January 2015 Newsletter

Louise Stanton-Masten  

This year marks the 5th Annual WTA Tourism Summit, to be held on February 12 in Olympia. This year’s Summit is focused on passage of our long-term funding legislation, which will put in place an industry assessment to fund our statewide marketing program. As our members and industry partners know, this long-term funding plan has been the objective of the WTA since the organization was formed in 2011. We are now at a watershed moment, ready to implement the collection and distribution of these funds. But it will require passage of this year’s WTA legislation. As in the past, the Summit will bring together industry partners with a shared vision for the future of tourism development in Washington State and we invite you to be part of this important event.

The Summit will feature two key-note speakers who will inspire our audience with their success stories. Chris Thompson, President & CEO of Brand USA will share their story of building a nationwide program to bring increased international visitation to the United States and grow America’ share of the global travel market. Todd Davidson, President & CEO of Travel Oregon, will speak to the success that Travel Oregon has had in growing their tourism industry.

“We are looking forward to welcoming our tourism partners to Olympia in a few weeks! Our Annual Tourism Summit promises to be the best one yet, with exciting, inspirational speakers and a comprehensive plan to present to our legislators that will fund marketing Washington State for years to come. Please plan to attend and join us in this important work,” said Christina Pivarnik, Chair of the Summit Planning Committee.

In addition to our keynote speakers, the Summit will include updates on WTA programs from WTA Chair Cheryl Kilday and a town hall format discussion period. Following lunch, the afternoon focus shifts to legislative appointments, with lobbying and advocacy for our legislation. The day will conclude with an evening reception at the Governor’s Residence. Thanks to the City of Olympia and the Olympia, Lacy, Tumwater Visitors Bureau, free on-street parking will be available, and several hotels are offering WTA discounted room rates. Click HERE to see the full agenda, and to register. We hope you’ll be part of the tourism industry team supporting our legislation and look forward to seeing you there.

Becky Bogard  

With the beginning of the 2015 Washington State Legislature on January 12, the work of the Washington Tourism Alliance to pass legislation to provide a stable source of funding for a statewide tourism marketing program begins. On Monday, January 19, 2015, the WTA had the first opportunity to publicly present the program and the report to the Legislature in a committee work session. As a reminder, legislation passed in 2014 that required the Washington Tourism Alliance to submit a report to the Legislature outlining a program to provide stable funding for a statewide tourism marketing program.

Rep. Sherry Appleton (D., Poulsbo) asked the WTA to present the background and findings of the report to the members of the Community Development, Housing and Tribal Affairs Committee, which she chairs. Other members of this committee include Rep. Norm Johnson (R., Yakima), the ranking Republican, Rep. June Robinson (D., Everett), Rep. Hans Zeiger (R., Puyallup), Rep. David Sawyer (D., Tacoma), Rep. Brad Hawkins (R., Wenatchee) and Rep. Kevin van de Wege (D., Port Angeles). This is the same committee that will hear legislation implementing the report’s proposal.

The hearing began with a panel representing the WTA. They included Andy Olsen, chair of the Long Term Funding and Advocacy Committee, Monique Trudnowski, one of the founding members of WTA and Becky Bogard, government relations consultant. Olsen is a vice president of Columbia Hospitality and past president of the Washington Lodging Association. Trudnowski owns Adriatic Grille in Tacoma, a member of the Washington Restaurant Association, and one of the most passionate advocates for tourism and WTA.

You can watch the hearing on the TVW website by using the following link: http://www.tvw.org/index.php?option=com_tvwplayer&eventID=2015011075

The panel reviewed the history of tourism in Washington State including the closure of the tourism office. Many of the committee members are new to this topic so it was important to remind them of how we got to where we are in tourism marketing and where we stand in relation to other states.

Trudnowski discussed the impacts of tourism on her business and on other areas around the state. She also briefed the committee members about the activities of the WTA to keep tourism alive while we figured out how to structure the long term funding program.

Olsen discussed the proposal in the report. He emphasized the principles of industry funded and industry governed. Committee members asked questions about the proposal to form a Washington Tourism Marketing Authority as a “middle man” for the funds but not the entity to implement the marketing plan. The panel members took the legislators through the steps of formulating the fee proposal that would be the stable source of funding for the program. Included in the presentation was a list of the fees to be proposed and the classification of businesses that would pay them. (These can be found on the WTA website) Olsen also discussed the ability of the program as proposed to include other non-fee paying entities such as the tribes and ports.

Legislators asked lots of questions throughout the presentation. There was particular interest in the WTA outreach to the tourism industry and the consensus that has been built around this proposal. They appreciated the accountability provisions in the proposal and the fact that it included several industry sectors, not just lodging.




Presented by the International Tourism Partnership – WTA, Visit Seattle and Port of Seattle 

The UK leisure travelers explore the entire state and are interested in food and wine, shopping, adventure, scenic beauty and niche travel– This is our longest-standing and most prolific overseas market.

Come help celebrate 30 years of tourism promotion in this market-and learn more about  how to market to this audience, meet tour operators and media 1:1, and attend the commemorative dinner with your colleagues from Washington state and our partners in promotion tourism from London.

Dates:  April 27 – 30, 2015 (travel days are April 26 and 30)

Registration fee is $1200; total cost approximately $4,000 (including the registration fee).

Click HERE for more information. Please RSVP no later than February 5, 2014.


Our Washington State Visitors’ Guide team is putting the finishing touches on the 2015 annual edition. Make sure your business is in front of over 1,000,000 prospective visitors looking for information on where to stay, eat and play in Washington State. Don’t miss out on this proven marketing opportunity!

For more information on advertising, with discounted pricing exclusively for WTA members, contact Jeff Adams at SagaCity Media (jadams@sagacity.com or 206-




The Manhattan Project National Historical Park, as part of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), has been approved by President Barack Obama. The National Historical Park designation came to fruition thanks to the combined efforts of Congressman Doc Hastings, Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, and the B Reactor Museum Association.

The Manhattan Project National Historical Park preserves historic sites at Hanford, as well as Manhattan Project-related sites at Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The designation gives Hanford sites, such as the B Reactor, the same status as Independence Hall, Valley Forge and Abraham Lincoln’s birthplace.

The B Reactor, the world’s first full-scale plutonium production reactor, is currently designated as a National Historic Landmark. Elevating the B Reactor’s status to a National Historical Park allows for increased public access to the historic reactor.

“The B Reactor attracted more than 10,000 visitors last year – individuals from all 50 states and also some 50 countries,” said Kris Watkins, President and CEO of Visit TRI-CITIES. “We expect these numbers to climb to more than 100,000 visitors per year when the new National Park opens.”

Visit TRI-CITIES and Tri-City Economic Development Council (TRIDEC) will work closely with National Park Service and Department of Energy in the coming year to coordinate and provide community input in the establishment of Manhattan Project National Historical Park.



A recently released study prepared for the Washington State Legislature shows that outdoor recreation generates $21.6 billion a year in spending on trips and equipment in the state. And it illustrates that Washingtonians  love to play outside, spending an average of 56 days a year in some form of outdoor recreation.

The study, prepared for the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office by Earth Economics, at the direction of the Legislature led by Sen. Kevin Ranker (D- Orcas Island), is the first comprehensive analysis of the recreation economy in Washington. It offers economic impact data both by geography, by county and by activity.

Highlights include:

  • $21.6 billion is spent every year on outdoor recreation trips and equipment on both public and private land in Washington.
  • Nearly 200,000 jobs are supported by outdoor recreation, comparable to the aerospace and tech industries in Washington.
  • $10.4 billion is spent on sightseeing and nature activities, including $7 billion on wildlife watching and photography.
  • $8 billion is spent on activities around water, including fishing, boating, swimming and diving.
  • Out-of-state visitors play an important role-accounting for 12 percent of recreation days and 27 percent of dollars spent on outdoor recreation. Every dollar spent by an out-of-state traveler in Washington generates $1.36 in economic impacts, resulting in a total of $4.6 billion in new money circulating in the state’s economy.
  • The recreation market is one of the largest markets in the state for moving income from urban to rural areas and building jobs in more rural areas.

“It’s no secret that we live in the most beautiful state in the union and that Washington’s natural splendor is an enormous economic generator,” said Sen. Ranker. “Until now, however, we didn’t fully understand just how powerful an economic force outdoor recreation is. We must not only continue to invest in the protection of our great outdoors, we must support and invest the hundreds of thousands of jobs that depend up it.”

“We’re very excited to share this report,” said Kaleen Cottingham, director of the Recreation and Conservation Office, which commissioned the study. “I think it confirms what many of us know – that recreation is a big part of what makes Washington a great place to live. Outdoor recreation creates hundreds of thousands of jobs, supports many local businesses and is important to all of us for staying healthy, educating our children and giving us a beautiful place to live. This report puts hard numbers behind the benefits of outdoor recreation and shows that investments in outdoor recreation will bring a substantial return on the dollar.”

To see a copy of the report, visit www.rco.wa.gov/


This report supports the work of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Parks and Outdoor Recreation, which recommended 12 actions to be taken in the near future to increase participation in outdoor recreation and the resulting social and economic benefits. Read the task force report here

Mike Moe 

As you probably know by now, every tourism-related business in Washington State is entitled to a free listing on www.experiencewa.com. The website already has over 11,500 listings and is growing every day! An easy way to stand out from all your competitors is to upgrade to a Featured Listing on ExperienceWA. With a Featured Listing, you can upload up to 6 photos, a video and a longer description, but more importantly you will get top-tier sorting on all relevant pages. This makes it much easier for potential customers to find you. At only $650 per year for WTA members ($715 for non-members), this is an inexpensive and effective way to advertise. Almost all the businesses that took advantage of our Featured Listings in 2014 paid less than a $1 a click! Please contact Mike Moe at 425-444-0589 or email him at mike@watourismalliance.com for more details.



It’s the best 10 days a food lover could cram into one week! For the third straight year, Spokane throws out the welcome mat to diners everywhere with the annual Inlander Restaurant Week. From February 20 to March 1, dozens (and dozens!) of restaurants all around the region will be offering special meals and fantastic deals.

“Restaurant Week has shown incredible growth and, we think, is headed in the direction everyone was hoping for: becoming a top quality attraction for visitors,” said Jeanna Hofmeister, Visit Spokane Chief Marketing Officer.

Since Visit Spokane and the Pacific Northwest Inlander, a weekly newspaper based in Spokane, launched Restaurant Week in 2013, it has grown substantially each year. The 97 participating restaurants this year almost doubles the inaugural year’s 53 participants. In addition to restaurant involvement, the event also features a “Drink Local” element that promotes Spokane-area based wineries, craft breweries, distilleries and cideries.

“This is our region’s chance to showcase all the local culinary excellence that’s in full bloom here, whether it’s something from a farmer just down the road or a Spokane craft brewer with a worldwide reputation,” said Hofmeister.





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 diana@watourismalliance.com




Sell My Time Share Now


Garvey Schubert Barer, Hotel Rio Vista, Kalispel Tribe of Indians, North Hood Canal Chamber of Commerce, Ray’s Boathouse, Residence Inn – Portland North/Vancouver, San Juan Cruises, Seattle Aquarium, Space Needle, Spokane Public Facilities District, The Bellevue Square Collection, Tulalip Resort Casino, Washington State Convention Center

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 mike@watourismalliance.com