Yesterday I attended the Tourism Industry Summit sponsored by the newly formed Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA). More than 460 people were in attendance from all over the state. The event recapped where things stand with statewide tourism efforts and where things could go in the future, including what happens with the various existing assets of the state like the tourism website. Guest speakers included Mike Gallagher of CityPASS in California, and Ron Peck, with the Alaska Travel Industry Association. They gave great advice on how the Washington tourism industry should advance its efforts.
Participants were encouraged to join WTA as individuals, businesses or founding partners (which generated $31,650 in pledges that morning!) In addition, the Port of Seattle has pledged $150,000 to WTA. Combined with support from the Yakima Valley VCB, other state VCBs, WSDMO, WA Lodging Association, Red Lion Hotels and the Puget Sound Attractions Council there is now about $221,650 pledged or in hand to help WTA jump start the long process of establishing a new statewide tourism program and organization.
WTA is a 501[c]6 organization with a mission to advocate, promote, develop and sustain the economic well being of the Washington tourism industry. WTA has a goal of procuring and administering funds for statewide tourism marketing activities and to create and implement a strategic destination marketing plan. WTA may establish both voluntary and legislated funding sources, however, the goal is to have marketing strategy and implementation be overseen by the statewide tourism industry organizations rather than by state government.
At the summit there was also an introduction to the Share You Washington spring campaign State Tourism has been developing that will launch in the middle of this month, so stayed tuned for that announcement.
Summit organizers video tapped the session so that link will be provided soon. Three features about the summit to review: Carol Pucci’s column in the Seattle Times, Steven Goldsmith’s column in the Puget Sound Business Journal and the online news source Crosscut.
Though it is disappointing that the State Tourism Office will no longer be funded after June 30th, I am proud that the industry is coming together to plan for the future. Tourism matters to our communities and our economy.
President and CEO