerce, Dubai-based Jumeirah Group, and the bespoke luxury brand Oberoi Hotels & Resorts. In 2019, he was conferred a rare and distinguished Doctor Honoris Causa by the Kyiv Cooperative Institute of Business and Law in Ukraine for his outstanding contributions to international education through virtual exchange.

          Ryan Malane, Vice President of Marketing and Co-Owner of Black Ball Ferry Line, will serve as the WTA’s Peninsulas Regional Representative. Malane has spent the past 20 years in senior marketing roles with some of the Pacific Northwest’s leading companies in the maritime, tourism, and advertising sectors. He currently serves on the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee for Clallam County and is a board member of Attractions Victoria as well as several other community organizations.

     Leslie Womack, Director of Sales at the historic Mayflower Park Hotel in Seattle, will serve as the Lodging Sector Representative on the WTA Board of Directors. Womack has more than 30 years of experience in the tourism and hospitality industry, including in the group sales program at Experience Music Project (now MoPop) in Seattle and as Regional Director with Aramark Park & Resorts where she lead the sales efforts for Lake Quinault and Kalaloch Lodges and lodges in Denali National Park in Alaska.  Womack has a B.A. in Political Science and Spanish from Fisk University and a Master’s degree in Public and International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh. She earned her Certified Tour Professional (CTP) designation from the National Tour Association.  

About the Washington Tourism Alliance

The Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA) is a 501[c]6 organization established by industry stakeholders with the sole mission of developing and sustaining Washington State destination tourism marketing. The WTA procures and administers funds for state destination tourism marketing activities and creates and implements a strategic statewide destination marketing plan. www.watourismalliance.com

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New Recreation App Improves Visitor Experience While Helping Protect Public Lands

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 8, 2021

Media Contact:
Christina Pivarnik
(360) 531-0127/christina@pivarnik.com

One-Stop Resource Informed by Local Enthusiasts and Land Management Agencies

Available Now Through the Summer Recreation Season

Wenatchee, Wash. – The Washington Tourism Alliance announces a partnership with TREAD (Trails, Recreation, Education, Advocacy, Development) and Dharma Maps to deploy the new TREAD Map App pilot program that combines a consumer-facing location-based app with robust, real-time trail and recreational data, updates and advisories this spring and summer. The program is operational in the Trails and Lakes region of Central Washington (Kittitas, Grant, Douglas, Chelan, and Okanagan counties), where heavy public lands use is expected again this summer season and is expected to help recreationists improve their outdoor experiences while assisting public lands managers with user flow.

     TREAD, a Wenatchee 501c3 nonprofit with a primary goal of connecting all who care and use public lands, sought to enhance connection and improve the outdoor experience by working with Winthrop-based Dharma Maps to create the TREAD Map App as a hyper-local platform where diverse local and visiting recreationists can connect with each other and provide a portal for land managers can monitor, connect and advise. As a program partner and the state’s destination marketing organization, the WTA will encourage uploads and usage of the app through marketing and communications campaigns that reach Washington residents and travelers.

     The TREAD Map App offers comprehensive up-to-date recreation maps that include hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding trails, along with custom layers and up-to-the minute alerts with current safety information. The user interface allows land managers and recreationists to share current conditions, photos, weather information, tips on crowded trail heads with alternate suggestions and more.

     “Who better to advise recreationists than other recreationists,” said Mat Lyons, TREAD President. “Users care about the outdoor experience and are natural stewards of the environment. This app invites those who care to share what they love about Washington’s outdoor attractions while helping educated on our inherent responsibilities as recreationists.”

     “In addition to informing recreational enthusiasts, we hope this app will assist public land managers with a number of growing issues this summer season,” said Shiloh Burgess, WTA Board of Directors Chair and President of the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce. “From over-use of popular trails to wildfire and smoke alerts, avalanche warnings and other conditions, the TREAD Map App provides a go-to resource for up-to-the-moment updates and advisories.”

     “Dharma Maps is thrilled to bring the Tread Map collaborative platform to the Trails and Lakes Region of Washington which empowers recreation users, land managers and user groups to explore and enjoy our natural places and helps us to steward the places we love well into the future,” said Marc Rothmyer, CEO of Dharma Maps.

     The TREAD Map App can be downloaded for IOS at https://apps.apple.com/us/app/tread-map/id1497706353 or Android at https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.app.treadmap.

      Following completion of this summer’s pilot program, partners will consider broadening TREAD Map App usage across Washington State.

About the Washington Tourism Alliance

The Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA) is a 501[c]6 organization established by industry stakeholders with the sole mission of developing and sustaining Washington State destination tourism marketing. The WTA procures and administers funds for state destination tourism marketing activities and creates and implements a strategic statewide destination marketing plan. www.watourismalliance.com

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IITA Steps to Success Travel Trade Webinar featuring Jennifer Ackerson

May 18, 9:30-11:30 a.m.

The WTA presents this free tourism development training webinar on how to work with inbound travel professionals, create successful partnerships and develop resources to stimulate international business with global re-opening. Whether you are new to the industry or a veteran of working with the travel trade, come update your knowledge and hear from our panel about what is expected and vital for the return of international inbound travel. Click HERE to register for this free event!

Jennifer Ackerson, President of ALON Marketing Group, a successful tourism industry veteran, and creator of the International Inbound Travel Association Steps to Success Program, will guide you through:

• A look at the value of working with international travel trade and how it is critical to developing your tourism business


• Achievable step-by-step insight on how to prepare for this market including developing product for inbound operators to sell


• Tips on how the entire destination can increasingly work together to amplify success in attaining its share of international tourism

The benefits of working in the international market:
• International visitors stay longer, dive deeper into the destination, and spend more money
• The ability to procure year-round business and during off-peak periods when you need the business the most
• Increase international visitation through the inbound travel trade that have the potential to provide you with consistent long-term business

Featured presenters include:

Leslie Womack – Mayflower Hotel Seattle

Leslie will share how her her success story in using receptive tour operators to build consistent, year-around business.

Chris Pilley – Rocky Mountain Holiday Tours

Chris is the owner and CEO for Rocky Mountain Holiday Tours. He will discuss what he looks for in a travel trade partner.

Gisa Kusserow-Hanson – ATP (former AlliedTPro)

Gisa is a Senior Product Manager at AlliedTPro. She will discuss how to come prepared with the right resources to a buyer appointment

Why should you attend?

Accommodations – Are there key need periods or room types you want to sell? Would you like to develop relationships with select partners you can rely on for long term repeat business?
Attractions/Activities/Tour/Local tour guides/Breweries/Wineries – You are the reason visitors want to visit! Learn how to have your business booked in advance!
Arts/Cultural Institutions/Museums/Historic Places/Performing Arts – You are the essence of your destination showcasing your destination’s history and uniqueness! Working with the travel trade will be the way to add visitation, increase global awareness, and attract key markets.
Dining – Every visitor must eat! Travel trade can bring you visitors for all 3 meal periods and during your off-peak periods. Individuals as well as Groups have an opportunity here!
Retail/Services – Shopping is the #1 activity for visitors globally. Learn ways to drive visitors to your retail space as a premade decision before they arrive while creating fun partner programs.
Transportation – International visitors travel by all modes.
Parks & Recreation – Visitors who arrive from the travel trade make pre-determined choices on where they will visit. If of interest is pushing visitors into year-round periods and changing their visitor habits, then this session is for you.
Sports – You can see more bookings in advance and be able to push seats that are harder to sell or time periods when you want to increase your ticket sales!
Events/Festivals – Have partners who promote your events and festivals fill the space as well as, assist you in having a successful event!
Tourism Councils/Chambers/CVBs/DMOs – Help your stakeholder tourism businesses achieve success because you understand what is important for them to be doing. In addition to attending yourself, encourage your stakeholders to learn along with you.

Your attendance will be time well spent and we look forward to working together to promote Washington as a desired destination for the rebound of international visitation.

Click HERE to register for this free event!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 28, 2021

Media Contact:
Christina Pivarnik
(360) 531-0127/christina@pivarnik.com

Washington Tourism Alliance Names Michelle Thana
as Director of Marketing

SEATTLE – The Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA) announced the addition of Michelle Thana to the newly created role of Director of Marketing, effective May 17, 2021. Thana will lead the organization’s consumer marketing program, including strategic planning, consumer campaigns, advertising, direct marketing, social media and destination brand marketing and communications.

Thana most recently served as Director of Marketing at Visit Vancouver USA. From 2019 to present she directed the organization’s marketing, creative and communications programs. She managed marketing and advertising agencies and led brand development, as well as contributing to the organization’s long-term vision and planning.

From 2014 to 2019, Thana served on Travel Portland’s marketing team, first as Marketing Coordinator and then as Marketing Manager. In the latter role, Thana implemented annual marketing campaigns that attracted overnight visitors, managed consumer and social media agencies and strengthened collaboration between the consumer agency, internal digital team and digital agency. Thana also coordinated cross-departmental campaigns for domestic and international travelers and worked closely with the organization’s overseas marketing team.

From 2013 to 2014, Thana served as Lead Creative Strategist at Brandefied, where she managed more than 300 Facebook and Google ad campaigns, developed and executed digital marketing plans for clients and managed content fulfillment for clients company-wide.

“Michelle knows destination marketing across platforms and has strong experience at the national and global levels, as well the local and community levels,” said David Blandford, WTA Executive Director. “The entire WTA team is excited to welcome her, and we know her experience and leadership will be key to growing statewide tourism marketing programs that help travel, tourism and hospitality communities and businesses recover while fostering future resiliency.”

Thana’s professional distinctions include being named to Destinations Council’s Emerging Leaders and Destinations International’s 30 Under 30.

About the Washington Tourism Alliance
The Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA) is a 501[c]6 organization established by industry stakeholders with the sole mission of developing and sustaining Washington State destination tourism marketing. The WTA procures and administers funds for state destination tourism marketing activities and creates and implements a strategic statewide destination marketing plan. www.watourismalliance.com

Click here for the full press release.

WTA Seeks Director of Marketing

The WTA is seeking qualified applicants for a new Director of Marketing position. Click here for the job description.

If you are interested and you meet the selection criteria please respond with a resume and cover letter and prior to 5 p.m., January 27, 2021. Applicants must be a Washington State resident or willing to relocate at their own expense. Send resume and cover letter to wtainfo@watourismalliance.com.

Register Today for the 2020 State Tourism Conference!

October 8th, 2020 8am-4pm 

Register now for the 2020 State Tourism Conference. This virtual event will bring together Washington State tourism industry members and feature a line-up of national, state, and local speakers and panelists in addition to industry breakout sessions. Program Highlights:

  • Welcome and State of the Industry
  • Travel & Tourism Industry and Forecast by Adam Sacks, the CEO of Tourism Economics
  • Panel discussion on the Future of Outdoor Based Tourism
  • Panel discussion on U.S.-Canada Cross-Border Tourism
  • Keynote Address by Roger Dow, The CEO and President of the US Travel Association
  • Panel discussion on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Implications and Opportunities for the Travel Industry
  • Panel discussion with Small Business Owners Who Have Successfully Adapted to Covid-19
  • Panel discussion on Planning for Industry Recovery with State Government and Industry Leaders
  • Opportunities to network with people in your sector and region

Click here to register! 

Cost: $25 for WTA members, $35 for non-members, and $8 for students. Click here for sponsorship opportunities. We look forward to reuniting as an industry in October!