Ten Travel and Tourism Trends for 2015

November 25, 2014

Sharing a column our CEO wrote today:

Thanksgiving is here.  It’s just a matter of time before we usher in a new year.  So what does 2015 hold for travel and tourism? Here are ten trends that I believe will influence travel and tourism next year.

  1. Unplugged travel: Lonely Planet recently released a number of predictions on the future of travel.  They believe the pressures of modern life will cause growth in ‘unplugged travel’. People will seek places that deliberately have no emails or mobile device access,  so that ‘guests can immerse themselves in their destination and truly forget about work and everyday life.’
  2. Crowded Planes: The Air Transport Action Group (ATAG) forecasts that 6.6 billion passengers will fly worldwide by 2032, growing an average of 4.4% annually from 2014 onward. Bottom line: Crowded planes, especially on popular routes.
  3. Growth in Culinary Travel: It’s been a trend for awhile but research validates that food and beverage activities do influence travel decisions. Mandala Research surveyed Americans in 2013 and found that three quarters of all leisure travelers (131 million people) can be classified as culinary travelers, having participated in culinary activities within the past three years.  Expect more interest in culinary travel and new products to tap into this travel trend, like the New Mexico Breakfast Burrito Byway or the Yakima Valley Spirits and Hops Trail.
  4. Sleeping will cost you more: Hotel rates and occupancy levels will be higher due to demand and a stronger economy, especially in large cities and at upscale hotels. Experts advise doing your homework to find deals and booking early. Another option is to gamble on last minute deals through online lodging websites.
  5. Go Local: The rapid rise of the ‘sharing economy’ through venues like Airbnb.com, EatWith.com, Uber and other grass roots based travel providers will proliferate in the coming year(s).
  6. Meetings Coming On Strong: The meetings and convention industry will experience continued growth in 2015. According to American Express Meetings & Events 2015 Global Meetings Forecast, meetings will play a critical role in growing the tourism economy next year.
  7. Going mobile: Almost 25% of all travel bookings in the US will be done via smartphones in 2015. Mobile friendly travel apps and the growth in virtually everything being done on mobile devices have given rise to this trend. It’s not going to slow down either.
  8. Blurred Lines: Top of the Lonely Planet list of trends is that travel will become ‘fully integrated into our lives as opposed to a special event.’ This is encouraging as travel enriches in ways that no other activity can. Travelers are blending their interests when traveling. Trips that focus on the environment, sports, or spa/health will see growth in 2015.
  9. More bang for the buck: Leisure travelers want value and quality. This doesn’t always mean rock bottom pricing, but other aspects such as unique location,  quality service, new amenities and convenience are important.
  10. Sustainability. Sustainability in travel has been around for years, but consumers are driving companies and destinations to embrace more earth friendly practices. Hotels are not only reducing water and chemical use but also employing other sustainable practices including LED lighting and in-room recycling programs. Restaurants are sourcing local ingredients and products. Rental car companies offer more hybrid vehicles.

So those are my top ten travel trends to watch in 2015. Wherever you travel, enjoy the journey and cherish the memories.

John Cooper

Yakima Valley Tourism Selects Firm to Produce Official Visitors Guide

August 29, 2014

Yakima Valley Tourism President & CEO John Cooper announced today that Visitors Guide Publications (VGP Destination Marketing) has been chosen to publish the 2015 edition of the Yakima Valley Official Visitors Guide™.

“VGP Destination Marketing has a long-standing and excellent reputation within the travel and tourism industry throughout Washington State,” Cooper stated in announcing the selection. “We are excited to have them work with us to produce this important marketing piece.”

VGP Destination Marketing owner Marcus Yearout is a graduate of Wapato High School and has deep family roots in the Yakima Valley. Yearout is also a former employee of the Yakima Herald-Republic.

“This is a great opportunity to come home and search out compelling stories that will create interest in the Yakima Valley as a travel destination,” VGP Destination Marketing owner Marcus Yearout commented. “We wholeheartedly share Yakima Valley Tourism’s enthusiasm for this project and are anxious to get started.”  VGP Destination Marketing began publishing visitor guides for communities throughout Washington State in 1990, having won numerous awards for excellence from Washington State Tourism. They published Experience Washington, the state’s official travel planner and assisted in content development for the tourism website, experiencewa.com from 2008-2011.

VGP currently publishes the Washington State Scenic Byways & Road Trips pocket guide and a companion fold out road map both highlighting the state’s 29 officially designated scenic byways as well as the travel planning website, ScenicWA.com.

VGP Destination marketing can be reached at 800-

Washington Wine Flies Free On Alaska Air Program Extended

June 26, 2014

Taste and Tote Wine Flies Free on Alaska AirWashington Wine Country recently negotiated a two year extension of the popular Taste and Tote program with Alaska Air. The program allows passengers departing from Yakima, Pasco or Walla Walla airports to check a case of properly packaged wine on their Alaska Air flight home. Other benefits include waived drop off fees and discounts from Hertz Rent A Car and waived tasting fees at nearly 200 wineries.

“This has been a great program to further develop wine tourism in the region,” stated John Cooper, President & CEO of Yakima Valley Tourism and lead coordinator for the program. “Dozens of cases of wine are flying home each week from Yakima alone, providing local wineries with new business opportunities.”  Cooper also hopes that as the program grows, more people will use Alaska/Horizon Air service to and from Yakima for their travel, which could result in more air service for the community.

Starting July 1st, passengers must be members of Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan to take advantage of the wine flies free program. Passengers can sign up at no charge by clicking here or at the ticket counter at the three airports. For complete details visit the Taste and Tote Program Details page.

Washington Wine Country is an alliance of the Yakima Valley Tourism, Tri Cities Visitor & Convention Bureau and Tourism Walla Walla. Washington Wine Country is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting wine-related tourism and economic vitality by fostering regional partnerships throughout the celebrated wine growing region of Eastern Washington, where 99 percent of Washington State’s wine grapes are grown.

 

Yakima Valley National Travel and Tourism Week

April 30, 2014

NTTW14_V_4C_jpegMay 3-11 is National Travel and Tourism Week, when across America, the tourism industry celebrates the role travel plays in the economy and their communities.

As a kick off to the celebration, on April 30th Yakima Valley Tourism hosted their tourism awards luncheon at the Yakima Convention Center, with 200 business and civic leaders in attendance. Bale Breaker Brewery was presented Tourism Business of the Year for their unique brewery operation in a working hop field and the media attention they have garnered since they opened in April 2013. John Baule, Director of the Yakima Valley Museum, was recognized as Tourism Person of the Year for his past and present efforts to enhance Yakima as a destination and his service to numerous arts and community organizations.

Tourism is a big industry for Yakima County. Travelers in 2013 spent $359 million in the county, which is up 4.7% since 2008 when the national economy entered a recession. “With the exception of a slight dip in 2010, travel and tourism grew each year for the past five years,” stated John Cooper, President & CEO of Yakima Valley Tourism. “That’s a testament to the strength and endurance of this industry in our region, even during economic downturns.”

There are 3,530 people employed in tourism in Yakima County. Visitors generate around $24 million a year in state and local taxes, which Cooper points out goes towards public services enjoyed by local residents including police, fire, parks and roads.

The U.S. Travel Association (U.S.T.A.) has developed a campaign called the Travel Effect, which illustrates the impact travel and tourism has on our lives, businesses and local, state and national economies.

According to U.S.T.A., travel supports 15 million jobs across the nation. The workforce includes workers in the transportation, hotel, restaurant, attraction and retail sectors. In addition, travel and tourism supports employees in other industry sectors such as construction, manufacturing and finance.

U.S.T.A .reports that travel also promotes physical and physiological health and improves workplace productivity. In 2013, the average U.S. employee skipped 3.2 days of paid time off. According to a recent study, if workers used all of their available paid time off, the U.S. economy would gain $160 billion in additional annual business sales, which would support 1.2 million new jobs and generate $21 billion in new annual tax revenues.

Yakima Valley Hosts Travel & Lifestyle Media

April 28, 2014
Spring fam tour

Travel media enjoy a meal at Russillo’s Pizza and Gelato in Yakima WA

Last week we had the honor of hosting eight writers and journalists on a two and half day spring tour of the Yakima Valley. The writers came from New York City, Portland, Vancouver B.C. and metro Seattle and have placed stories in a variety of media outlets including Town and Country, New York Times, Forbes Life and Travel Guide, Fodor’s Travel, OutCity.com, Northwest Travel Magazine, About.com, Real Food Traveler, Foodista, Seattle Kitchen/KIRO Radio, BC Living and Western Living.

The tour had a spring, wine and food theme and allowed participants to experience a number of attractions, food products and beverages. Activities  included hikes in the Cowiche Canyon, massages at Ummelina, sipping wines throughout the valley and great meals including Italian fare at Russillos to a cooking demonstration at the Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center in Prosser.

“The writers had a great time meeting the people, cultures and attractions of the region,” stated John Cooper, President & CEO of Yakima Valley Tourism. “Trips like these help writers craft authentic stories of the Valley.”

The tour was coordinated with our public relations firm Green Rubino of Seattle.

Yakima Valley Featured in National Geographic Book on Dog Travel

April 7, 2014

Dog Lovers coverNational Geographic Books has released The Dog Lover’s Guide to Travel which includes dog friendly businesses, attractions and outdoor areas in 75 pet-friendly cities and regions across the United States and Canada. The Yakima Valley is one of six communities in the Pacific Northwest featured in the book.

 The Dog Lover’s Guide to Travel was written by Kelly E. Carter, a New York Times best-selling author and pet travel expert for AOL’s Paw Nation and Elite Traveler. In each destination Carter highlights pet offerings including hotels, parks, pet shops and pet friendly businesses. Features of the book include walks to take with your dog, insider tips from local pet owners and sidebars detailing opportunities for people with a dog in tow.

Yakima Valley Tourism approached Carter in early 2013 as the book was being developed. In 2012 the tourism office had created WineDoggies.com, an award winning program developed to assist visitors traveling with their dogs to the Yakima Valley. “When we found out she was writing this book we knew the Yakima Valley was the right fit,” stated John Cooper, President & CEO of Yakima Valley Tourism. “We enjoyed working with Ms. Carter and are honored our community was included.”

WineDoggies.com provides pet-friendly businesses and must-see stops in the region. It also includes a ‘Doggie Bloggie’ hosted by a local canine, an interactive map of 50 plus dog-friendly businesses with open-pet policies and a section where dog-friendly businesses and guests can add pictures and stories of their dogs enjoying Washington’s wine country. In addition to featuring the Wine Doggies website, the book highlights numerous Yakima Valley walking and hiking trails, local pet services, dog friendly wineries and pet events.

The other Northwest cities included in the book are Seattle, Portland, Bend, Coeur d’Alene and Missoula. The Dog Lover’s Guide to Travel can be found at local bookstores,  Amazon.com and National Geographic’s online bookstore.

Yakima Valley Tourism Launches Spring Marketing Campaign

March 24, 2014

findSpringLogo

Yakima Valley Tourism has launched their spring marketing campaign to attract visitors. “Find Spring in the Yakima Valley” targets wine visitors, families and others interested in sunny spring events, local culture and activities.

Visitors to Yakima Valley Tourism’s website Find Spring will find details on seasonal festivals including Spring Barrel Weekend April 25-27, Cinco de Mayo festivities May 3-4 plus numerous other events. Visitors to the website may also enter a Wine Country Get-Away Giveaway that includes lodging, dinner in Downtown Yakima, VIP wine tasting at three Yakima Valley wineries plus a $100 gift card toward new Oakley sunglasses.

“Spring in the Yakima Valley is a unique Washington experience,” stated John Cooper, President & CEO of Yakima Valley Tourism. “In one destination you can combine sunshine, blooming orchards, spring barrel wine tastings and many other celebrations.”

The campaign is largely focused at consumers online and is supported by media buys in Sunset magazine, online versions of the Seattle Times, Washington Tasting Room Magazine (print and online) and 425 Magazine (print and online) plus social media placements in Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Yakima Valley Tourism Awards Luncheon

March 11, 2014

Pat_Casual (2) We’re off to the races with our next Tourism Awards Luncheon! Adopting a Kentucky Derby theme, there will be lots of springtime fun. Our Master of Ceremonies and speaker will be Pat Cashman, Seattle comedian and television personality. Many will remember Pat when we brought him here in 2008 as our “Tourism Party” Presidential “candidate” for our annual lunch. The reviews were stellar!

Pat Cashman has been a broadcast performer and writer for more than twenty years. Along the way, he has been a TV weatherman, talk show host, stand-up comedian, short story writer, newspaper columnist, TV sports reporter, radio and TV voiceover announcer—and character voice talent in cartoons and video games. He is the announcer on Nintendo’s “Super Smash Bros”—currently the most popular video game in the world.

He was a featured performer, writer and producer on the Seattle-based sketch TV show “Almost Live!”—a program that was syndicated nationally and appeared for two years on the Comedy Central network. For his work on that show—and other TV efforts from performing to writing, directing to editing—Cashman has won dozens of Northwest Emmys, advertising awards, radio honors and medallions from the International Film and TV Festival of New York.  He’s now working on KING 5 TV’s  The (206), poking fun at all things Seattle and beyond. Check it out here!

A highlight of the program will be the awarding of the Tourism Business of the Year Award and Tourism Person of the Year Award.

Keeping with the Kentucky Derby theme, we’ll be giving away prizes for the best derby hats so we encourage participants to come with their wildest and most colorful hats! We’ll also be doing  a “horse race” like you’ve never seen before!

Details:

When: April 30th, 11:45 a.m

Where: Yakima Convention Center, 10 North 8th Street Downtown Yakima

Cost: $27 per person

RSVP by April 23rd: laura@yakimavalleytourism.com

Cancellations after April 23 and “no shows” will be invoiced.

509-575-3010 or 800-221-0751

SPONSORS: Charter Business,  Greater Yakima Chamber of Commerce, Hilton Garden Inn, Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express,  Horizon Distribution Inc., Miller & Associates Wealth Management LLC, Ron’s Coins & Collectibles, Tree Top, Inc., Treveri Cellars and the Yakima Valley Hotel and Conference Center.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: