Visitors Bureau New Hire

The Yakima Valley Visitors and Convention Bureau has hired Miles Eaton as its Convention Services & Housing Coordinator. A native of Bonney Lake Washington, Miles is a recent graduate of the Johnson & Wales University of North Miami with a degree in Hospitality Management.

While in Florida, Eaton worked at the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa in as a Convention Services Coordinator and Front Desk Agent. He also has management experience in the food service industry.

As Convention Services & Housing Coordinator he will work with meeting planners to determine servicing requirements and  support needed by the organization and attendees plus he will coordinates a central lodging reservation system for conventions and groups.

Hot Shots 3-On-3 Tourney

The Hot Shots 3-On-3 Basketball Tourney hits the streets of Downtown Yakima this weekend (August 27th , 28th). In its ninth year, the tourney has a record 447 teams with 1,788 players. Organizers project that nearly 12,000 players, families and spectators will turn out for the event.

Rich Austin, Director of Sports for the Yakima Valley Sports Commission, stated that registration grew 22% this year and has grown more than 68% in the past five years. Austin says more than 390 of the players come from outside the Yakima Valley, helping the event to become a state and regional tourism draw. The event is the second largest 3-on-3 basketball tourney in the state after Hoopfest in Spokane.

The tournament is staged by the Yakima Valley Sports Commission, a division of the Yakima Valley Visitors and Convention Bureau.

For details on the tournament visit

August 30, 2011 : Check out some of the media coverage the event received-

Story on effects tournament had on downtown businesses, Yakima Herald 8/30/11

Editorial on the event, Yakima Herald 8/30/11

Hot Shots heats up in downtown Yakima – Yakima Herald 8/27/11

Hot Shots brings people from all over to Yakima– KNDO TV 8/27/11

Hot Shots coverage on KAPP TV 8/27/11

Hot Shots on KIT Radio


July 2011 Tourism Success

July was a busy and productive month for the Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau, with many successes across the various departments. Here’s a sampling:

  • Visitors to the Bureau’s consumer website was 25,135 in July, an increase of 39% compared to July of 2010 and an 84% increase over 2009. The month broke all previous monthly website records.
  • The July online Wine Country Getaway Giveaway generated 5,900 page views. We received 2,192 entries for the contest, of which 1,189 subscribed to receive additional marketing messages from the organization.
  • Through various public relations efforts, travel stories appeared in Northwest Palate, Seattle Times, Seattle Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine. Combined, the media exposure generated in July is valued at $1,141,351 with an estimated 4.9 million impressions or online views.
  • Meanwhile, the sales department is continuing success in recruiting conventions and groups, currently at 57% of their lead generation goals as well as 47% of their hotel room night goals for 2011.
  • In July the sales department booked the 2014 Annual Convention of the Washington Finance Officers Association. This conference is projected to bring in more than 700 attendees and generate an estimated $323,400 in delegate spending.
  • Registration for the Sport’s Commission’s Hot Shots 3-on-3 Basketball Tourney in late August is setting a record pace.As of today, the count is 408 teams, up 14% over 2010, a new record.

CEO Appointed to State Tourism Board

John Cooper, President and CEO of the Yakima Valley Visitors & Convention Bureau, has been appointed to the Charter Board of Directors for the newly formed Washington Tourism Alliance (WTA), a non-profit trade association formed last spring to assume the assets of the now defunct Washington State Tourism Office and to become the lead organization to position Washington State as a visitor destination.  He joins 19 other tourism professionals from around the state that will comprise the board.

Cooper has been in the Washington tourism industry for many years. Prior to his service in the Yakima Valley, he was CEO of the Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism office.  He also worked in various tourism positions in Oregon. A graduate of the University of Oregon and the U.S. Chamber of Association’s Institute for Organization Management at U.C.L.A., Cooper has been recognized as Washington State Tourism Professional of the Year by the Washington State Department of Commerce and Executive of the Year by the Washington Society of Association Executives.

“I am excited and honored to be on this board,” stated Cooper. “We have a lot to do, but also an energized and dedicated industry.  Establishing a new funding model and marketing strategies will be a high priority so Washington can effectively compete in the marketplace.”