Yesterday more than 200 tourism industry professionals from across Washington state convened in the state capitol to advocate for a $14.2 billion industry that supports nearly 150,000 jobs, contributes nearly $1 billion in local and state tax revenues and ranks fourth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) produced in Washington.
Industry professionals will met with elected official in Olympia to explain Why Tourism Matters – clad with namesake buttons from the public awareness campaign launched last year. The contingent of destination marketers, hoteliers, tour and transportation leaders and representatives from many other businesses across Washington discussed basic funding and infrastructure improvements that will keep Washington from falling behind in a competitive tourism marketplace.
The industry’s legislative agenda includes support for continued funding for the 2009-2011 Washington State Tourism budget; use of existing funds to continue studies on the proposed expansion of the Washington State Convention Center; opposition to House and Senate bills that would raid and dilute local lodging tax funds that have traditionally served as critical reinvestment in the state’s tourism industry (Section 11 of HB 3179 and Section 5 of SB 6164) and opposition to action on a newly-posted Senate bill that, if passed, would not only deplete basic tourism funding but seriously undermine the state tourism industry’s competitive marketing position (SB 6118).
“We understand that our legislators face enormous pressure to dig our state out of this financial crisis,” said John Cooper, President of the Washington State Destination Marketing Organizations (WSDMO). “We were in Olympia to pledge our support. If a foundation of industry growth is maintained, tourism can produce quick economic benefit. Tourism can create and sustain jobs. The direct spending and tax base contributions of out-of-state visitors can be part of the solution.”
The Why Tourism Matters public outreach and advocacy campaign, conveys the importance of Washington’s tourism industry by way of advertising, online content, public relations and cooperative industry communications.