Fall Campaign Launched

Fall in wine country

Fall in wine country

Recognizing the multitude of events in the fall, the Yakima Valley Visitors and Convention Bureau launched an online and print campaign to generate travel in the coming months.

Live music abounds in the fall and brings unique events like The Central Washington State Fair, whose theme this year is Fair-N-Dipity. As part of the promotion we worked with lodging properties and fair organizers to create packages that include lodging, admission tickets and other benefits.

Other events promoted in the campaign include the Fresh Hop Ale Festival, Crush and Concerts in the City, and Thanksgiving in Wine Country.

Marketing is being done through various online social media, emails and through newspaper advertisements in Seattle.

Labor Day Travel Forecast

AAA announced today that Labor Day travel is expected to decline from 2008, largely due to the lateness of the holiday this year. Approximately 39.1 million travelers are expected to take a trip of 50 miles or more away from home, a decrease of 13.3 percent from 2008 when Labor Day travel was the highest this decade.

“AAA expects this Labor Day holiday weekend to be the third busiest of the decade, even though the number of travelers will be down from one year ago,” said AAA President & CEO, Robert L. Darbelnet. “However, with Labor day falling a week later this year when many children will have returned to school, the decline may more to do with the calendar than with the economy. Our forecast shows Labor Day travel will be up over this summer’s 4th of July holiday and that’s a positive sign.”

Read full story here.

Yakima Herald Opinion

The Yakima Herald penned an editorial day regarding the planned improvements at the Yakima Convention Center and along A Street downtown.

“An expanded convention center and the opportunity for another hotel in Yakima — not a bad way to bring the month of August to a close. Of course, the sun has been shining all of this time — a reminder not only of Yakima’s blessed weather but also its rejuvenated downtown” it said in part.

See the full editorial.

City Approves Plaza Project

Yakima Conv CenterThe Yakima City Council voted Tuesday to dedicate nearly $1.0 million from a state capital grant  to realign 8th Street, paving the way for an outdoor plaza, streetlights and landscaping at the main entrance to the center. The project is part of the continued Downtown Futures project to revitalize downtown Yakima.

While plans are still in development, the new plaza will feature covered awnings, planters, outdoor seating plus a signature feature like an outdoor fireplace or water fall.  The Plaza will enable users of the center and the public to have a unique outdoor venue downtown.  The project also includes adding streetscaping amenities on South 8th Street near where a new Holiday Inn is being built.

“No other convention center in the state will have such a feature,”  stated Convention Center General Manager Connie Upton.

Construction is slated to begin next year.

Basketball Tournament Coming

DSC_0111The Yakima Valley Sports Commission will be holding its Seventh Annual Hot Shots 3-On-3 Basketball Tournament on August 29-30, 2009. The event will have a record 320 teams (up 9% over 2008), bringing an estimated 5,000 people to downtown Yakima. In conjunction with Hot Shots, the Yakima Farmer’s Market will be open on both days of the tournament. Many other businesses take advantage of the influx of visitors to the downtown area.

“We work very closely with the downtown merchants and businesses,” said Rich Austin, Director of Sports for the Yakima Valley Sports Commission. “Several will be increasing their hours during Hot Shots and they will be showcasing their specific business.

The Yakima Valley Sports Commission is a division of the Yakima Valley Visitors and Convention Bureau.

Yakima County Weathering Storm

While the poor economy has affected travel to the region, data suggests that for the lodging sector the economic turmoil is not as severe as in other areas of Washington. According to Smith Travel Research, hotel occupancies January through June were down 4.9% in Yakima County, compared to -8.3% in the rest of the state.  The total number of sleeping rooms sold in Yakima county this year is virtually the same as 2008 while the rest of the state has seen a decline of 8%.

US Travel Association News

The US Travel Association released this week the status and future projections of national and international travel to the US.  Dr. Suzanne Cook, Senior Vice President of Research for USTA, stated that domestic meetings and conventions sector will decline 9 percent in traveler demand and drop 11.5 percent in expenditures for 2009. Transient business travel will hold but will suffer steep losses. International inbound travel will also be adversely affected this year, projected to be down nearly 9 percent in volume and 13 percent in expenditures.

According to Dr. Cook, leisure travel will outperform other types of travel but still will suffer a 2.5 percent decline in demand and a 7.5 percent drop in spending – the result not so much of travelers trading out but rather trading down.

For complete details visit this link.