July 2015 Newsletter

Louise Stanton-Masten     

Since the 2015 legislative session ended the WTA has been focused on undertaking the steps necessary to prepare our long-term funding legislation for the 2016 session. While it was disappointing to not get our bills passed this year or to get the interim funding that we were seeking, we are well underway with our action plans to build a successful campaign for the next session.

In June the WTA Board of Directors reviewed and approved a draft interim legislative plan, with objectives designed to position us for success. Work is ongoing to establish the final plan. Our primary objectives are to identify and secure additional support from businesses subject to the assessment fees; strengthen relationships and secure support from legislators; maintain and grow support from organizations that represent the assessed sectors; achieve support and commitment from non-assessed tourism industry sectors; build an outreach campaign. The WTA legislative committee will be working with grassroots teams in legislative districts and with tourism partners to help gain support for our legislation.

As we move forward with all of the components of our legislative plan we’ll be reaching out in a number of ways for member and stakeholder involvement. Your input and support will be critical in helping us get our legislation passed in the next session so that we achieve our goal of adequate funding to support our statewide tourism marketing program.



Mary Kay Nelson, Executive Director, Visit Rainier  

Visit Rainier has partnered with Mt. Rainier National Park and the Washington State Geocaching Association to create one more way to enjoy Mt. Rainier this summer, by launching the Visit Rainier Centennial GeoTour!

Over the next two years, 100 new geocaches will be placed around Mt. Rainier National Park and its gateway communities to celebrate the centennial of the National Park Service in 2016.

Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunt using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.

The GeoTour has its own page on geocaching.com, which lists all the geocaches. Each cache contains a code word that participants can record in a passport (downloadable on VisitRainier.com). When the passport contains all 25 code words, participants can turn it in for a trackable pathtag. A new pathtag will be available for each series. If a player logs all 100 caches, they can receive a commemorative geocoin.

Caches on the Visit Rainier Centennial GeoTour will be released in four separate series, 25 at a time, the first release launched at 4 p.m. on June 13, 2015, following a CITO (Cache in Trash Out) event at Mt. Rainier National Park. A kick-off event was held.at Whittaker Mountaineering/RMI in Ashford.  Passports, prizes and giveaways were available. Over 800 finds were recorded in just 16 days on the first series of 25 caches.

For more information on the Visit Rainier Centennial GeoTour, check out www.visitrainier.com or www.geocaching.com.





Since the launch of Visit Spokane’s little van, Ace, a year ago, it has proven to be an invaluable resource for visitors. The mobile visitor information center, operated by Melissa Skomer-Kafton, Visitor Engagement Specialist at Visit Spokane, has ventured throughout the region — helping nearly 5,000 people with suggestions ranging from where to eat and what to see, to where you can pan for gold.

Melissa and Ace have attended nearly 50 events since 2014 and have parked in populated spots across Spokane, ranging from the Spokane Valley Mall to the Medical Lake Waterfront.

Ace discovered first hand (first tire?) that this region is quite the active community. Melissa and Ace have helped attendees who were in town for: volleyball, basketball, football, running (marathon and smaller), golf, cycling, hammer-throwing, wrestling, skiing, baseball, boxing, and BBQing.

“One of the busiest days I had was spent in the Convention Center breezeway during the KuroNekoCon Anime Convention, the Color Run and Job’s Daughters registration,” said Melissa. “Events like these have brought an array of people to the Spokane community, and it is so helpful we can drive right to the events and deliver tons of information. In a year we have handed out thousands of visitor guides and maps.”

Over the past year, Ace and Melissa have weathered 100-degree days (hottest day: 108-degrees at last year’s Cheney Jubilee), been to just about every park in the region and even required one jump start at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center.

“I get to have super fun interactions with people from all over the world. I met three guys who were riding their bikes from Maine to the Pacific Coast,” said Melissa. “The men needed help booking three RVs for the weekend for their wives (their support crew), and I was able to help them with that as well as recommend some restaurants and get them set up at a bike shop. They were so thankful for the help that one of them wrote about me in his blog.”

Conversations she has had tend to bring up funny topics such as, “where to buy marijuana, where the nearest strip club is, how to climb the clock tower, and even where the nudist resort is (Spokane does not have one.),” said Melissa.  “A guy even wanted to know if he could take his RV on the North Cascades Highway because he did not think that many highways in Washington were paved.”

Ace can be found cruising all over Spokane, but you can follow its schedule easily on Twitter at @VisitSpokaneACE. Ace’s next big event will be during its first birthday, when Ace is once again positioned to help the thousands of people in town for Hoopfest, June 27-28.

“Ace has been a great addition to the Spokane region this past year and we anticipate another great year ahead of helping people find out all the great things going on in our community,” said Cheryl Kilday, Visit Spokane President & CEO.

More information about Ace and its whereabouts can be found here.


Mike Moe 

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This incredible value has been driven by our REWARDS program that gives advertisers up to double the impressions purchased. During this limited time offer, you can buy as few as 20,000 impressions and receive up to 20,000 extra impressions for $580 for WTA members and $656 for non-members.

To learn more, contact Mike Moe at 425-444-0589, ormike@watourismalliance.com. Or, click to view the fullExperienceWA Media Kit.







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.




Fran’s Chocolates, Holiday Inn Express – Downtown Spokane, Holiday Inn Express – Yakima/Ellensburg, Hyatt Regency Bellevue, Maryhill Winery, Port Madison Enterprises – Clearwater Casino, Sheraton Bellevue Hotel, Teatro ZinZanni, Visit Lewis Clark Valley 


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 or join today online here.