SHB1123 and SSB5251 (the same legislation but entered in both the Senate and House) will create a performance-based statewide tourism marketing program.

The legislation would provide:

  • Independent oversight of the industry-run program by a board of tourism industry representatives and a legislator from each of the four political caucuses. There will also be some non-voting representatives from relevant state agencies including the Department of Commerce, Parks and Recreation Commission and the Department of Revenue.
  • A marketing plan and campaign that focuses on bringing more tourists to Washington and out to rural and tourism-dependent counties, emphasizing outdoor recreation opportunities and designed to attract international tourists, crafted by a non-profit entity representing the geographic and cultural diversity of the state.
  • A funding  mechanism for a Tourism Marketing Account:   Beginning July 1, 2017, 0.1 percent of general sales taxes collected on retails sales of lodging, restaurants and rental cars will be deposited into the Statewide Tourism Marketing Account.  Deposits are limited to $5 million per biennium (every two year state budget cycle) and are subject to private matching funds prior to expenditure. The plan offers the potential for a maximum of $15 million per biennium to be spent on the tourism marketing program.

Why it’s so important:

  • Since the state closed its Tourism Office in 2011, Washington is the ONLY state without a statewide tourism marketing program.
  • Competing western states have budgets ranging from $7 – $50 million.

What it will do for our economy:

  • Generate additional beneficial economic development from Washington’s fourth largest industry.
  • Expand the benefits of tourism in rural and economically distressed regions of the state.
  • Generate tax dollars from out-of-state interests that will help fund other state priorities.

Don’t miss out on your chance to get involved! http://watourismalliance.com/tourismworks/