December 2015 Newsletter

Louise Stanton-Masten  

The WTA is gearing up for the upcoming legislative session and our efforts to secure passage of our long-term funding legislation. (See accompanying article in this newsletter with details about the session.)

In November the WTA Board of Directors, staff and legislative council met in a strategic planning retreat, the focus of which was to assure that all of our advocacy elements are in place going into the session.

In addition to the legislative plan which the Board had previously adopted, a number of accompanying documents about the Statewide Tourism Marketing Act were reviewed and adopted. They provide details about the legislation, the process for its passage and implementation, the proposed fee structure and its impacts, and an overview of the marketing program. Each of these are available on the WTA website.

Over the past few months, we have continued to work with our grass roots teams for each legislative district, with businesses and organizations which would be subject to the assessment fees and with state legislators as we continue to build support for passage of the legislation. We will be relying on our members and stakeholders to join us in Olympia to tell your story about why the legislation is important to you and why you support it. Your voice during session will be critical to our success in having adequate funding to support our statewide tourism marketing program.

Becky Bogard  

2016 will bring a new session of the Washington State Legislature. In addition to outlining some of the personnel changes and their impact on consideration of tourism legislation, it is important to understand the basics of this coming legislative session and the status of the WTA proposal for long term funding.

The basics and the status of the WTA legislation. Under our state’s constitution, the “regular” legislative sessions in even numbered years like 2016 is supposed to run for a period of 60 days. This year the session begins on Monday, January 11 and is slated to end on Friday, March 11. Like other years, if the legislature does not finish its business the governor can call a special session. Most observers feel that is not likely to happen this year.

One way to view the 2016 session is that it an opportunity “clean up” unfinished business from 2015. While new legislation can be introduced, all legislation introduced in 2015 that did not become law is still alive. In fact, the status of legislation is similar to where it was at the end of the 2015 session.

Let me explain this by using the WTA tourism legislation as an example.   During the 2015 session, SHB 1938, the House version of the WTA proposal, was approved by the House Community Development, Housing and Tribal Affairs Committee. It was referred to the House Finance Committee where it had a hearing but was never voted out of committee. What this means is that the House Finance Committee could act on SHB 1938 without additional hearings but as a practical matter, the Committee will probably have a hearing before taking any further action.

In the Senate, 2SSB 5916, the Senate version of the WTA legislation, was passed out of both the Senate Trade and Economic Development Committee and the Senate Ways and Means Committee. It is in the Senate Rules Committee where it could be scheduled for a floor vote.

The importance of all of this is that in a short session, things move quickly. The fewer steps (hearings, votes, etc.) a piece of legislation is subjected to makes it more likely that there will be some action on a proposal.

Personnel. After the legislature adjourned, there were several important personnel changes that took place. Some of them impact the committees considering the WTA legislative proposal. In the House, the chair of the House Finance Committee, Rep. Reuven Carlyle (D., Seattle) will move over to the Senate to fill the position of Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D., Seattle) who was elected to the King County Council in November. Rep. Kris Lytton (D., Anacortes) was appointed to chair the House Finance Committee. Rep. Lytton’s district includes San Juan, Whatcom and Skagit Counties, a very tourism oriented district. In addition, there will be a new member of the committee, Noel Frame, who will be appointed to fill the position vacated by Rep. Carlyle.

Perhaps the more dramatic change comes in the composition of the House of Representatives. As a result of a special election in November, the House now has 50 Democrats and 48 Republicans; this is a bare Democratic majority since it takes 50 votes to pass anything out of the House. What this most likely means is that most proposals considered by the entire House will have to be supported by both parties to get passed.

Going forward and the WTA. There are a few basic things that legislature will have to do during its two month session. There are some budget holes caused by increases in money needed to fight forest fires, the continued need for a school funding, and an increase in Medicaid caseloads. In order to have a constitutionally required balance budget, the legislature will have to deal with these issues. Other issues, including the WTA proposal, will be considered at the discretion of the legislative leadership.

WTA members, and in particular the board, have been working with legislators during the interim to help them understand the importance of enacting a tourism funding proposal now. We intend to continue this work in an effort to get some form of our proposal adopted.

On the WTA website,, you will find some concise and helpful information about the legislative proposal. Please look at this information and contact your legislators encouraging them to support enactment now of the proposal. It is important that you try to do this before January 11, when the session starts. WTA staff and lobbyists would appreciate any feedback from your legislators.
Because of the short session, WTA has decided to have its Tourism Summit after the session. However, that does not get you out of coming to Olympia! We want you to ask your local business organization, like your chamber, to support this proposal and talk about it with legislators when those organizations’ representatives visit Olympia. In fact, we would like you to join your local businesses when they visit Olympia. We will be happy to work with you to set up appointments with your legislators to discuss tourism. Please contact Becky Bogard ( ) or Kathryn Hedrick ( for assistance and any questions.

Thank you in advance for your assistance …and have a happy holiday season!



This year the WTA says goodbye to a founding board member who was instrumental in the creation of the WTA. Jane Kilburn retired this month from both the Port of Seattle and the WTA board. As the Director of International Tourism Development for the Port, Jane worked tirelessly to promote the state, both domestically and internationally. When Washington State closed the tourism office in 2011 she was a key player in the establishment of the WTA and was one of five founding Board members.

“Not only is Jane the mother of the WTA, but she has been the guardian angel of statewide tourism,” said WTA Executive Director Louise Stanton-Masten.  “Jane has been at the forefront of statewide tourism efforts and an outspoken advocate of the importance of tourism marketing for Washington.”

Jane served as a Vice Chair of the WTA Executive Committee and has been a driving force behind our efforts to pass WTA long-term funding legislation, the proposed Statewide Tourism Marketing Act. She’s been an inspiration to many, with her passion for promoting our state to visitors always paramount.

As she transitions into retirement, we extend a heartfelt “thank you” to Jane for everything she has done for not only the WTA, but the entire Washington State tourism industry.


Dan Moore, Pandion Consulting & Facilitation,  WTA Board Member

The Adventure Travel Trade Association, an industry trade group headquartered in Washington State, held its annual Adventure Travel World Summit in Puerto Varas, Chile, October 5-9 2015. This is the organization’s 12th Summit, including the first two which were in Washington State, and was the 8th that I have attended. The sold out summit included over 700 delegates from 55 different countries. Delegates included outbound tour operators such as National Geographic Adventure and REI Adventures, inbound suppliers including Seattle’s own Evergreen Escapes, and some of the best-respected travel media such as Outside Magazine, Travel Weekly, and National Geographic.

Chile 1

The theme for this year’s Summit was “Viva la Revolución de la Aventura”. This theme relates to two aspects of the Adventure Travel industry. One, acknowledging the trend that Adventure Travel is one of the fastest growing sectors of the  travel industry (growing from $89 Billion in 2010 to $263 billion in 2013*; 4 and 10 travelers choosing adventure*). And two, the efforts made by this industry to address issues of social and environmental sustainability – big challenges for the travel industry.

Speakers included the President of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, celebrity chef Rodolfo Guzman, Canadian Ambassador Tim Martin, and numerous experts from across the travel industry. Sessions included diverse topics such as risk management, conservation travel, adventure travel product development, big data, and indigenous travel. I delivered a presentation on the recently released Adventure Travel Guide Qualification and Performance Standard. Created by 18 professionals from 15 different countries, this standard gives destinations and companies a resource to meet international standards for guides. In addition to the inspirational and educational programming, the Summit is well known for the world-class networking. There are formal sessions, such as the one-day Marketplace (similar to a tradeshow), and the innovative Media Connect, which gives participants a one-on-one opportunity with the top tier travel media in attendance. Plus the coffee breaks, meals, and afterhours were priceless opportunities to share ideas and swap business cards.

For the destination, the Summit is an enormous opportunity to show of the best they have to offer. Attendees got to experience Chile’s adventure offerings on a multi-day Pre-Summit Adventure in places like Patagonia, Easter Island or the Atacama Desert, and on a Day of Adventure activity in the volcanoes and lakes region surrounding Puerto Varas.

Chile 2

Next year the Adventure Travel World Summit will be in Alaska. It is exciting to have the Summit coming home to the United States after traveling the world for the last 10. This will be a great opportunity for Washington State for many reasons. One, many of the international flights, and even some domestic will fly through Seattle opening up the possibility to host familiarization trips and promotions. Two, many of the outbound operators and media will be those that already work with the Western US and will be good contacts for Washington businesses to make. Three, the proximity to Seattle means Washington State delegates will pay less, and travel less to have access to this summit. Who knows, the Summit might be in Australia or India in 2017! Washington State is a robust and diverse destination. It stands very solidly as an Adventure Travel destination due to our diversity of geography, quality outfitters, and solid travel infrastructure. Attending the Adventure Travel World Summit is a great way to ensure we are on the map globally and able to tap into this growing and lucrative segment of the travel industry.

Note: Last year the Summit sold out in June. It is likely to sell out quicker this year being in the United States. So don’t wait if you know you want to attend.

Links: More on the Adventure Travel World Summit 2015.

Video highlights of the Adventure Travel World Summit 2015 can be found here.

Adventure Travel Trade Association information.

*Outbound travelers from the Americas and Europe – 2013 Adventure Tourism Market Study – Adventure Travel Trade Association and George Washington University Study

Kris Watkins, President & CEO, Visit Tri-Cities, WTA Board Member

 The Manhattan Project National Historical Park was formally established on Nov. 10, 2015, during a ceremony in Washington D.C., where Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz signed an agreement for the joint management of the new Park.

The Park will be located in all three of the primary Manhattan Project sites from World War II — Hanford, Wash., Los Alamos, N.M. and Oak Ridge, Tenn.– and will be managed as a partnership between the Department of Interior’s National Park Service (NPS) and the Department of Energy (DOE). The DOE will preserve and operate the Park’s historic facilities and provide enhanced access through tour programs, while the NPS will manage interpretation and visitor services. The B Reactor at the Hanford site promises to be a highlight of the new Park as the historic landmark welcomed more than 10,000 people from throughout the world in 2015 without the assistance of a marketing campaign.

Following the creation of the Park, DOE and NPS celebrated with local elected officials, community groups, and many passionate advocates who have helped save Hanford’s B Reactor and push for the creation of the Park. In recognition of NPS’s centennial initiative, “Every Kid in a Park,” eight area 4th grade classes were invited to be among the first to visit the Manhattan Project National Historical Park to tour B Reactor and witness the hanging of the official National Park Service arrowhead.

For more information regarding 2016 B Reactor tours, please visit



Mike Moe

The ExperienceWA website is the best place to reach people who are planning a trip in Washington State in 2016. Every year more travelers are using our website to find the best places to stay, the best places to eat and the best things to do in our beautiful state. Many of those travelers are looking for ways to get the most for their money as they plan their trip. Utilizing the ExperienceWA Deals page is a great way to connect with those travelers.

As the seasons change, the focus of your marketing message does too and the Deals page changes with you. Right now we are focusing on winter getaways, but if you purchase a 12 months of space on the deals page, you’ll have the opportunity to change your deal to fit every season. Or if you only want to focus on one particular season, we offer a 3 month package as well. This is one of ExperienceWA’s most inexpensive programs. At $450 for the 3 months or $1500 for 12 months, it will fit in almost any marketing budget. Right now the program is averaging less than $2 a click!

Please click here for the costs and details of these opportunities, as well as the other ways you can use ExperienceWA to reach people who are planning a trip to Washington State.

If you are interested in advertising on ExperienceWA, please email me at or please call me at 425-444-0589.






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 Diana Thibado at




Admark, Cheryl’s Northwest Tours, Homewood Suites – Richland


Adrift Hotel, Bellevue Club, Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism, Best Western Hotels, Bookwalter Winery, City of Edmonds, City of Redmond, City of Sequim, Cowlitz County Tourism Bureau, DoubleTree by Hilton Spokane City Center, Explore Port Orchard, Hampton Inn Richland, Hampton Inn Spokane Airport, Hard Rock Cafe, Hilton Garden Inn – Spokane Airport, Holiday Inn – Downtown Everett, Holiday Inn Express & Conference Center, Ledgestone Hotel, Macy’s, Paine Field Attractions, Port of Edmonds, Port of Friday Harbor, Port of Ilwaco, Port of Seattle, Pullman Chamber of Commerce, Quality Inn Oakwood, Residence Inn Vancouver, Seattle Times Company, Seattle University, Shuttle Express, The Bellevue Square Collection, The Westin Bellevue, Tillicum Village, W Seattle Hotel, WA Department of Fish & Wildlife, Wenatchee Valley COC


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 or join today online here.