Archive for the ‘National Tourism News’ Category

Visitors Bureau Builds Tourism for Yakima Valley

September 5, 2013

As summer winds down and fall approaches, we want to share recent successes of the Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau in our efforts to build tourism for Yakima and the Yakima Valley.

August was a hugely successful month for media coverage resulting from our efforts! Notable coverage included articles in Lonely Planet online, Portland Magazine’s fall story, Seattle Time’s Pacific Northwest Magazine, Crave Local.com, 425 Magazine and others. In total the exposure generated $52,000 in advertising value and reached 20.5 million readers.

The Sports Commission finished the annual Hot Shots 3 on 3 Tourney in Downtown Yakima. We had a tourney record of 497 teams, an increase of 8.5% from 2012 and the sixth straight year the team numbers have grown. An estimated 12,000 people were downtown for the event.

Now the Sports Commission turns to fall events. September 13 and 14th we host the SunDome Volleyball Festival with more than 80 teams and close to 1,000 players from all over Washington and Oregon.

Following that we stage the Pirate Plunder Adventure Race October 5th. To date we have more than 860 registered (last year there were 878 total racers). This year we are partnering with the Allied Art’s Fresh Hop Ale Festival happening that day to make Yakima a weekend destination.

Yakima Valley Ales and Wines Featured in Sunset Magazine

August 2, 2013

sunset-cover-aug13-mAs a result of the Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau hosting writer Jess Thomson of Seattle, the August issue of Sunset has a nice feature totled “Northwest Road Trip: The Ale and Wine Trail”.  The piece targets “enophiles and hopheads who travel together.” Along with attractions in Milton-Freewater, OR  and Walla Walla, the story mentions various local breweries including Yakima Craft Brewing and Bale Breaker Brewing Company plus offerings at Gilbert Cellars, Desert Wind Winery, Two Mountain Winery, and the Red Mountain AVA. 

“The timing of the story was perfect as it follows the recent launch of the Spirits and Hops Trail last month,” stated John Cooper, President & CEO of the Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau. “Wine and craft beers, spirits and ciders are a perfect match and part of the Valley’s history.”

Check out the online version of the story at this link.

 

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New Spirits and Hops Website Helps Visitors Navigate Yakima Valley Breweries, Cideries and Distilleries

July 16, 2013

Spirits and Hops Trail beer glassThe Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau has launched the Spirits and Hops Trail website to help visitors and residents easily navigate the growing number of local craft breweries, cideries and distilleries throughout the region.

In the last five years, the region has welcomed three new breweries, three distilleries and the largest producer of hard artisan cider in the state. The new site provides information and online mapping capabilities for these new businesses, and other tasting destinations throughout the Yakima Valley, including restaurants that feature locally crafted adult beverages.

The Yakima Valley is the top agricultural region in Washington state. In addition to growing 40 varieties of crops, the Valley produces 78 percent of the nation’s hops. For decades, commercial and craft breweries across the country and globe have relied on the quality hops grown in the Valley for their products.

Tourism leaders believe this project will complement the thriving wine industry of the Yakima Valley. “Our agricultural heritage is a foundation of our visitor industry,” stated John Cooper, president and CEO of the Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau. “It’s only natural that we should celebrate our role in the beer and distillery industries.” Cooper stated the visitors bureau will be marketing the site through a number of media channels, publicity and outreach to special interest groups.

The website also contains a history of the hops industry, a blog with guest authors and a calendar of events of interest to beer, cider and spirits enthusiasts.

Website: http://www.SpiritsandHopsTrail.com

Washington State Legislature & Governor Fund Tourism Efforts

June 28, 2013

With the Governor signing the state budget yesterday, $1 million in short-term bridge funds will be allocated to the Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA) to continue its critical work to maintain and grow Washington State tourism.

The budget allocation underwrites the basics of a targeted marketing program in 2014 and 2015.  Funds are specifically allocated for the state’s destination website for travelers; postage for mailing the Washington State Visitors’ Guide; operation of a tourism call center; tourism research; and international marketing. The Department of Commerce is directed to contract with WTA to provide these services to expand and promote the tourism industry for the state.  Terms of the contract will include a one-for-one matching requirement in either cash or in-kind services.

“This is an important first step in WTA efforts to build a long-term, fully funded tourism marketing program,” said Louise Stanton-Masten, WTA Executive Director. “However, it is only a fraction of what Washington State needs to effectively compete with other states. ”

“Tourism is crucial to our state’s economy,” said John Cooper, CEO of the Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau and a WTA Board member. “Without a strong state tourism effort visitors will go elsewhere and Washington could lose revenues and jobs. “

As Washington is the only state in the nation without a state supported tourism marketing program, the WTA has lobbied for short-term bridge funding from the state, while also working to establish a long-term, sustainable funding model designed to create an industry-funded organization. The two-pronged strategy involves finalizing a plan that will set up a mechanism to collect funds from various tourism-related business sectors to promote the state as a tourism destination.

In February, Governor Inslee released his Working Washington Agenda which references the importance of re-engaging tourism – the state’s fourth largest export industry according to Gross Domestic Product – following the closure of the state tourism office nearly two years ago.

Figures released in March by WTA indicate that tourism in Washington State improved slightly in 2012 thanks to the national economic recovery, however, visitation to Washington State lagged behind the U.S., spurring concern about the state’s tourism market share.  Competing western state tourism budgets range from $10 million to $60 million. Comparatively, WTA began work with a budget of some $300,000 when the state tourism office closed and has worked to sustain it by raising incremental funds through membership and corporate sponsorships.

Tourism is the fourth largest industry in the state with visitor spending of $16.9 billion, $1.1 billion in state and local tax revenue and more than 155,000 tourism jobs with earnings of $4.7 billion. In Yakima County visitors spend $354 million annually, support 3,580 jobs and generate $24 million in state and local taxes.

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About the Washington Tourism Alliance: The Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA) is a 501[c]6 organization established by industry stakeholders with the sole mission of sustaining Washington State destination tourism marketing. WTA procures and administers funds for state destination tourism marketing activities and creates and implements a strategic statewide destination marketing plan. www.watourismalliance.com

Washington Tourism Alliance Attends IPW 2013

June 18, 2013
Pow wow 2013

Delegates work the Washington Tourism Alliance booth at IPW last week

U.S. Travel Association’s 45th annual IPW (formerly known as Pow Wow)  is the travel industry’s premier international marketplace and the largest generator of travel to the U.S.  Last week representatives from the Washington Tourism Alliance staffed a booth at IPW in Las Vegas to promote the state. More than 6,400 people from 70 states were in attendance, a record for the show. The event is estimated to generate more than $3.5 billion in travel to the U.S. over the next three years.

The delegates met with 43 tour operators and media in 20 minute appointments over three days. Working the booth were Jordan Youngs of the Tri City Visitors and Convention Bureau, Sandy Ward of the Future of Flight and Boeing Center, Meilee Anderson from Seattle Southside and John Cooper, WTA Board member from the Yakima Valley VCB.

Yakima Valley Hosts Brand USA UK Tour

May 17, 2013
UK travel agents and their 'Sunbrellas' at Silver Lake Winery

UK travel agents and their ‘Sunbrellas’ at Silver Lake Winery

As a conclusion to National Travel and Tourism Week, last weekend the Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau hosted nine United Kingdom travel agents, tourism staff from the Port of Seattle and media on a whirlwind tour of the Valley as part of  a MegaFam sponsored by Brand USA with the Port.

As part of their visit the travel agents visited wineries, saw the Canine and Wine fundraiser, took a hayride, toured the murals in Toppenish, had a wine makers dinner at Treveri Cellars, enjoyed brunch at Birchfield Manor and stayed at downtown hotels. The Yakima Valley was part of a Washington and Oregon multi-day tour entitled Pacific Playground. Here’s a blog entry about their time in the Valley.

The mega-familiarization tour included seven simultaneous itineraries incorporating some of the United States’ most iconic destinations. Each itinerary offerered an incredible experience from the western wilds of Utah and Colorado; the urban playgrounds of the East Coast; the rich culture of Texas; the laid back lifestyle of California; the creole flavors of the Deep South; the Pacific Playground journey and the Great Lakes region. MegaFam participants were selected among an elite group of travel agents from the UK and Ireland who booked trips to the USA from January 1 – April 5, 2013 via Brand USA’s partner airlines, British Airways and American Airlines, and ground transportation partner, Avis.
Brand USA is the nation’s first cooperative destination marketing organization. They focus on delivering programs that increase awareness and enhance the image of the United States among worldwide travelers and encourage travel to the United States. In addition to promoting the United States as a travel destination they work with the Federal government to communicate US entry and security processes that will help make the journey to and into the United States easier and more welcoming.

The Travel and Tourism Industry: We Create Memories

May 6, 2013

NTTW13_V_4C_jpgThink back to your fondest memories. Chances are that many revolve around a trip or journey. Your first breathtaking view of the Grand Canyon as a young child. Seeing Abraham Lincoln perched on his chair as you walk up the steps of his memorial in Washington D.C. Maybe it’s just time spent with family or loved ones as you explore a new place together. Cherished moments.

Sure vacations have their mishaps. A missed plane, an illness in a foreign country, a feeling of desperation with language barriers. But even these set-backs can be life enriching through lessons learned and stories to tell.

This week those of us in the travel and tourism industry celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week. Mostly we trumpet what this amazing industry means to our country from an economic view point. It is substantial. According the U.S. Travel Association, travel generates $2 trillion for the U.S. economy and supports nearly 15 million American jobs. Travel contributes more than $129 billion in federal, state and local taxes. Here in the Yakima Valley visitors spend in excess of $350 million each year and support more than 3,500 local jobs.

But I think that travel offers something even more important. It’s a force for helping all of us to learn from other cultures, to be more understanding of the people and issues that shape our world. To connect with people. I remember a business trip I took to Haiphong, Vietnam, a few years back. During free time, our group wandered into the streets near our hotel. In no time I became separated from the others and I lost my bearings in the narrow, congested streets. A street vendor who had approached me earlier to buy post cards realized I was lost. He guided me back to the main boulevard within sight of the hotel, never asking for anything in return. He just smiled and pointed at the hotel. I bought a packet of his post cards and have them framed in my home. Needless to say that simple gesture helped to shape my view of Haiphong.

While the travel and tourism industry contributes substantially to the economic well-being of our communities, its fundamental mission is to serve our guests and to help them to have wonderful, life enriching experiences. In essence, the job of this industry is to help create memories.

John Cooper
President & CEO

National Wine Tourism Day in the Yakima Valley

May 1, 2013

Wine-Tourism-Day-Logo_final_croppedThe first-ever Wine Tourism Day in North America will take place on Saturday, May 11th, 2013 with wineries and other businesses offering a variety of events to the public throughout North America.

Locally, the Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau (VCB) has built a website on visityakimavalley.org that lists wine related events happening that day. In addition, the VCB is hosting British travel agents and tour operators on a tour of the Valley, visiting wineries and other attractions as part of a state-wide tour sponsored by the Port of Seattle and Brand USA.

“Wine tourism is a key focus of our destination marketing efforts,” stated John Cooper, President & CEO of the Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau. “We’re pleased to be a partner in this national effort to raise awareness of the wine related tourism.”

According to national event organizers there are more than 7,500 wineries in 205 American Viticultural Areas (AVA), 38 authorized wine appellations in Canada, and another 40 appellations in Mexico. In 2013 the Yakima Valley celebrates 30 years as the Northwest’s first AVA. It has 16,000 vineyard acres and more than 80 wineries.

Wine Tourism Day is supported by a number of industry partners including LocalWineEvents.com, Touring and Tasting Marketing & Media, WineAmerica, the Wine Industry Network, the Wine Tourism Conference, and Zephyr Adventures, in addition to wine and tourism associations in wine regions throughout North America.

For local Wine Tourism Day related events go to www.visityakimavalley.org  Details on national Wine Tourism Day events can be found at  www.WineTourismDay.org


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