Mike Moe, Managing Director
Since long before signing the state tourism marketing contract with the Washington Tourism Marketing Authority and the Washington Department of Commerce, the WTA has been developing a list of priorities. Building a statewide destination marketing organization from scratch requires a strong foundation and there is much to do in 2019. For now, the WTA will still be led by a hard-working group of industry experts that sit on our board of directors. The board has formed committees that will take the next steps to create an effective organization.
The success of the WTA will be determined by the strength of our partnership with the existing tourism efforts throughout Washington. WTA Co-Chair, Shiloh Burgess from the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce, leads our Outreach Committee. Our state is blessed with a strong core of regional destination marketing organizations, trade associations, tribes, port authorities, chambers of commerce, and businesses that provide the tourism product to our visitors. In the coming months, we will be doing everything we can do to strengthen our existing relationships, introduce ourselves to those unfamiliar with the WTA, and create value for our partners. If you are interested in having a WTA representative speak to your group, please contact me at email@example.com.
Consumer Travel Marketing
Led by our other WTA Co-Chair, David Blandford from Visit Seattle, the goal of our marketing committee is to create and implement a statewide tourism marketing program that positions and achieves incremental tourism growth for the destination, including visitor volume, expenditures, tax receipts and jobs. The process will include re-development of a state destination brand that will strategically position Washington State with target markets and serve as a foundation for myriad campaigns and programs in marketing, advertising, content and communications.
Engaging the travel trade sector is one of the most efficient ways to spread the news about what we have to offer as a state. Led by Ron Williams from Visit Walla Walla, our travel trade subcommittee has identified five travel trade shows that the WTA will participate in for 2019, starting with Go West at the end of the month. This committee is also tasked with developing itineraries and seeking opportunities for familiarization tours throughout our state.
Our digital marketing subcommittee is chaired by Andi Day from the Long Beach Peninsula Visitors Bureau. This committee will lead consumer travel social media efforts, develop a consumer e-news and content strategy, identify digital marketing opportunities and initiate the process of evolving our consumer facing website. While the website, ExperienceWA.com has served us well over the past seven years, the goal is to re-design and update its functionality for users. We will fully integrate the improved website with our new brand.
Travel Media Development
This subcommittee is made up of experts in the communications field from throughout the state and is led by Christina Pivarnik from CP Communications in Port Townsend. This committee was formed last summer and has already been successful in generating editorial media coverage of Washington destinations to travel writers and creating media leads for our partners. Upcoming projects include rebuilding a much-needed state photo and video library.
The challenge to build something new is daunting, but it’s never been more exciting to be a part of the Washington Tourism Alliance as it transitions to the state’s official destination marketing organization. Since the inception of the WTA, professionals from corners of our state and sectors of our industry have united behind this vision. We will continue to depend on the unity of our industry and the strength of our partners to build an organization that will represent our amazing state. If you would like to join this effort, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have hit the ground running, but there is still so much more to do. We are only getting started!
WTA WELCOMES NEW BOARD MEMBERS
Diana Thibado, Director of Operations
Mary Kay Nelson has served as a professional in tourism marketing and non-profit organizational management for over 20 years in Washington State. Nelson began her extensive career in tourism by building strategic partnerships with businesses and other non-profit organizations as well as governmental agencies. She started the Lewis County Visitor and Convention Bureau and created a regional marketing effort for the Southwest Washington Region. Since then, Nelson has gone on to become active in Washington Scenic Byways program successfully creating the White Pass Scenic Byway program and South Cascade Loop, where she continues to serve as the Marketing Director.
Michael Novakovich is President and CEO of Visit Tri-Cities. He grew up supporting tourism-related businesses, starting work for his family’s graphic communications company at the ripe old age of 10. While new to the DMO world, he is a tireless advocate for tourism and a champion of community. Michael has over 25 years of professional leadership and management experience with a focus on strategy and marketing, continually leading teams to international, national and regional award recognition for marketing initiatives and strategic endeavors.
Peter Schrappen serves as the Vice President and Director of Government Affairs for the Northwest Marine Trade Association, which represents the state’s $4 billion boating industry. He’s a big believer in associations and recently became a Certified Association Executive. Before his time at NMTA, he spent time working for and then lobbying the state legislature. He serves on several boards and commissions, including board chair of the Big Tent Coalition (which represents the state’s $28 billion outdoor recreation economy) and the Washington Maritime Federation, which speaks for the Evergreen State’s $38 billion overall-maritime business community.
Sandy Ward, a 30+ year veteran of the travel, tourism and hospitality industry is the President & CEO of Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism. Prior to joining the Bellingham Bureau, she served for a dozen years as the founding sales and marketing director for the Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour in Everett, WA. She was the founding executive director of the Snohomish County Tourism Bureau where she served for nine years and was appointed by Washington’s Governor Christine Gregiore to s erve as a member of the Washington State Tourism Commission. In 2007, she and four others founded the Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA).
Welcome to the WTA Board!
MEMBERS IN THE NEWS
SUBMIT YOUR STORIES
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 email@example.com.